URI Theatre alumnus stars in Shakespeare in the Park

South Kingstown’s Andrew Burnap plays lead role of ‘Troilus and Cressida’ in Central Park production

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Andrew Burnap
Andrew Burnap, Shakespeare in the Park

KINGSTON, R.I. – July 18, 2016 — Just three years ago, Andrew Burnap was performing Shakespeare onstage in the Robert E. Will Theatre of the University of Rhode Island’s Fine Arts Center.

Tomorrow, he’ll take the stage in New York City’s Central Park to once again perform the words penned by the Bard in The Public Theater’s free Shakespeare in the Park production of “Troilus and Cressida.”

Burnap (’13), of South Kingstown, will take on the title role of Troilus, a young prince who seeks the affection of Cressida in one of Shakespeare’s most rarely produced plays.

Meanwhile, the heroes of The Iliad – Hector, Paris, and the kings they serve — debate whether to return the dangerously beautiful captive Helen or continue to fight without end. Nations and lovers alike do battle in this funny, piercing and surprisingly modern epic drama about romance and revenge in a world at war.

Burnap, who earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts acting from URI, starred in productions at URI such as Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” Steven Sondheim’s “Company,” Moliere’s “Tartuffe,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “The Rocky Horror Show” and more.

The former South Kingstown High School tennis star has worked hard to hone his craft, becoming the first URI actor to attend the Yale School of Drama. He also won the prestigious Irene Ryan Competition as part of the regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in 2012. He defeated a field of 250 actors representing 55 universities and earned a spot in the Kennedy Center’s national competition.

Burnap, who grew up in Matunuck, came into acting through his love of music. He sang in the Chorus of Westerly under the tutelage of URI Music Professor George Kent, who founded the chorus. Burnap plays the trumpet, piano, guitar, and sings. He also dances, can speak with British and Southern accents and juggles.

He plays dramatic and musical roles with equal ease. “They are completely different art forms,” he says. “However, I think the most alike are Shakespeare and Sondheim. In both, when feeling a complex emotion, you burst into something … different. In Shakespeare, it’s verse and poetry. In Sondheim, it’s verse and melody,” says the young actor.

“Troilus and Cressida” began Tuesday, July 19, at 8 p.m. and ran through August 14, 2016.