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Meet the Trustees
Tom Regnier, President
Tom Regnier is an attorney and teacher based in Miami, Florida.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English (Phi Beta Kappa) from Trinity College, Connecticut. He earned his Juris Doctor degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law, and his Master of Laws degree from Columbia Law School in New York, where he was a Harlan F. Stone scholar. He previously served as an Assistant Public Defender, Appellate Division, in the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida, and now practices law with the private firm of Conroy Simberg. He has been a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Harry Leinenweber in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois and to the Honorable Melvia Green in the Third District Court of Appeal of Florida. Tom frequently speaks to audiences on the U.S. Constitution.
Tom has taught a seminar on "Shakespeare and the Law," as well as other law courses, at the University of Miami School of Law and has also taught at the John Marshall Law School. His audio interview on "The Law in Hamlet" can be heard on The Shakespeare Underground. His article "Could Shakespeare Think Like a Lawyer? " was published in the University of Miami Law Review in 2003. He has presented lectures at Shakespeare conferences on such topics as Justice and Mercy in Shakespeare's Plays and Henry the Fifth and the Salic Law. He has been active in theatre and has performed in seven Shakespeare plays. Tom is a panelist for the Carbonell Awards, the South Florida theatre awards.
In November 2009, Tom was honored to be a member of a delegation that presented the "Oxfordian of the Year" award to Justice John Paul Stevens at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Earl Showerman, First Vice President
Earl Showerman graduated from Harvard College and the University of Michigan Medical School, and practiced emergency medicine in Oregon for over 30 years.
A longtime patron of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, after retiring from medicine in 2003, he enrolled at Southern Oregon University (SOU) to study Shakespeare and to pursue his decades-long love affair with the authorship question.
Dr. Showerman has served as a trustee of the Shakespeare Fellowship and The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition in the past and was executive producer of Mignarda’s recording, My Lord of Oxenford’s Maske, a compilation of lute duet music connected to Edward de Vere.
In recent years he has presented a series of papers at Concordia University and the joint SF/SOS authorship conferences on the topic of Shakespeare’s “Greater Greek”.
Dr. Showerman’s research has included a reexamination of the Greek literary sources and allegorical elements in Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale, Pericles, Much Ado about Nothing, Timon of Athens, Troilus and Cressida, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the Tudor interlude, Horestes. Most recently he delivered a series of lectures on his research at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at SOU and was the chair of the 2010 Ashland Authorship Conference.
Don Rubin, Second Vice President
Editor of Routledge's six-volume World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre series, Don Rubin has been a working scholar and theatre critic for more than 40 years.
A former chair of the Department of Theatre at Toronto's York University and a founder of York's graduate program in theatre studies (MA and PhD), Don is a graduate of New York's famous High School of Performing Arts and later studied Shakespeare as an undergraduate with Bernard Beckerman, author of Shakespeare at the Globe.
After graduate school and several years as theatre critic for the New Haven (Conn.) Register, he moved to Canada for a position as theatre critic for the country's largest newspaper, the Toronto Star and later for CBC Radio.
Don is the founding editor of Canada's national theatre quarterly, Canadian Theatre Review and the editor of the standard volume Canadian Theatre History: Selected Readings. He is also President of the Canadian Theatre Critics Association and a member of the International Executive Board of the Unesco-affiliated International Association of Theatre Critics.
In 2012, Prof. Rubin offered a senior-level undergraduate course on Shakespeare: The Authorship Question at York where he still teaches. He credits Mark Anderson's Shakespeare By Another Name with sparking his active interest in Oxfordian studies.
Alex McNeil, Treasurer
Alex McNeil is a graduate of Yale University and Boston College Law School. An attorney, he recently retired from the Massachusetts Appeals Court, where he was Court Administrator for many years. An Oxfordian since 1992, he was one of the founding trustees of the Shakespeare Fellowship in 2001, and has previously served as its president and treasurer. He is the author of Total Television, a reference book on TV programming, four editions of which were published by Penguin Books between 1980 and 1996. For the last decade, he has hosted the Friday edition of "Lost and Found" on WMBR-FM in Cambridge, MA (wmbr.org), which features lesser-known pop music of the 60s and 70s.
Kathryn Sharpe, Secretary
Kathryn Sharpe is a second generation Oxfordian. She was introduced to the Shakespeare authorship question by her mother and sister, has attended authorship conferences since 2004, and is active in the Seattle Shakespeare Oxford Society—supporting the group’s communications and research activities.
Kathryn received her B.A. in Multimedia (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Washington in Seattle. She worked in television news at KING TV and independently as a landscape painter for several years before returning to the University of Washington to work in the Geophysics Program and study technical writing and usability.
Kathryn now serves as a senior communications specialist for UW Information Technology, the University’s central computing and networking organization.
Ben August, Trustee
Ben August lives in Spring, Texas, where he has an ownership stake in and runs four businesses. He's demonstrated a knack for discovering hidden potential in various industries and turning that into a measure of business success. He started, ran, and sold several businesses before moving from California to Texas.
In 1995 he came across the authorship question in Michael Hart's book, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History and was astonished. He'd had an abiding fondness for Shakespeare, especially Hamlet and the Sonnets, since his late teens, but had never encountered the authorship issue.
After reading Mark Anderson's, Shakespeare by Another Name, he recognized that it was time to remove the traditional Shakespeare bust from his library shelf. Later he realized he wanted a de Vere bust and, not finding one, he resolved to have one sculpted. This led to his commissioning of the magnificent bust of Edward de Vere sculpted by Paula Slater.
Ben is now a committed promoter of de Vere as the true "Shakespeare". He has placed one of the original bronze busts at Castle Hedingham, the birthplace of Edward de Vere.
Bonner Miller Cutting, Trustee
A Louisiana native, Bonner Miller Cutting graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Tulane University in New Orleans and has a Masters of Music from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, where she served as adjunct faculty after her graduation. Both of her degrees are in piano performance, and she is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Bonner still concertizes occasionally and appeared recently as soloist with the Columbia River Chamber Orchestra in Longview, Washington, playing Mozart's 21st piano concerto. In years past she has appeared as soloist with the New Orleans Symphony and other orchestras in Louisiana. She was a teacher of piano for many years and still judges piano festivals and auditions for the National Guild of Piano Teachers and other organizations.
Bonner came to the Shakespeare Authorship debate by right of heredity. As most of you know, she is the daughter of Oxfordian pioneer Ruth Loyd Miller and Judge Minos Miller. As Bonner tells the story: "Mom's interest began when I was in college. Mom was a lawyer and had read a series of articles on the authorship question that appeared in the Journal of the American Bar Association. The articles were published together in a little green book titled Shakespeare Cross-Examination. Mom was intrigued and ordered the book. That little green book was the culprit! She was intrigued with the Shakespeare Authorship debate and things just snowballed from there!"
In recent years, Bonner assisted her mother in her continued research, and is now working to further the cause in which her parents made such significant contributions. Bonner notes that "Being a Cradle Oxfordian is a lot of responsibility."
Michael Morse, Trustee
As an undergraduate, Michael Morse attended Harvard College and the University of Louisville, where he earned a B.A. degree in Philosophy and English. At the graduate level, he attended the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he was named Milton M. Livingston Scholar, earning the degree of Juris Doctor in 1993. The following year, he started a private law practice in western Kentucky concentrating in products liability and general civil litigation in both state and federal courts.
Like many, Michael’s first exposure to Shakespeare was in high school. Less typical perhaps was an adjunct to that first reading when, as a freshman at the American School of the Hague in the Netherlands, his English class took a field trip to the Den Haag Congresgebouw to view a special screening of Polanski's hyper-violent film adaptation of Macbeth.
Suffice it to say, he emerged from the theater that day gloriously traumatized and (more importantly) hooked on the Bard for life.
As for the authorship debate, Michael recalls having had a general awareness of the controversy dating back to when he first became enthralled by the works themselves. However, it wasn't until reading Mark Anderson's compelling biography, Shakespeare by Another Name, in 2005 that he became persuaded of Edward de Vere's authorship. His conversion was swift and resolute. Morse became a member of the Shakespeare Fellowship in 2006.
For the past several years, Morse’s research has focused largely on computer-based linguistic analysis of the "Shakespeare" canon (as well as various apocryphal works and fringe dubitanda) and de Vere's extant literary and epistolary output.
Michael currently lives with his wife and son in Memphis, Tennessee.
William Ray, Trustee
William Ray is a poet and philosopher who has been associated with the Oxfordian movement since 2007 and has contributed to it in the form of publications, conference presentations, and posts both on the Internet and in newspapers.
Ray has co-written a book, Shakespeare Identified, originally a set of lectures presented in his hometown, Willits, California, which is located in the Northern California Coastal Mountains.
His collection of Oxfordian essays is under "Shakespeare Papers" at wjray.net.
Emeritus and Honorary Trustees
Honorary Lifetime Trustees
Sir Derek Jacobi
Sir Derek Jacobi is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished Shakespearean actors of the 20th century. His myriad stage roles have included Cyrano de Bergerac, Uncle Vanya, Adolf Hitler, Oedipus Rex, and a slew of Shakespearean heroes and antiheroes.
Jacobi is perhaps most well known, among followers of contemporary cinema, for his stunning performance in the title role in the award-winning I, Claudius (1977), one of several miniseries in which he has starred.
Jacobi's many film credits include collaborations with Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh, and voiceovers for two documentary series by Ken Burns. His most recent appearance on film was Gladiator (2000) with Russell Crowe. Jacobi was knighted in 1994. Beginning in 1995 he won the affection of PBS audiences as Ellis Peters's inquisitive monk in the eponymously titled Cadfael series.
In 1999, Jacobi received the Vero Nihil Verius Award for Artistic Excellence at the Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference in Portland, Oregon, and shared his thoughts on the authorship question. He also won the Olivier Award for Best Actor for his role as Malvolio in Twelfth Night.
His interest in the authorship question goes back some years and was cultivated through private conversation with the late Sir John Gielgud, a convinced Oxfordian.
Michael York is well known to audiences all over the world as one of the most prolific and talented stage and screen actors of our day, having appeared in over 100 films, among them Cabaret, Romeo and Juliet and, most recently, The Omega Code. Audiences have long admired Michael York's versatility.
With an impressive body of work on screen, stage, television and with audio recording over the past 40 years, this consummate performer still retains the fire for the actor's life which first blazed when he was a teenager in England.
York is also an accomplished writer and lecturer, who has written several books. His book on performing Shakespeare, A Shakespearean Actor Prepares (written with longtime colleague, actor/director Adrian Brine) was praised by Spectator magazine as "A triumph... the most illuminating study of the dramatist since Granville Barker's Prefaces. It deserves to become a classic."
In the book, York declares his belief that Oxford was the true mind behind the Shakespearean canon: "Like other actors—Leslie Howard, Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin—I have an instinctive feeling that there is something that does not quite add up," writes York. "The glorious renaissance mind revealed by the plays does not square with the crabbed, litigious personality of the Straford claimant with his trivial, almost anonymous legacy of a few scrawled signatures, a second best bed and not one single book. Wheras Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, appears an ideal candidate."
Roland Emmerich is a highly successful director, writer and producer of visually exciting, imaginative motion pictures that have grossed more than $3 billion worldwide, including 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, The Patriot, and Independence Day.
With the support of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Emmerich directed and produced Anonymous (Sony Pictures, 2011), bringing the story of Edward de Vere as Shakespeare to a wide global audience for the first time.
In addition he supported the authorship documentary, Last Will. & Testament (First Folio Pictures, 2011), directed by Lisa Wilson.
In his introductory essay to the Newmarket Pictorial Moviebook edition of Anonymous: William Shakespeare Revealed, Emmerich called the creating of Anonymous “the single greatest filmmaking experience of my life.” Though he knew little about the Shakespeare Authorship Question when he first encountered John Orloff’s original script, he was attracted to the idea and immediately optioned the script. While noting that Orloff’s original idea “had a great emotional heart,” Emmerich wanted to film to be more like a Shakespearean tragedy and to represent the idea that the pen was mightier than the sword.
Regarding the experience of creating Anonymous, Emmerich wrote, “The only thing I was afraid of as a director was to put all these plays onto the stage we built for the film.” He built a full replica of The Rose, which later became The Globe, and successfully staged key scenes from a variety of Shakespeare’s plays that delight the senses while vividly revealing the contemporary political context. Emmerich wrote, “It was an amazing feeling just to walk onto this set because one instantly understands why the magic of the public theatre was so transforming in the 16th century. It was the only public word at the time, delivered to the people without too much censorship. That’s where allegory triumphed, symbolically expressing deeper, often moral or political, meanings of things.”
Together Emmerich and Orloff have created a magnificent, intellectually arresting film that is opening the eyes of many newcomers to the background and merits of the Shakespeare Authorship Question. And, as reviewer Betsy Sharkey says in her Los Angeles Times review, “If the filmmakers have done nothing else, they have turned "the pen is mightier than the sword" from mere axiom into action hero.”
Screenwriter John Orloff has worked relentlessly over the past 15 years to bring the story of Edward de Vere as Shakespeare to the screen, collaborating for the last eight of them with Roland Emmerich on the 2011 Sony Entertainment film Anonymous, starring Vanessa Redgrave, Rhys Ifans, Sir Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance and David Thewlis.
Orloff is best known as a writer for two episodes of the 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers (which won him a Christopher Award and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special) and for his script for the film A Mighty Heart (which earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best First Screenplay).
Orloff became interested in the authorship debate after watching a 1988 Frontline program about the controversy. He wrote his first draft in the late 1990s as a romance, The Soul of the Age, which Roland Emmerich bought in 2001. The relationships of the three central characters in Soul of the Age (Ben Jonson, Will Shakspere, and Edward de Vere) remained the heart of the movie, although with Emmerich’s vision the tone changed to tragedy, the name to Anonymous, and the overriding issue to the struggle to decide who would succeed Queen Elizabeth I to the throne of England.
John Orloff has become an articulate spokesman for Shakespeare Authorship Question, participating in online and in-person debates. For example, in the Huffington Post on October 27, 2011, in response to criticism by James Shapiro published in the New York Times, Orloff wrote, “Mr. Shapiro need not defend William Shakespeare the man, but professional Shakespearean scholarship itself. Because once one begins to ask the tough questions, Shakespearean scholarship is revealed to be the very thing Shapiro claims to despise most: guesswork, assumption and conjecture. Unlike Mr. Shapiro, I am not afraid of the next generation exploring the Shakespeare Authorship Question and coming to its own conclusion—whatever that may be.”
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