Meet the Tour Guide

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Joe Vincent is a professional actor with a 30-year career in the theater and a passion for all things Italian. He began his life in the "Little Italy" neighborhoods of Newark, New Jersey in the 1940s and 1950s. Vincent's father was a first generation Italian. At age seven, Joe moved to Ashland, Oregon, home of the world-famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where he began his lifelong love of Shakespeare.

Since the late 1960s, Mr. Vincent has been a prominent actor for many of the West Coast Shakespeare Festivals and regional repertory cheaters. For the past four years Mr. Vincent has served as Artistic Director of the California Shakespeare Festival. During his award-winning career, he has appeared in almost 200 plays and musicals including 65 major productions of Shakespeare's plays. As of this year, Mr. Vincent has acted in 33 of the Bard's 38 plays.

"Researching these tours for the past seven years has been one of the most creative periods of my life!," Vincent says. "The sheer joy of visiting such a wonderful country and experiencing the cities of Shakespeare's great plays is phenomenal. After so many years of pretending to be in Venice, Verona or Rome, it is simply heart-stopping to actually be there."

In Mr. Vincent's recent stage career he has had the pleasure performing several of Shakespeare's most colorful Italian characters. These include Shylock, the money lender; Antonio, the merchant of Venice; and Julius Caesar. He counts the performances of these characters on the tour as his favorite pastime in Italy. Imagine standing in Europe's first ghetto in Venice and hearing Shylock and Antonio square off with their hatred of each other. And equally interesting to see Caesar and Marc Antony come alive in the Roman Forum.

After leading the tour in the summer of 2000, Mr. Vincent and his family moved to New England, where he has been working as an actor out of New York. He is currently rehearsing for a revival of "The Elephant Man" on Broadway.

"An actor of extraordinary range and versatility with a rich singing voice..."

- DramaLogue Magazine, Los Angeles