SCLA’s Veterans in Art and Will Power to Youth present Henry IV, Part One

SCLA Henry IV Pt 1For those of you who have asked if The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles is producing a play this summer, their festival partner, the West LA VA, has refocused its funds to serve one of their worthiest missions – ending veteran homelessness – so there won’t be a production in the Japanese Garden this year. SCLA will announce a new partnership this winter that continues their work between veterans, youth, and the community.

What are they currently working on? You can see for yourself August 13 – 15 when Veterans in Art and Will Power to Youth present Henry IV, Part One at SCLA’s downtown studio. Tickets are pay-what-you-can and reservations are recommended by calling (213) 481-2273 x15 or emailing boxoffice@shakespearecenter.org.

What decisions do you have to make as you grow up? What code of honor guides your way? Los Angeles teens and military vets have been asking these questions of Shakespeare’s play and each other. Performed by students, informed by veterans. For the benefit of all.

HENRY IV, PART ONE
Thursday, August 13, 10:00 am
Friday, August 14, 7:30 pm
Saturday, August 15, 7:30 pm
The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles
1238 W. First Street, Los Angeles CA 90026
www.shakespearecenter.org

Southern California Shakespeare Festival Presents MACBETH

macbethSouthern California Shakespeare Festival will present Macbeth September 5 – October 4 in Cal Poly Pomona’s Studio Theatre. Shakespeare’s classic drama depicts a tale of better ideals overwhelmed by misguided ambition, and the runaway exercise of unchecked imperial power leading to extravagant bloodshed and then, revolution. The play remains popular because it resonates with 21st Century audiences. It will be costumed in modern dress, not tying it to any specific time period in a bid to universalize the action.

The production is directed by guest director David Fox who offers his thoughts about the play. “This is a war-weary society. The trauma of constant battle and death has taken an emotional toll on men, women, and children. The moral compass is broken. People are not thinking clearly. Suspicion and desperation permeate the air. Everyone is vulnerable to temptation, the solicitations of the subconscious and/or supernatural.”  More

The Comedy of Errors is up next for The Old Globe

Comedy of Errors - The Old GlobeThe Old Globe has announced its cast and crew for The Comedy of Errors, part of the Globe’s 80th Anniversary festivities during Balboa Park’s Centennial Celebration. With three shows on Broadway this year, Tony and Emmy Award nominee Scott Ellis makes his Globe debut directing one of William Shakespeare’s most delightful confections. Performances begin August 16 and run through September 20, 2015, with opening night on Saturday, August 22 at 8:00 pm.

Laughter will ring out under the stars as Shakespeare’s hilarious tale of mistaken identity takes the outdoor stage. A young man and his servant arrive in town, unaware that each of them has a separated-at-birth identical twin already there. This can’t end well—or maybe it can, but not before the unexpected double vision leads to furious wives, confused mistresses, scandalized family members, and general mayhem.  More

Shakespeare Orange County Sets As You Like It in Elizabethan England

As You Like ItCelebrating the joy of love, liberty and great wit, Shakespeare Orange County will present Shakespeare’s As You Like It, August 13 – 29. The cast will feature Josh Osdess-Rudin as Rosaland, with Cynthia Aldrich (Phebe), Alex Bodrero (Jacques), Maria Costa (Celia), Michael Drace Fountain (Duke Senior), John Frederick Jones (Adam), Colin Martin (Orlando), Blake Prentiss (Oliver), A.J. Smitrovich (Duke Frederick) and Tony Torrico (Touchstone).

“With great veteran Shakespearean actors like John-Frederick Jones, this will definitely be a charming and enchanting production,” says SOC producing artistic director John Walcutt. “It will be a lot of fun for all audiences, with great surprises, disguises and cross-dressing antics that have made this play beloved for more than four centuries.”

Director Peter Uribe adds, “We have moved our As You Like It from its setting in France to the time and place it was written. We’re really enhancing the experience of being back in Elizabethan England with Renaissance period entertainment before the show and plenty of rich period costumes onstage.”  More

Hollywood Bowl Preview: A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Dudamel

Gustavo Dudamel

Gustavo Dudamel. Photo credit Vern Evans

On Tuesday July 28, LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel ventures into Shakespeare’s forest of mistaken identities and fairy mischief for A Midsummer Night with Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl. Actress Bryce Dallas Howard will narrate, bringing Shakespeare’s words to life in a magical evening featuring soloists soprano Deanna Breiwick and mezzo-soprano Jennifer Holloway, and the women of the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Special guest Gil Shaham, one of the foremost violinists of our time, also joins Dudamel and the LA Phil for Mendelssohn’s popular and well-loved Violin Concerto to complete the program.

Mendelssohn composed the music for his score to A Midsummer Night’s Dream at two different points in his life. The overture was written first, when he was only 17 years old, while his incidental music would come some 16 years later, not long before his death. It is a brightly constructed romantic work that paints images of fairies dancing on the breeze and lovers in delirious pursuit with its delicate and sweeping themes. The Mechanicals arrive with their own picturesque entrance and other motifs are introduced as the story unfolds. When Bottom is turned into an ass by Oberon, king of the fairies, the composer captures it in the music in a most delightful way.  More

Interview: Ryan J-W Smith and his Fringe Favorite, Love Labours Won

Love Labours Won

Ryan J-W Smith as Duke Caesus

Shakespeare was a clear favorite this year at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Among the award-winning productions was Ryan J. Smith’s Love Labours Won, which received two fringe awards: The International Award and an Encore Producers’ Award. Back by popular demand, the show has extended through August 6th and will play Thursday nights at 8pm in the Dorie Theatre. Is it a sequel to Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost like the title might imply? I asked Ryan to tell us about the play, which sounds delightful.  More

Trailer: First Look at Macbeth Adaptation, Innocent Sleep

Producers Allison Volk and Brooke Bishop, the team behind Santa Monica’s City Shakespeare Company, have released a trailer for their upcoming film adaptation of Macbeth, Innocent Sleep. The completed film will premiere at a private screening in Los Angeles on October 3rd, before moving on to screenings at film festivals across the country.

Bishop and Volk began exploring the concepts of Macbeth in late 2013, when they produced a stage version of the play with The City Shakespeare Company. Filming took place in Colorado in the fall of 2014.

Adapted for screen by Allison Volk, Innocent Sleep focuses on the night the Macbeths murder King Duncan, played by Ashland Shakespeare Festival veteran Gregory Linington. City Shakes actors Allison Volk, Colin Martin, David Hartstone, Mallory Wedding and Daniel Landberg star in the film alongside several Shakespeare veterans.

“I’d like the film festival process to be a framework for connecting with audiences, to help guide me in the other projects I’m currently working on and perhaps inspire future project,” says Bishop.

Volk adds, “As an actor, you see so many projects go unfinished or drag their feet to completion. It’s incredibly satisfying that this project moves forward so decisively. I’m very excited to share our work with the world.”

For more information, visit www.CityShakes.org.

Review: Shakespeare Orange County’s Romeo & Juliet

SOC Romeo & Juliet

Rámon de Ocampo and his friends. All photos by Jordan Kubat

As an attempt to increase its cultural relevance, involve the community, and expand its audience base, Shakespeare Orange County’s Romeo & Juliet is an admirable venture. Directors Mike Peebler and John Walcutt have integrated several hometown groups to appeal to its neighboring communities: the Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association, the 40-year-old folklórico group Relámpago del Cielo from Santa Ana, the Korean Social Club of Orange County, and students from the Orange County School of the Arts.  More

Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival Goes Indie-Rock for 12th Night

12th Night Santa Clarita Shakespeare

If music be the food of love, Rock on! That’s the motto of Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival’s production of 12th Night – A Rock Musical, opening this weekend. This all new interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies takes Shakespeare’s text and sets it to original music in an indie rock concept by composer Jay Africa. Arrangements and musical direction are by Justin Horwitz and Erin McBride Africa directs.

“Putting Shakespeare’s words to music first seemed like a formidable challenge,” says Jay Africa, “But as I dove into his words, I discovered that much of the play already lent itself to being set to music. Lines restructured themselves into verses, rhymes revealed themselves in unexpected places, and rhythms marched out of the dialogue as if on their own.”

The play is set in Olivia’s Orchard, a fictitious bar, while a live 4-piece rock band (Duke Orsino and Thunderlove) plays on stage. The actors join in open mic night fashion, while pursuing their loves.

“Ultimately, it is about connecting with an audience,” says David Stears, the company’s Executive Director. “And this is a great way to bring a modern sensibility to the text and story. Shakespeare’s lyric text is a perfect for modern singer/songwriter/indie music style. Most of these songs can be on the radio tomorrow.”

12th Night – A Rock Musical
July 18 – August 16, 2015 (7:30 pm)
Rivendale Park in Towsley Canyon

Shakespeare in the Park is part of the LA SummerFEST, an eclectic summer cultural festival in Santa Clarita. All performances are free (donations suggested). Bring a chair or a blanket, the family, and a picnic and enjoy a beautiful evening under the stars. For more information about the Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival, visit www.SCShakespeareFEST.org.

ISC Gets Ready for Much Ado About Nothing in Griffith Park

ISC - Much Ado

L-R: Ashley Nguyen, David Melville and Erwin Tuazon.

This summer, Griffith Park becomes the post-WWII Mediterranean countryside when Independent Shakespeare Co. opens Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, Much Ado About Nothing. The show will begin previews at The Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival on Thursday, July 30 at 7pm and will open on Saturday, August 8 at 7pm and perform through Sunday, August 30 at Old Zoo in Griffith Park. All ISC Summer Shakespeare productions are FREE to the public.

The time period is summer of 1945 in Messina, where we find Don Pedro and his battalion enjoying a much-needed respite in Leonato’s bomb-riddled villa. While awaiting the nuptials of Claudio and Hero, Don Pedro and his men amuse themselves by playing Cupid between Beatrice, Hero’s witty and sharp-tongued cousin, and confirmed bachelor-for-life Benedick. As the wine flows in Leonato’s villa, discord emerges, judgment is clouded, and passions are set ablaze by the most powerful intoxicant of all: love.

Much Ado About Nothing will fill the Park with laughter, music and dancing,” says director Jeffrey Wienckowski. “But in this roaring party there is a sudden turn where things get very real and very dark. It is this dichotomy that allows clownish physical comedy to live right alongside very real dramatic tension. This works perfectly with ISC’s trademark spontaneous style that always expertly walks that line between comedy and drama. The play will feature music of the 1940s as well as original compositions by Chris Porter. The 1940s gives an important backdrop of battle to the play, and it also instills a sense of nostalgia and romance. Much Ado About Nothing is a very human story about the fallibility of lovesick hearts.”

The cast will feature Jose Acain, Richard Azurdia, Danny Brown, Danny Campbell, Melissa Chalsma, Joseph Culliton, Thomas Ehas, William Elsman, André Martin, David Melville, Xavi Moreno, Marcelo Olivas, Evan Lewis Smith, Bernadette Sullivan, Napoleon Tavale and Erwin Tuazon. Season production design is by Caitlin Lainoff. Season lighting design is by Bosco Flanagan and costume design is by Amanda Lee. Currently ISC is presenting Romeo & Juliet in Griffith Park through July 26. For more information, call (818) 710-6306 or go to www.iscla.org.

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