Friday Fun with Shakespeare from TEDx

The hip-hop of Shakespeare: MC Lars at TEDxUSC

His examples are pretty interesting – rapping the witches from Macbeth, Edgar Allen Poe, and connecting youth with literature in a relatable way. Enjoy.


Celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday!

How are YOU celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th birthday? If you haven’t made plans, check out how some of our local theatre companies are honoring Sir William and join in!

“…there was a star danced, and under that was I born.”  –Much Ado About Nothing

On the big day, April 23, be on the lookout for the Salty Shakespeare folks who will be doing a flash mob run-through all over the campus of Whittier College. Be especially observant in the lunchroom where, rumor has it, Polonius will be killed. The dress-run is in preparation for a full flash of what the company affectionately calls “Hamlet’s Greatest Hits” that will take place the next day.

Also on the 23rd, Long Beach Shakespeare Company will celebrate by presenting a night of Shakespeare sonnets, with everyone in attendance receiving a book of the complete sonnets as a free gift.

The comedy series Complete Works will premiere all five of its episodes on Hulu on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23.

Actor and director Natalie Reiko invites you to help her send a Video Birthday Card by participating in a unique project called 450 for 450, a collection of video clips (monologues, sonnets, scenes and other pieces inspired by Shakespeare) from around the world. “I am hoping to collect 450 videos to celebrate his 450th birthday,” says Reiko. “I think it would be a really fun way to make connections and build a community while showing the universality Shakespeare still has today.” Check out The Digital Stage channel HERE and submit rehearsal clips, performance videos, readings, etc. to Natalie at

On April 24, A Noise Within celebrates Shakespeare’s birthday with a free community event open to kids of all ages from 5:30 – 7:00 pm. The fun includes a bouncy castle, sword play, costumes, cupcakes, and more. Following the party there will be a performance of Macbeth. Info and tickets at

Impro Theatre will celebrate on April 25 with a special performance of its currently running production, Shakespeare UnScripted, a post-show discussion, and a champagne reception complete with birthday cake. The curtain will rise at 8pm at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre (upstairs at The Pasadena Playhouse) in Pasadena.

Join Independent Shakespeare Co. on April 25 for Romeo and Juliet and stay after the show for the Friday Night Drama Club, which follows all of their Friday evening performances. Have an Apothecary’s Cocktail and get all the inside info about their creative production. Plus, we’re betting they’ll have a few surprises in store as well.

Britweek is offering a special discount code for 50% off general admission tickets for SHAKESPEARE IN LA readers to its Evening with Shakespeare at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica on Friday April 25. The star-studded event is co-hosted by Dana Delany and Ioan Gruffudd. Tickets are available HERE. Use the code SLA50.

Shakespeare by the Sea is celebrating by hosting a Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday Tea in the beautiful garden at MaGriffe overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Saturday, April 26 at 2:00 pm. You’ll enjoy performances by your favorite Shakespeare by the Sea actors while you sip tea or champagne and savor scones, sandwiches and decadent desserts. Wear your best tea party hat and be eligible to win two Decadent Dining Tickets for their Opening Toast on June 12.

In San Diego, The Union Project Dance Company will celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday on Saturday, April 26 with a 1:30 pm performance at the Artwalk in San Diego. You can see the full Artwalk schedule HERE.

San Diego Shakespeare Society will celebrate with two free events. On Monday, April 21 join U-T columnist Richard Lederer and other Society members at the new San Diego Main Library where they will be performing excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays and poems from 6:30-7:30 pm in William Shakespeare Under the Dome.

Then on April 23, Dr. William Anthony Nericcio, Professor of English & Comparative Literature, SCSU will present a lecture entitled, William Shakespeare, Birthday Boy, with Siggy: 21st Century Speculations on British Literature in the Age of Prozac and the Ipad. 6:00-7:30 pm at the new San Diego Central Library Auditorium.

San Diego’s Shakesepeare Pub & Grille is rolling back its prices on April 23 for all of their imported English Draughts.

Tony and Olivier Award winner Roger Rees brings his tour-de-force performance of What You Will to The Old Globe for a special benefit performance on Monday, April 28 at 7:00 pm. The historical and sometimes hysterical account of Rees’s stage experiences features some of the funniest moments ever seen live on stage, as well as Shakespeare’s great soliloquies, performed by the man who has played Hamlet more than any other actor in the history of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

A Noise Within Announces REVOLUTIONARY 2014-15 Season

A Noise Within

A Noise Within, led by producing artistic directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, announces its 23rd season of classic theater in Southern California. Informed by the climate of social and economic upheaval in which we live, the season’s theme – reflected in a kaleidoscopic palette of plays – is REVOLUTION.

“We have always crafted overarching themes for our repertory seasons,” says Geoff Elliott, “but none has presented itself as organically and viscerally as this year’s.” Julia Rodriguez-Elliott reinforces this notion, adding, “In many ways, the idea of REVOLUTION had entered our collective consciousness in ways that all but dared us not to embrace it. As a director, I am especially energized by the concept of ‘disorderly conduct’ – both because it appears as a theme in every one of these plays, and because wherever we look, it is rearing its head in the forms of civic, social, and political unrest.” The company’s revolutionary season will include: More

Review: Independent Shakespeare Co. Intimately Envisions Romeo and Juliet

ISC - Romeo and Juliet

Nikhil Pai and Erika Soto. Photo credit: Grettel Cortes

Independent Shakespeare Co. once again showcases its intuitive ability to reimagine Shakespeare for a modern-day audience with an intimate production of his classic romance, Romeo and Juliet. The culturally diverse troupe is adept at creating user-friendly Shakespeare that everyone can understand, whether they are playing to a thousand or more in Griffith Park each summer, or to those that come for an intimate experience in their experimental Atwater Village Studio, or even to an impromptu audience at site-specific locations like The Huntington where they performed Shakespeare in the Garden this past weekend.  [See Huntington photos HERE]

In all of these cases, they have a gift for making the text lift off the page within a creative context that is as unique as it is memorable. That picture, of words blowing off the page like a child blows the seeds from a dandelion in summer, is marvelously employed in Romeo and Juliet as the familiar tale is freshly spun by director Melissa Chalsma and eight inventive actors.  More

National Theatre’s OTHELLO Receives Screening at UCLA

Britweek Othello screeningL.A. Theatre Works and BritWeek LA will screen the National Theatre’s production of Othello, broadcast in HD, at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater on May 4 at 2:00 pm. The event is part of BritWeek LA’s 2014 schedule of events.

Olivier Award-winning actors Adrian Lester (Henry V at the National Theatre) and Rory Kinnear (The Last of the Haussmans, James Bond: Skyfall), star as Othello and Iago, respectively, directed by Nicholas Hytner (Timon of Athens, One Man, Two Guvnors).

In Shakespeare’s play, Othello, newly married to Desdemona, is appointed leader of a major military operation. Iago, passed over for promotion by Othello in favor of the young Cassio, persuades Othello that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. The screening will take place at the James Bridges Theater, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, 235 Charles E. Young Drive in Los Angeles, 90095. Tickets are $20 for regular seating; $25 for premium seating; and $10 for students with valid student ID. (310) 827-0889 or

Celebrating Shakespeare’s Birthday with a New Comedy Series on Hulu

Complete Works, an independently-produced comedy series about a collegiate Shakespeare competition will premiere all five of its new episodes – House of Cards style – on Hulu April 23rd, coinciding with Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday. The half-hour comedy series follows Hal, a naive Shakespeare-obsessed Midwesterner, who makes it to the final round of the American Shakespeare Competition only to discover that even theater geeks can be cutthroat.

From first time writer-directors Joe Sofranko and Adam North, it was created and produced by Sofranko, North, and Lili Fuller with their production company, Kingdom for a Horse Productions. So, how did the three meet?  More

Shakespeare Extempore Combines Cinematic Elements with Improv

Shakespeare Extempore

IO West returns with its next main stage performance of Shakespeare Extempore on Friday, April 18 at iO West Theater in Hollywood. The non-traditional improv group uses cinematic soundscapes, and improvised movie and scene painting techniques to put on a completely unique Shakespearean performance through the lens of various genre and director styles.

“The concept for the show came from our desire to explore what you don’t get to see from Shakespeare on stage that you do see on film: the battle scenes, the murders, the sexuality, the intricate offstage events which are referenced but not enacted,” says director Jason Murphy.

“We also wanted to capitalize on improv’s ability to create any landscape and setting for environments with complex, complimentary soundtracking and lighting. You can experience a tragedy in a dystopian futuristic Rome or a history set in the 1930′s Depression Era. We use a vast array of pre-scored music/soundscapes to underscore scenes which heighten the cinematic feel of the performance in the particular genre.

The show is designed specifically to combine Shakespeare’s language and storytelling with cinema’s infinite imagination. We also incorporate the sense of exploration and play in a way that keep it firmly planted in the improv style audience’s expect from iO.”

The cast of Shakespeare Extempore includes Jason Murphy, Sean Cowhig, Lauren Pritchard, Derek Mears, Scott Palmason, Ryan Marsico, Alexis Simpson, Kelly Vrooman and Justin Michael Terry. Click Here for tickets ($10) or call (323) 962-7560. IO West is located at 6366 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028. For more information, visit

Blair Underwood to Star in OTHELLO at The Old Globe

Blair UnderwodBig news from The Old Globe today as they announce that two-time Golden Globe Award nominee Blair Underwood will make his Globe debut in the title role of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Othello in the company’s 2014 Summer Shakespeare Festival. Underwood recently debuted on Broadway in the iconic role of Stanley in Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire and is well-known to audiences for his television and film roles. He is no stranger to Shakespeare, previously starring in Measure for Measure with Lisa Gay Hamilton and Kevin Kline for the 1993 summer season at the New York Shakespeare Festival (aka Shakespeare in the Park).

Joining him and also making their Globe debuts are the previously announced Emmy Award winner Richard Thomas as Iago and Kristen Connolly as Desdemona. They continue collaborations with Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein that began in New York: Thomas starred in Edelstein’s critically acclaimed production of Timon of Athens at The Public Theater in 2011, and Connolly in three Shakespeare plays that Edelstein helped produce at The Public.

“I’m honored and excited to welcome the great Blair Underwood to the Old Globe family,” said Edelstein. “He is a distinguished stage actor whose intensity and charisma will give us a majestic and magnetic Othello. That he joins a company already boasting the luminaries Richard Thomas and Kristen Connolly is truly for me an embarrassment of riches.”

Performances run June 22 – July 27, with Opening Night on Saturday, June 28 at 8:00 pm. Tickets to the Globe’s 2014 Summer Season are currently available by subscription only at or by calling (619) 23-GLOBE. The Old Globe is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way.

Audition Update: Specific Roles in Twelfth Night and Hamlet

Two Southern California theatre companies are still looking for actors for several roles in their summer Shakespeare seasons:

Kingsmen Shakespeare Company is looking for a classically trained actor with significant Shakespeare experience to play Sebastian in Twelfth Night directed by Kevin Kern. Rehearsals begin June 3 and will take place weekday nights and weekend days in Thousand Oaks. The production runs Friday – Sunday nights, June 27 – August 3. Pay Rate is $375/week (for AEA members). Guaranteed $200 minimum stipend (for non-union performer). Character description: Male, Caucasian, 20s. Must be 5’1” to 5’5” Big-hearted, sincere, with a wide romantic streak, but when we meet him, he is grief-stricken and lost in a strange land. For more information and to submit electronically, go to

Shakespeare by the Sea is still seeking 3 non-Equity actors (NEW SUBMISSIONS ONLY) for several roles in its summer production of Hamlet directed by Patrick Vest. Rehearsals begin April 26 at Little Fish Theatre, 777 Centre Street San Pedro. Performances begin June 12 in San Pedro and will alternate between different parks throughout Southern California through August 16. Two shows in rep (Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream) alternate rehearsals and performances on evenings and weekends. Interview date is April 12 and rehearsals begin April 27. The pay rate has been revised and is now a $100 rehearsal stipend and $15 per performance.

Roles they are seeking include Claudius: 40’s-60’s, calculating yet charismatic King of Denmark who gained his crown by murdering his brother; Gertrude: Female, 40’s-60’s Hamlet’s mother, married her dead husband’s brother. A queen in every way, but also a mother in every way. She doesn’t understand what has happened to her world; Polonius: Male, 40’s-50’s, the Lord Chamberlain, father of Hamlet’s love Ophelia, and right hand man to Claudius. Seen as a bumbling man by members of the court, he is a charming and a consummate politician. For more information and to submit electronically, go to

Next Shakespeare & Company Weekend Intensive is May 9-11

Shakespeare & CompanyShakespeare & Company will be back in Los Angeles for their next Weekend Intensive May 9 – 11. The workshop is an opportunity to re-awaken and revitalize your relationship to Shakespeare’s text and is designed for those looking for an introduction to Shakespeare & Company’s training methods. Here’s a look at the schedule…it’s a great program that I highly recommend from firsthand experience.

Friday (7pm-10pm) is an introduction to Shakespeare & Company’s aesthetic and an opportunity for actors to shift gears and focus on your work through a series of exercises involving voice, body and memory work.

Saturday (10am-10pm) focuses on your individual voice and experiences, which are incorporated into a monologue that you have prepared for the class.

Sunday (10am-4pm) moves more vigorously through the voice and body work, with actors reconnecting with Shakespeare’s text, revisiting their monologues and exploring how the structure of the verse might influence character and performance.

Adequate time for meal breaks is given, though participants are responsible for their own meals. The workshop is limited to 14 participants. Tuitions is $300. Alumni Discount: Actors who have completed Shakespeare & Company’s Month-long Intensive, Summer Training Institute, or Conservatory programs are eligible for a 20% discount. Application Deadline is two weeks before the start of the workshop. (Applicants may be accepted after deadline as space allows.)

Click Here for additional information and how to apply.

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