LBSC Continues Season of Spectacle with Henry V

Henry V - LBSC
Long Beach Shakespeare Company continues its season of spectcle with its latest production, Henry V. Performances run through Sept 19, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm. Famous quotes abound throughout the action, such as, “The game’s afoot,” “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,” and “A little touch of Harry in the night,” among many others, while the guilt laden, newly pious, yet ambitious King grapples with the sins of his father and his own desire to show the world his worth. The French outnumber the English, 5 to 1, yet Henry leads his men into battle. Come witness the courage and the carnage.

August 28 – September 19, 2015
Long Beach Shakespeare Company
Richard Goad Theatre, 4250 Atlantic, Long Beach, CA, 90807
Tickets: $20/general admission and $10/students, available
Call (562) 997-1494 or go to

Colonials presents Macbeth at Miles Memorial Playhouse

Colonials presents Shakespeare’s dark tragedy Macbeth at the Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica. Call (310) 804-6745 for reservations. For more information go to

Colonials Macbeth

Hamlet is Going to the Clowns – Four Clowns, that is

Four Clowns presents Hamlet
Four Clowns teams up with the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles for an all new take on one of Shakespeare’s most popular works – Hamlet. Four Clowns presents Hamlet will run for eight performances only, Fridays and Saturdays Sept 18 – Oct 10, all shows at 8pm.

Join the award-winning company as they go on a raucous journey to explore the depths of madness. With Hamlet at the helm – the biggest joker of all time – this highly physical production slips and slides through the pages of Shakespeare, as the clowns hash out the meaning of rosemary and rue. But at the end of the day even clowns can’t take the sting out of mass murder. This is Shakespeare as you’ve never seen before. Alas Poor, Yorick. You thought you knew him well.

Previously Four Clowns has presented two other unique interpretations of Shakespeare classics: an award-winning version of Romeo & Juliet in 2011, and in partnership with CSULB, a devised version of Ubu Roi called Ubu The Sh*t, a French play based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

For the tale of Hamlet, a cast of nine – including several new members of the company – is directed by long-time company member and director Turner Munch. Munch says, “This is not a bunch of clowns trying to ‘perform’ the play of Hamlet. Our clowns assume these roles and are making these choices.”

The show stars Drew Eiden as Hamlet, with Tyler Bremer (Guildenstern), Charlotte Chanler (Gertrude), Joe DeSoto (Laertes/Ghost) , Scotty Farris (Polonius), Elizabeth Godley (Ophelia), Dave Honigman (Rosencrantz), Corey Johnson (Claudius), and Connor Kelly-Eiding (Horatio).

The creative team includes Matthew MacCready (technical director), McLeod Benson (lighting designer), Alexandra Giron (set & props designer), Elena Flores (costume, hair, & make-up designer), Matt Franta (fight choreographer), Julianna Stephanie Ojeda (production manager), Zach Steel (graphic designer), Ashley Jo Navarro (stage manager), Jeremy Aluma (artistic director/producer) and producers David Anthony Anis and Sara Waugh.

Sept 18 – Oct 10, 2015
Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles
1238 West 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Tickets: (562) 508-1788 or
Show runs under 90 minutes with no intermission.

The Porters of Hellsgate Remount Fringe Hit, Breaking Bard

Breaking Bard - The Porters of Hellsgate

Gus Krieger in Breaking Bard. Photo credit: Zach Andrews

Fresh off of their sold-out, critically acclaimed run at this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival, The Porters of Hellsgate have announced their upcoming remount of Breaking Bard, winner of the Ezra Buzzington Spirit of the Fringe Award for Best Writing (Gus Krieger, resident playwright and associate artistic director for The Porters).

Krieger’s play asks one of humanity’s most enduring questions: what if television’s Breaking Bad had been written by William Shakespeare? The Porters of Hellsgate present the most lamentable tragedie of Walter of Albuquerque: containing his treacherous plots, his pitiful murther, his tyrannical rise to power, and most deserved death.

The play has been revised and expanded to include even more key moments and favorite characters from television’s Breaking Bad, while still maintaining a brisk, one-act format.

Krieger stars as the villainous Lord Walter, with resident artist Kate O’Toole as his Lady, Skyler. A very special Chorus will be provided by William Hickman. Jesse James Thomas will reprise his Spirit of the Fringe-nominated turn as Walter’s squire, Jesse.

Also playing a variety of roles are Thomas Bigley, Dylan Booth, Dana DeRuyck, Sean Faye, Josh Heisler, Kipp Moorman, Burl Moseley, Mikel Parraga-Wills, Timothy Portnoy, and Troy Whitaker. Drina Durazo, nominated for Best Director at the Spirit of the Fringe awards, is returning to helm this bigger, badder, Bardier production.

Performances run Sept 24 – Nov 1 with opening night Saturday, Sept 26 at 8pm, Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm, and Sunday matinees at 2pm. There will be no performance on Saturday, October 31, but an extra performance on closing day, Sunday, November 1st, at 7pm.

This show was the hit of the fringe. You can read my previous review of the production HERE but suffice it to say that “Gus Krieger’s writing is smart, compact, wickedly funny, and exactly what you hope it will be when you picture a Walter White world with William Shakespeare dialogue…As the aha moments stack up, so do the laughs.” I’m not kidding when I say, get your tickets now. It sold out almost instantly the first time around and will absolutely do so again.

Sept 24 – Nov 1, 2015
Whitmore Lindley Theatre
11006 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601
Click Here for tickets ($25)

Photo Flash: Downtown Rep’s Much Ado About Nothing

Downtown Repertory Theater Company presents Much Ado About Nothing directed by Ivan Rivas, August 20 – September 6, 2015, in the courtyard of the historic Pico House in Downtown Los Angeles. Performances are free but reservations are recommended because there is limited seating availability and tickets for the company’s productions go quickly.

Downtown Rep - Much Ado About Nothing

Downtown Rep - Much Ado About Nothing

Downtown Rep - Much Ado About Nothing

Downtown Rep - Much Ado About Nothing

Downtown Rep - Much Ado About Nothing

Downtown Rep - Much Ado About Nothing

Click HERE for more photos from the production.

Review: ISC’s Much Ado About Nothing is a 1940s Charmer


David Melville (Benedick) and Melissa Chalsma (Beatrice). Photos by Reynaldo Macias

One of the keys to providing great entertainment is understanding your audience. For a theatre company, that means knowing what your audience wants and then being able to provide it so they keep coming back for more. Independent Shakespeare Co. has done a brilliant job of both. Not only do they play to crowds that number in the thousands each night during their Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival, but they always find a way to connect with the audience and make them feel like they’re in on the fun.

In Much Ado About Nothing, their latest production in the park, director Jeff Wienckowski ensures that connection with staging that often takes the characters out among the people, with plenty of hilarious results. The famous pair of scenes in which Beatrice (Melissa Chalsma) and Benedick (David Melville) are each fooled by their friends into thinking the other is in love with him or her takes place right in the laps of those on the lawn, much to the delight of everyone around them.  More

Friday Funny: Courtesy of Popeye the Sailor and Bluto

I haven’t posted a Friday Funny in a while but this one came across my desk and there’s nothing like a good classic. In honor of Shakespeare’s most tragic love story, here is a little pre-show weekend fun: Popeye the Sailor, Olive Oyl, and Bluto in Shakespearian Spinach Epidosde # 76 (January 19, 1940). If only Juliet had had some spinach!

Have a great weekend. Go see some Shakespeare!

The Geffen gets a new Billie Joe Armstrong Shakespeare Musical!

These Paper BulletsGeffen Playhouse opens its 20th anniversary season with the west coast premiere of These Paper Bullets! A Modish Ripoff of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, September 8 – October 18. Written by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Emmy Award nominated writer Rolin Jones (Friday Night Lights, Boardwalk Empire) with songs by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and staged by Jackson Gay, These Paper Bullets! was commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre where it premiered in 2014.

Meet the Quartos. Ben, Claude, Balth, and Pedro. Their fans worship them. Scotland Yard fears them. And their former drummer will stop at nothing to destroy them. Can these fab four from Liverpool find true love in London and cut an album in seven nights?

The cast features James Barry (Pedro), Kate Blumberg (Paulina, Frida), Damon Daunno (Claude), Chris Geary (Anton), Mr. Crumpet, Queen & Others), Brad Heberlee (Mr. Urges), Justin Kirk (Ben), Tony Manna (Mr. Cake), Rod McLachlan (Boris), Kiera Naughton (Ulcie), Adam O’Byrne (Don Best), Lucas Papaelias (Balth), Nicole Parker (Beatrice), Greg Stuhr (Mr. Berry), Ariana Venturi (Higgy), Nick Ullett as (Leo).

These Paper Bullets! is a co-production with Atlantic Theater Company in New York and will be performed there following the Geffen Playhouse engagement. The two theatre companies last teamed-up in 2009 for the Atlantic Theater Company production of Farragut North starring Dan Bittner, Mia Barron, Justin Huen, Chris Noth, Chris Pine, Olivia Thirlby and Isiah Whitlock, Jr.

The Geffen will also host over a dozen pre-show and post-show Signature Series events during the show’s run. These include TGIF at the Geffen, Talk Back Tuesdays (Audience Q+A with artists), Lounge Fridays, Girls Night Out, and Wine Down Sundays. Many of them include refreshments, music and other festive elements. These events are complimentary as part of your ticket price, thanks to the support of Geffen Playhouse partners and sponsors. Click Here for Signature Series dates and more information.

Sept. 8 – Oct. 18, 2015 (opening night 9/16)
Gil Cates Theater at Geffen Playhouse
10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tickets: (310) 208-5454 or

Shakespeare Fans, You’ll Love this New Theater Web Series EMPTY SPACE

Empty Space 2

Congratulations to LA’s own Devon Armstrong and the Downtown Repertory Theater Company whose web series Empty Space is now available on Empty Space is a nine-episode comedy that explores and glorifies the world of diehard thespians, those hardcore beasts of the theater who soldier on against the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune because, after all, the show must go on. All episodes are now available for you to binge watch HERE. Since seeing a sneak preview of Episode One earlier this spring, I can tell you that I’ve been looking forward to the rest of the series. It’s terrific.

In Empty Space: After an untimely accident, Orson Ripley (Devon Armstrong), a scruffy but talented denizen of guerrilla theater, finds himself torn from his parking lot black-box and thrust into the world of the acerbic and autocratic Ian Kingsley (Freddy Douglas), Artistic Director of the well-heeled Warner Grand Playhouse. But all is not well at the Warner Grand: a simmering feud between the cast and the crew flares up into open mutiny three days before Romeo and Juliet is set to open…

The series is written and directed by Devon Armstrong with additional direction by Matt Lents, and is produced by Devon Armstrong and John Armstrong, with cinematography by Idan Menin. Empty Space is a BroadwayWorld exclusive and the popular theatre website’s first web series filmed in an actual theater.

The cast includes Freddy Douglas, Chris Eckert, Karina Noelle, Katie Pelensky, Arber Mehmetti, Tiffany Tejeda-Rodriguez, Devon Armstrong, Connor Kelly-Eiding, Amanda Corbet. Paul Eiding, Mark Jacobson, Sarah Peck, Joshua Bevier, Matthew Michael Collins, Madison Shepard. Matt Lents, Nicholas Ian Law, Stephen Davalos, Colleen Kelly, Todd Christian Elliot, Linda Serrato. Daniel Jimenez, Emily Goss, Kevin DeKimpe. Matthew Nelson, Idan Menin, Joe Desoto. Brooke Culbertson, Mia Carina Mollicone, James Fowler, Stephanie Galvan, and John Armstrong.

Click Here to watch Empty Space


Independent Shakespeare Co. Announces Extension of Romeo & Juliet

Romeo and Juliet - ISC

Erika Soto and Nikhil Pai as Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Grettel Cortes

For the first time in 12 years, Independent Shakespeare Co. will extend one of its Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival productions – its critically-acclaimed adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, directed by ISC Artistic Director Melissa Chalsma. The punk rock fairy tale will play September 4 – 6, following Much Ado About Nothing, which runs through August 30.

Adolescent bliss spins out of control in this imaginative staging of Shakespeare’s famous love story. This new adaptation incorporates an original rock score and design that is equal parts fairy tale and punk. Erika Soto and Nikhil Pai (in the title roles) lead a cast of Independent Shakespeare Co.’s most popular performers. They combine the textual clarity ISC is known for with a passionate and athletic physicality to create a Romeo and Juliet that explodes off the Griffith Park stage.

“We have been blown away by the tremendous audience reception to our production of Romeo and Juliet,” says Melissa Chalsma. For the first time we are extending the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival to satisfy all the people who wanted to see more performances of our production.”

In addition to Soto and Pai, the cast includes Joseph Culliton, Thomas Ehas, William Elsman, Mary Goodchild, Faqir Hassan, Aisha Kabia, Jack Lancaster, André Martin, David Melville, Xavi Moreno, Vladimir Noel, Ashley Nguyen,Sean Pritchett, Evan Lewis Smith, and Bernadette Sullivan.

For more information, call (818) 710-6306 or go to

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