Interview: 17-Year-Old Madeleine Russell Contemplates To Be or Not To Be

Westridge Hamlet

Madeleine Russell in Hamlet. Rehearsal photos by Cris Capp

Proving that Shakespeare is for all ages and all people, Westridge School in Pasadena is getting ready to open an all-female 1990’s grunge-inspired production of Hamlet, starring Madeleine Russell in the title role. Anyone who has ever worked on the play, and particularly on that role, will tell you that it is a huge undertaking and one that presents many opportunities for growth, both as an actor and as a person. Since I’m always interested in the process, I asked Russell, who is a 17-year old senior at Westridge, what it was like for her to step into the shoes of one of Shakespeare’s most tortured characters. I think you’ll be impressed at what she has to say about her experience.

How do you get inside a character like this as a young woman in the role, rather than a young man?

Because my school is single-sex, I have had the chance to play men before. I find that my approach is fairly similar for any character, male or female. I read for emotions, motivators, character shifts. I analyze their journey, always taking into consideration their present circumstances. With Hamlet, I have easier access to his feelings and thoughts. He never hides from the audience, which I find to be one of the reasons he is so compelling.  More

Inara George in Concert with Music Inspired by Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Inara George 2014Inara George presents A Concert Tribute to William Shakespeare, on Saturday, Oct. 18, 6:00 pm at Theatricum Botanicum. The acclaimed singer/songwriter, a homegrown Topangan, shares the stage with an exciting musical lineup of guest artists. In honor of Theatricum’s ongoing celebration of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, original musical compositions inspired by his sonnets will be performed. Tickets are $35.00; no charge for children 5 and under. Call (310) 455-3723 or visit Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 N Topanga Cyn Blvd. Topanga, CA 90290.

Parson’s Nose Theater Opens 2014-15 Season with The Merchant of Venice

Parsons Nose school for scandal

Marisa Chandler and Barry Gordon in The School for Scandal

Parson’s Nose Theater begins their 15th Season with a Readers’ Theater Series performance of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, adapted by Lance Davis and featuring Barry Gordon as Shylock, at Lineage Performing Arts Center in Pasadena.

“In The Merchant of Venice, written in 1597, the young Shakespeare again performs his magic, taking elements from Italian tales and contemporary works (Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta) and giving his own spin,” explains PNT Artistic Director, Lance Davis. “His Christians are not merciful heroes, and his Shylock is not a greedy villain. His comedy does not end comfortably. Join us to listen to this brilliant 16th Century portrayal of justice vs. mercy. In today’s darkness of world tension, a shaft of light is most welcome, isn’t it?”

Parson’s Nose Readers Theater readings and productions are offered as “Pay What You Will” and may be reserved in advance or purchased at the door.

Saturday, October 18 at 7:00pm
Sunday, October 19 at 3:00pm
Lineage Performing Arts Center
89 S. Fair Oaks, Pasadena, CA 91105
Tickets and Information: 626-403-7667 or
Prices: Pay What You Will
Running time appx. 90 minutes plus intermission. Appropriate ages 12+.

Globe For All: File This One Under “Great For The Community”

Globe For All - All's Well

Pictured: Old Globe Managing Director Michael G. Murphy (back row, left) and Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein (back row, right) with the cast and community partners of All’s Well That Ends Well. Photo by Mike Hausberg.

The Old Globe begins an exciting new production platform this month. Globe for All is a free professional touring production of Shakespeare that will allow the theatre to serve more communities throughout San Diego by collaborating with a diverse range of local organizations. Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein directs the first production, Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well with a cast of local professional actors and recent graduates of the Old Globe/University of San Diego Graduate Theatre Program. The tour begins Oct. 28 and will culminate in three low-cost performances Nov. 7 – 9 in the Globe’s Hattox Hall, part of the Karen and Donald Cohn Education Center in the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.  More

FREE Shakespeare in Plummer Park

Lovers and Madmen
“Lovers & madmen have such seething brains, such shaping fantasies that apprehend more than cool reason ever comprehends.”

— Theseus in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Join Lovers and Madman for an afternoon of madness in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Don’t forget to bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and umbrellas. Michael Matthys directs a cast that includes Ross Baker, MJ Beyer, Chris Chapman, Tyler Fromson, Lianna Smith, Kelly Love, Rolando Martinez, Tyler Mauro, Nicholas McDonald, Marina Moore, Cynthia San Luis, Charline Su, Ottavio Taddei, Joshua Thomas, and J.C. Wallace.

Oct. 11 & 18 at 3:30 pm
Oct. 19 & 20 at 2:00 pm
Plummer Park
7377 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046

Playbox Theatre Joins Santa Monica Playhouse for Hands Across the Sea Festival

Playbox TheatreSanta Monica Playhouse will host its annual Hands Across the Sea FREE Festival of Theatre October 26-30, featuring Playbox Theatre, its sister theatre company from the U.K., which will include a number of shows for children and adults.

In honor of Shakespeare’s 450 birthday this year, the festival will feature four theatrical events inspired by the Bard: a clown’s staging of The Comedy of Errors; Shakespeare’s Wronged Women, a powerful rant based on the female personas throughout Shakespeare’s plays; MustardSeed’s Magical Mayhem, an interactive riff on A Midsummer Night’s Dream for children (and their grown-ups!); and Youth’s a Stuff Will Not Endure, a community-involved city-wide character parade, bringing audience members of many generations together in the life-affirming, community-building magic of a live multi-national theatre experience. Playbox Theatre, the Playhouse’s sister company, will perform October 26 – 30, 2014.  More

Los Angeles Drama Club’s Mid-City Night’s Dream

LADC Gala 2014

Los Angeles Drama Club’s Annual Gala will celebrate Shakespeare in the City in the heart of Los Angeles’ Mid-City on November 9, 2014. Guests will experience LADC’s young Players (ages 7-16) performing Shakespeare opposite a select group of distinguished and celebrated actors. Encounter Shakespeare’s favorite characters, in a magical setting, tucked behind an ivy-covered wall in a dynamic neighborhood in our beautiful city. Here’s the rundown.

3:00: Doors Open  – “Good Company, Good Wine, Good Welcome …”

3:30: The Show –  featuring Company Members and Guest Artists, including Khandi Alexander, Ed Asner, Keith David, John Michael Higgins, Amy Hill, Alex Kingston, Yara Martinez, Laraine Newman, Mel Rodriguez, and Dylan Walsh.

5:00 The Feast – “Eight Wild Boars Roasted Whole.” Food, Drinks, and Joyful Noises with many surprises in store.

Location: Studio 11, 4621 W. Washington Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90016
Click Here for tickets and more information.

Shakespeare & Company Announces Fall Los Angeles Weekend Intensive

Shakespeare & Company’s Dennis Krausnick will be back in LA for an S&C Weekend Intensive October 24-26. The Weekend Intensive is a chance for actors to experience and be introduced to Shakespeare & Company’s training in a twenty-hour program designed to fit into a busy schedule. Friday evening provides an introduction to their methods and aesthetic, and a discussion of the course the weekend will take. Saturday and Sunday morning you’ll integrate Linklater voice work, movement exercises, and an exploration of actors’ personal connection to Shakespeare’s text. Sunday afternoon is given over to a wrap-up detailing the next steps actors can take in their involvement with Shakespeare & Company.

The workshop is also a great way for alumni to reconnect with the work. Actors can often get in over their heads with day-to-day business, and a weekend devoted to text, movement, and breath can be rejuvenating and energizing.  More

Come See Jeff McLane in Wit of Will at the SCTE Conference

Wit of Will

Teachers: Are you looking for an educational show that makes Shakespeare accessible to your students? Wit of Will has announced that it will be previewing its latest show – a thrilling, spilling and laugh riot version of Hamlet – to teachers and educators in the Los Angeles area at the 2014 Southland Council of Teachers of English fall conference. Wit of Will is an educational one-man touring production that is a terrific resource for educators and departments looking to introduce their students to the world of William Shakespeare. The main show runs approximately 20 minutes, and presents Shakespeare in a hilarious, fun, and enjoyable way, making it accessible to everyone, even grade school students.  More

The Old Globe Celebrates its 80th Year in 2015 with Shakespeare Onstage and in Film

Rebecca TaichmanThe Old Globe will celebrate its 80th Anniversary as part of the Balboa Park Centennial Celebration with a 2015 Summer Season featuring Shakespeare onstage and in film.

2014 Tony Award winner for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and former Old Globe Shakespeare Festival artistic director Darko Tresnjak returns to direct the musical classic Kiss Me, Kate, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, book by Sam and Bella Spewack, and choreography by Peggy Hickey, in association with Hartford Stage.

Director Rebecca Taichman (pictured), whose time-traveling Time and the Conways fascinated audiences last April, is back to direct Shakespeare’s delightful and romantic Twelfth Night. Six-time Tony Award nominee Scott Ellis, who has three shows on Broadway this season, will make his Old Globe directorial debut with Shakespeare’s hilarious The Comedy of ErrorsMore

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