What Happens When You Combine the LA Phil, Shakespeare and Tchaikovsky?

Gustavo Dudamel
Updated: The Los Angeles Philharmonic has an exciting concert coming up at Walt Disney Concert Hall featuring a unique program specifically for you music-loving Shakespeare enthusiasts. It’s Shakespeare Fantasy, a special concert presentation that is part of the LA Phil’s  TCHAIKOVSKYFEST on Wed. Feb 26th, with conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. The program will include music inspired by Tchaikovsky’s love for Shakespeare, including his Hamlet Fantasy Overture, The Tempest Fantasy Overture, and Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture.

Here’s the best part. The performance will also feature Orlando Bloom, Joe Morton and Condola Rashad presenting key scenes from Shakespeare’s plays before each piece. Bloom and Rashad recently played the title characters in Romeo and Juliet on Broadway, and reprise their roles here for one night only. The all-star cast is directed by Kate Burton, Tony-nominated stage and screen actress and daughter of the late Richard Burton.

This really is a one-of-a-kind event as Dudamel and the LA Phil celebrate the English playwright whom Tchaikovsky adored; so much so that the composer once thought of learning English just to read the plays in their original language.

You can also join renowned music scholar Joseph Horowitz at 7:00 pm for a FREE Upbeat Live pre-concert talk that will provide historical and cultural context for the concert.

SHAKESPEARE FANTASY
Wed. February 26, 2014 - 8:00 pm
Walt Disney Concert Hall
111 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tickets: www.LAPhil.com/Shakespeare

HAMLET Coming to Arena Cinema in Hollywood

Hamlet filmBreaking Glass Pictures offers a new look at Hamlet beginning January 17 at Arena Cinema in Hollywood. The 88-minute film is adapted and directed by Bruce Ramsay and has been nominated for four Leo Awards (British Columbia).

Treachery, sex, murder, betrayal and revenge – the hallmarks of Shakespeare’s classic drama are still there, as director Bruce Ramsay adapts the story for a 21st Century audience, relocating the action to post WWII London and making the female characters (Gertrude and Ophelia) considerably more assertive.

Filmed entirely in Vancouver, B.C. with sumptuous production values that belie the film’s tiny budget ($27,000), the screenplay is faithful to Shakespeare’s text in most regards. Says Ramsey, “My intent with Hamlet was to make it as fresh, and accessible as possible. By eliminating everything that happens outside of Elsinore and shedding any characters that are not a part of, or in direct service to, the royal family, Hamlet the play, becomes Hamlet the classic cinematic genre, the family drama. The loss of a parental figure, the power vacuum that it creates, the self- reflection demanded by the lead character’s contemplation of his own mortality, all these themes are central to the piece, and very familiar in modern cinematic storytelling.”

The film stars Ramsay as Hamlet, Stephen Lobo (Horatio), Lara Gilchrist (Ophelia), Peter Wingfield (Claudius), Gillian Barber (Gertrude), Duncan Fraser (Polonius), and Haig Sutherland (Laertes), with production design by Paul Joyval and music by Schaun Tozer.

HAMLET
January 17 – 23, 2014
Arena Cinema
1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood, CA 90028
Discounted parking is available with validation in lots adjacent to the theatre and across the street. Showtimes: Fri. at 6:05 pm, Sat. at 4:30 and 6:05, Sun. at 3:30 & 5:00, Mon.-Thurs. at 6:10 pm. Admission: $12.
For tickets, visit http://arenascreen.com

Gordon Goodman, John Barrymore, and William Shakespeare Convene Onstage

GPTC - Barrymore, Goodman

Gordon Goodman as John Barrymore.

In 1963, Orson Welles was asked who the best Hamlet he’d ever seen was and he responded without hesitation, “Barrymore…he was a man of genius…” A legendary star of stage and screen, John Barrymore stretched beyond what even he might have thought himself capable of with his portrayals of Hamlet and Richard III. He was larger than life, charismatic, and charming like a rogue. But with fame came complications that included four failed marriages, a troubled mind, and a lifelong relationship with the bottle, in his endless search for love.  More

The Acting Company Brings Hamlet to Northridge’s Valley PAC

Hamlet-Valley PACTo paraphrase the Bard (poorly), “Something is rockin’ in the state of California!” That “thing” is a unique, three-generation collaboration that brings professional actors, college students and high school drama classes together in a week-long Shakespeare immersion that culminates in a professional performance of Hamlet by the world famous Acting Company, at California State University Northridge’s Valley Performing Arts Center.

Public performance will take place at 8:00 PM on October 4 and 5 and there will be two special performances for local high school students at 10:00 AM on October 2 and 3.  More

Review: L.A. Women’s Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet is a Passionate Affair

Hamlet - Lisa Wolpe

Kimberleigh Aarn and Lisa Wolpe. Photos by Enci Box

You will not find a more impassioned version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet than the one Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company is currently offering at the Odyssey Theatre. And with the very real possibility that this may be the company’s final work comes the necessity of experiencing what these dedicated professionals have created while under the influence of Shakespeare’s words.

I had the good fortune to see Lisa Wolpe, who returns to Hamlet in the title role, when she played Richard III at Cal Poly Pomona in 2011. She is an actor who disappears into whatever character she portrays so completely that you forget the most obvious fact – she is a woman playing a man – and instead simply see the journey of a person. For Richard it was his calculated ascent to power; for Hamlet it is the unraveling of his mind in the quest for revenge.  More

Lisa Wolpe’s Rehearsal Process is a Study in “To thine own self be true”

Lisa Wolpe as Hamlet2

Photo by Kevin Sprague

Since 1993, the award-winning Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company (LAWSC) has carved out a unique niche in the landscape of L.A. theater. Led by Producing Artistic Director, Lisa Wolpe (pictured right), it examines contemporary issues and cultural perceptions of women through an all-female theatrical lens. In many ways it mirrors the original all-male playing company for whom Shakespeare wrote, at a time when women were not allowed to perform on stage.

LAWSC once again enters the larger conversation within which it resides with its upcoming production of Hamlet at the Odyssey Theatre. It is an eagerly anticipated event, and an undertaking that offers unlimited new avenues for truth in the exploration of Shakespeare’s masterpiece. I was interested in how this company of artists approaches a play, and although Wolpe was already deep in rehearsals, she graciously offered her thoughts about their work. I hope you’ll find them as compelling as I did.  More

L.A. Women’s Shakespeare Company Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Hamlet

Hamlet LAWSC

An all-female, multi-cultural aesthetic offers new insight when the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company co-present Hamlet beginning August 30. The production seeks to evoke a politically dynamic, sexually provocative and spiritually awakened frame of reference and will feature a cast of 16 LAWSC favorites and talented newcomers, including producing artistic director Lisa Wolpe in the title role.

“This will be a richly appointed, classical production that mines the depth of Hamlet’s mystery,” says Wolpe, who co-directs with longtime colleague Natsuko Ohama. “Hamlet thinks with a philosopher’s mind, hoping to find a virtuous, authentic path through a dangerous world of murderous monarchs. When the ghost of Hamlet’s father appears to urge him to avenge his death and kill his incestuous, usurping uncle Claudius, a terrifying supernatural world looms larger than ever as six souls die violently and depart to eternal unrest.”   More

Kingsmen Shakespeare Company Closes Summer Season with Hamlet

Hamlet Kingsmen

Ty Mayberry as Hamlet and Ted Barton as Claudius

Twelve years after playing Hamlet on the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival stage, Brett Elliott is bringing the Bard’s famous tragedy back as director.

Hamlet will conclude the 17th annual season at California Lutheran University with performances at 8:00 pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays July 19 – August 4 in scenic Kingsmen Park. The festival grounds open at 5:30 pm for picnicking and pre-show entertainment begins at 6:15 p.m.

Hamlet is the story of a young Danish prince who seeks to avenge the death of his father in a court filled with manipulation and deceit. Set in 1601, the year it was written, the Kingsmen production highlights Hamlet’s internal, spiritual struggle as he confronts his terrifying destiny. Featuring Elliott’s characteristic fight choreography, the briskly paced but thoughtful traditional rendering is designed to offer plenty of fodder for sophisticated fans while remaining an accessible and engaging introduction for young people and newcomers.  More

Review: O Fallen One, A Captivating Devised Exploration of Ophelia

O Fallen One

Chris Hull as Henry/Hamlet and Megan Ruble as Lia/Ophelia

O, Fallen One is the initial concept workshop of a devised play that combines stylized scenes with fragmented language, movement, dance, and other devices to create a unique artistic experience. The more theatrical sequences are interspersed with traditional dialogue scenes that tell the story of a modern day Ophelia (Megan Ruble) who, as in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is dumped by a boyfriend (Chris Hull), goes into a depression, and takes to the water to drown.

In this original piece, she’s a high school girl named Lia who lands in the gym’s pool, but rather than descend to a muddy death like her predecessor, she’s pulled from the water and committed to a psych ward for further evaluation. There, a patronizing nurse (Amanda Carson), a concerned teacher (Samantha Kellie), and an emphatic but ineffective doctor (Galen Sato), struggle to help Ophelia while confronting their own shortcomings.  More

A Hamlet Mashup Like You’ve Never Seen Before

Thanks to the folks at Kingsmen Shakespeare Company for the heads up about this outstanding Hamlet mashup. It’s long but worth a viewing. Enjoy!

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