Southern California Shakespeare Companies Celebrate the Holidays

Get ready for a healthy dose of holiday cheer from your favorite Los Angeles Shakespeare companies! Here are a few of the ways you can celebrate with your favorites this Christmas season.

TB Old fashioned xmas

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum’s will hold an Olde Fashioned Yuletide Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 6:00 pm. Festivities include carol singing, sweet and savory goodies, silent auction, holiday libations, an artisan gift shop, a visit from Father Christmas, the story of “St George and the Dragon,” and a reading of Leo Tolstoy’s holiday story “What We Live By” by special guest Amy Madigan. All proceeds benefit educational programming at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum. The event will take place at Topanga Mountain Mermaid (Parking at Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. with shuttle service to the venue). Tickets are $200 and all proceeds benefit Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum. A portion of the ticket is tax-deductible. Call (310) 455-3723 for tickets or visit www.theatricum.com.

A Christmas Carol With Charles Dickens - ISCOver in Atwater Village in the ISC Studio, Independent Shakespeare Co. recreates (with a little artistic license) the experience of a public reading of A Christmas Carol With Charles Dickens given by Dickens himself. Based on the novelist’s own adaptation, it is performed by ISC co-founder David Melville as Charles Dickens, playing nearly every character in the story with musical accompaniment and dramatic interjections by a young American actress, Miss Aks. Expect a performance full of the acting pyrotechnics Dickens was famous for, holiday music, wry humor, and redemption.Performances are Dec. 6, 13 & 20. Tickets: www.iscla.org. There will also be one performance of A Christmas Carol With Charles Dickens across town at the Geffen Playhouse on Monday, Dec. 1 at 7:00 pm. Click Here for tickets.

ANW Christmas carolA Noise Within continues their family holiday tradition with Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Dec. 5 – 23. Directed by Geoff Elliott (who adapted the play from the novella) and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, the production also features evocative original music by Ego Plum. The cast includes Geoff Elliott as Scrooge, with Freddy Douglas, Stephen Rockwell, Rafael Goldstein, Jill Hill, Mitchell Edmonds, Deborah Strang, Alan Blumenfeld, Alison Elliott, Georgia Miller, Jack Elliott, Marie Sullivan, Ikenna Ogbogu, Chiza Ogbogo, and Seven Pierce-English. Tickets: (626) 356-3100 or www.anoisewithin.org. There will also be a Pay What You Will performance on Wednesday, Dec. 17.

“Remounting our acclaimed presentation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol allows families to once again take a supremely theatrical journey, and celebrate the transformative power of forgiveness during the holidays,” says Elliott. Rodriguez-Elliott adds, “Ebenezer Scrooge’s rebirth from miserly curmudgeon to the epitome of love and generosity affirms our faith in the potent goodness of human kind during this beloved time of year.”

Long Beach Shakespeare - Christmas CarolLong Beach Shakespeare Company will present Orson Welles’ radio adaptation of A Christmas Carol on Dec 19, 20 & 21. Mike Austin returns as Scrooge in LBSC’s annual presentation of the 1939 radio adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The live web-cast features sound effects and music performed by the actors. Also for the holidays the company will offer The Plot to Overthrow Christmas, a fully-costumed, staged version of the original 1938 radio play by Norman Corwin. Featuring colorful characters such as Mephistopheles (the Devil), Lucrezia Borgia, Caligula, Ivan the Terrible, Simon Legree and Nero, and other fiends in Hades, it concerns a plot to murder Santa Claus and destroy Christmas forever. Nov. 28 – Dec. 14. For tickets and more information visit www.lbshakespeare.org.

And for regular Shakespearean fare, two companies will offer productions of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night this December:

City Shakespeare Company, December 5 – 20 at their performance space located at 1454 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401. www.CityShakes.org

Los Angeles Drama Club, December 6 – 14 at the Lyric Theatre, 520 N. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036. www.losangelesdramaclub.com

Further south:

Every Christmas StoryShakespeare in the Vines will present Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some) by Michael Carleton, John K. Alvarez, and Jim FitzGerald, Dec. 4 – 13 performed inside Carol’s Restaurant at Baily Vineyard and Winery in Temecula. Three actors decide that instead of doing Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol again, they’ll perform every Christmas story ever told. They take holiday cheer to the extreme with a fast and furious look at the holiday classics and traditions we all know and love. No holiday icon is spared in this tour de farce of hilarious holiday merriment, from Tiny Tim, Frosty, and Rudolph to the Grinch and It’s a Wonderful Life.

Seating begins at 5:30 pm for dinner (Friday and Saturday night performances only); 6:00 pm for show only. Dining reservations must be made through Carol’s Restaurant by calling (951) 676-9243. On the menu: Winter Salad of baby mixed greens, sliced pears, candied walnuts, blue cheese and citrus vinaigrette, slow roasted boneless short rib, horseradish mashed potatoes, winter vegetable medley, pumpkin cake with Riesling caramel sauce and whipped cream, and your choice of a 2012 Montage or 2010 Sangiovese wine.

Burke MosesAnd at The Old Globe, everyone’s favorite green meanie will return for his 17th consecutive year in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the heartwarming musical based on the classic book and animated film. James Vásquez returns to direct this beloved San Diego holiday tradition which will run Nov. 15 – Dec. 27. Burke Moses makes his Old Globe debut as The Grinch with Taylor Coleman and Gabriella Dimmick alternating in the role of Cindy-Lou and Steve Gunderson returning as Old Max. Tickets: (619) 23-GLOBE or www.TheOldGlobe.org.

Celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday!

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

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. www.lbshakespeare.org

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

Long Beach Shakespeare Company Plans a Month-long Shakespeare Celebration

LBSC logo

Long Beach Shakespeare Company kicks off Shakespeare’s birthday month beginning this weekend with the return of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged). The three lewd, but lovely, ladies from last year’s production are back, bawdier and more hilarious than ever, with new gags, stunts, costumes and set design. March 28 – April 6. Tickets are $10. (Not suitable for young children.)

On April 11 and 12, LBSC presents Fractured Shakespeare, a one-man play in which Mark Twain discusses his ideas on who wrote Shakespeare’s plays, adapted from Twain’s “Is Shakespeare Dead.” No matter which side of the authorship question you’re on, this is a humorous and thought-provoking presentation, starring LBSC’s Man of a Thousand Voices, Carl Wawrina.

A staged reading of Richard Armour’s Twisted Tales from Shakespeare will take place on April 25 and 26. Born in San Pedro in 1906, Richard Armour attended Pomona College and then Harvard University. He studied with the eminent Shakespearean scholar George Lyman Kittredge, and obtained a Ph.D. in English philology. Twisted Tales From Shakespeare is a series of short pieces, filled with puns and plays on words, given in lecture style, providing a comic overview of some of the Bard’s best-known plays. The evening will especially comfort those who have been forced to sit through dull classes in Shakespeare in high school or college.

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AS YOU LIKE IT Now Playing at Long Beach Shakespeare Company

As You Like It LB Shakes

If you love the Adventures of Robin Hood, then you’ll love Shakespeare’s As You Like It. The magical Forest of Arden hides a banished group of heroes, damsels in distress and in disguise, and rollicking romance and comedy. You’ll hear some of Shakespeare’s most often quoted lines and meet some of his best-loved characters in this fast-paced, light-hearted tale that promises fun for the whole family. Presented now through June 29 (Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 2:00 pm) by the Long Beach Shakespeare Company in the Richard Goad Theatre, 4250 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90807 in Bixby Knolls. General Admission tickets are $20, Students $10. For more information and to purchase tickets visit http://lbshakespeare.org/.

Long Beach Shakespeare Company’s Romeo & Juliet

Jacob Ochsner as Benvolio and Nathan Dean Snyder as Romeo in Long Beach Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet

An unexpected jewel shines quietly in the background of Long Beach Shakespeare Company’s Romeo & Juliet. He is young Jacob Ochsner, who plays Romeo’s cousin Benvolio, a role that may not have as much stage time as the title characters, nor contain the passionate verbal exchanges of the nephews of the houses of Capulet and Montague, but allows for an actor to remain focused on his own contrasting point of view. Though Benvolio’s efforts are ultimately unsuccessful, he remains constant in his attempts to keep the peace, and Ochsner understands his role.  More

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