Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is gearing up for another summer of performances under the California oaks and summer skies of Topanga. This season, the company sets out to explore who we are as Americans with the theme ‘Americana’ which will include a mix of American plays, Shakespeare performed with an American twist, toe-tapping Americana roots and folk music, buffet dinners in the gardens and more – making Theatricum a unique destination spot for locals and visitors alike.
Shakespeare offerings will include As You Like It, re-set in the Reconstruction-era South with live music of the period, and Theatricum’s signature production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, back by popular demand for the ninth year. Also on the season are To Kill A Mockingbird, Christopher Sergel’s stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel; August: Osage County, Tracy Letts’ biting portrait of the dysfunctional American family at its finest, and absolute worst; and Green Grow the Lilacs, by Lynn Riggs, the play that inspired Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma
The season kicks off on Saturday, June 6 with a matinee performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Melora Marshall (pictured left as Titania in the 2014 production of Midsummer) and Willow Geer. The most magical outdoor setting in Los Angeles is once again transformed into an enchanted forest, inhabited by lovers both fairy and human. Shakespeare conjures a world of wonder, magic and romance where comical misunderstandings and the pain of unrequited love are resolved, and all is reconciled through midsummer night revelries and the enduring power of nature.
Audiences are invited back the very next afternoon, on Sunday, June 7, for the opening of As You Like It. Director Ellen Geer moves the tale of two sets of brothers – one alienated by ambition, the other estranged by envy – to the divided South of the post-Civil War era, adding traditional American folk music and dance. Rosalind is forced to flee to the forest when her uncle, usurper of his brother’s estate, threatens to have her killed. Accompanied by her cousin Celia, Rosalind disguises herself as a man for safety’s sake. The disguise comes in handy when she tests the devotion of her noble admirer, Orlando – who is also on the run, from his hostile older brother.
Additional season performances include:
March 28: A Re-PETE Celebration 2015: The Songs and Spirit of Pete Seeger
May 10: Momentum Place, modern dance, aerial acts, juggling and performance art curated by Lexi Pearl
Aug 7-8: A Walton Weekend, with alumni from the TV series The Waltons
July 4: Family Barn Dance & Bar-B-Que with special guest Evo Bluestein
Oct 3: Inara George and Friends
Plus, Under the Oaks, four evenings of poetry, music and performance; comedy improv with Theatricum’s in-house troupe Off The Grid; Family Fundays; Botanicum Seedlings’ free readings of new plays; and Theme Dinner Buffets in the idyllic Theatricum gardens.
For the full schedule of theater, music and family entertainment, tickets, subscriptions, group discounts and questions, call (310) 455-3723 or go to www.theatricum.com. Subscribe before Shakespeare’s birthday (April 23) for additional savings.
Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga, midway between Pacific Coast Highway and the Ventura (101) Freeway.