Theatricum Botanicum Announces 2016 Summer Season

Theatricum 2016 seasonIn 2016 we celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and, in Topanga Canyon, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum will feature three of Shakespeare’s classics as part of its upcoming summer season. Romeo and Juliet, Titus Andronicus, and the company’s signature production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will join Tom, a world premiere adaptation with music and The Imaginary Invalid for another spectacular season outdoor under the oaks.

Here is the complete season which has been chosen to shine a light on current social issues both timely and significant in this important election year. The company will examine:

The Middle East through the lens of Shakespeare:
The repertory season kicks off on June 4 with Romeo and Juliet, set in East Jerusalem. Director Ellen Geer elucidates the continued relevance of this 421-year-old play, setting Shakespeare’s tale of forbidden love and warring families in a city beset by age-old prejudices, street violence and religious differences. 

Human Rights through the eyes of Harriet Beecher Stowe:
June 18 sees the opening of TOM, a world premiere adaptation with music, written and directed by Ellen Geer, that brings a fresh perspective to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Long before Black Lives Matter became part of our lexicon, Stowe’s great novel demanded freedom and equality for all, changing forever how Americans viewed slavery, galvanizing the abolition movement and contributing to the outbreak of the Civil War.

The Health Care Crisis via the satirical pen of Molière:
Opening July 9, Mary Jo DuPrey (last season’s August: Osage County) directs Constance Congdon’s fresh and hilarious adaptation of The Imaginary Invalid, Molière’s skewering of the health care profession from an entirely different century. Plagued by a growing pile of medical bills, Madame Argan (Ellen Geer), a chronic hypochondriac, will go to any length to marry her daughter off to a doctor. Of course, her daughter has other ideas. This potent elixir of romantic triangles, double entendres and mistaken identities proves, in the end, that laughter really is the best medicine. Also starring Alan Blumenfeld as Dr. Purgeon.

Government Run Amok à la Shakespeare:
Beginning July 30, Titus Andronicus, directed by Ellen Geer, joins the season repertoire. How should a nation choose its leaders? What happens when a government insulates itself from the citizens it once served? What is the difference between justice and revenge? Theatricum sets Shakespeare’s first tragedy, the violent tale of a government gone awry, in the future, to spark a flame of caution… but always with a flicker of hope.

The season also includes the return of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a beloved company staple that heralds the arrival of summer in Topanga. Once again, the most magical outdoor setting in Los Angeles is transformed into an enchanted forest, inhabited by lovers both fairy and human. Director Melora Marshall conjures up Shakespeare’s world of wonder, magic and romance. Comical misunderstandings and the pain of unrequited love are resolved, and all is reconciled through midsummer night revelries and the enduring power of nature.

On Saturday, June 25, actor Beau Bridges will be joined by his son, Zeke, for a special reception and presentation at the Mountain Mermaid in Topanga, where the pair will read from Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun. All proceeds from this special fundraising event will benefit Theatricum’s artistic and educational programming.

Additional special performances throughout the summer include Momentum Place, full of modern dance, aerial acts, juggling and performance art curated by Lexi Pearl, Theatricum’s second annual Family Barn Dance and Bar-B-Que, The Woody Guthrie Story, a concert by Inara George and Friends, and Alsop for Adults, an evening of delightfully funny political songs by singer/songwriter Peter Alsop.

Theatricum’s Under the Oaks series will feature four evenings of music and performance in the intimate S. Mark Taper Foundation Pavilion; comedy improv with Theatricum’s in-house troupe Off The Grid; Family Fundays, offering interactive children’s theater from Creative PlayGround and music from Peter Alsop’s Kids Koncerts; Botanicum Seedlings: A Development Series for Playwrights presenting free readings of new plays; Theme Dinner Buffets in the idyllic Theatricum gardens; and Theatricum’s annual Halloween celebration, which sees the bucolic Botanicum transformed into a haunted ‘BOO-tanicum.’

For tickets and more information, call 310-455-3723 or go to Subscribe before Shakespeare’s birthday (April 23) for additional savings.


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  1. Trackback: Theatricum Botanicum Announces 2016 Summer Season | The Shakespeare Standard

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