Romeo & Juliet: Pokéman Go! with The Actors’ Gang

Romeo and Juliet Pokeman Go

The Actors’ Gang invites you to its 10th Annual Free Shakespeare-in-the-Park for families, Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 am. Bring your picnic, bring the kids, and come on down to Media Park in Culver City for a great time with Romeo & Juliet: Pokémon Go! Parking is free for the first hour in the Ince Lot (above Trader Joe’s) and $1/30 minutes thereafter.


The Tragedy of JFK (as told by Wm. Shakespeare)… What?!

Blank Theatre - Tragedy of JFK

Now here’s an original. The Blank Theatre is producing the world premiere of The Tragedy of JKF (as told by Wm. Shakespeare) beginning September 24 at the Skylight Theatre in Los Feliz. You heard that right. I can’t wait.

The production is conceived, adapted, and directed by The Blank’s founding artistic director Daniel Henning, who, I’m sorry to say, I did not know was a recognized expert on the JFK assassination. He has lectured at colleges and spent countless hours on talk radio at stations such as KABC, WABC, KFI, KPFK, WMAL, and others discussing the subject.

The Tragedy of JFK (as told by Wm. Shakespeare) is the story of the conspiracy to assassinate the 35th President of the United States and its aftermath using Shakespearian text to imagine what might have happened surrounding one of the most shocking events in American history. Fall theatre in L.A. has just gotten interesting.

THE TRAGEDY OF JFK (as told by Wm. Shakespeare)
September 24 – November 6, 2016 (Opening night is October 1 at 8pm)
The Blank Theatre at Skylight Theatre
1816 1/2 N. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Tickets: (323) 661-9827 or
Performance schedule: Friday at 8:30pm, Saturday at 8pm, and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are available now.

The Porters Present Year of the King Staged Readings

The Porters of Hellsgate are continuing their “Year of the King” 10th anniversary season with a series of staged readings highlighting three of Shakespeare’s kings at the Whitmore Theatre in North Hollywood. Each play is directed by and stars a company member who has played the role previously.

Last weekend, the series kicked off with Associate Artistic Director Thomas Bigley directing Richard II. This Saturday, August 6, Artistic Director Charles Pasternak returns to Los Angeles to direct Henry V, and on August 13, Associate Artistic Director Gus Krieger concludes the series directing Richard III.

Tickets are “pay what you can” and there will be a reception in the theater following each reading. Seating is limited so reserve now.

Year of the King - The PortersHENRY V
August 6, 2016
Ticket Link

August 13, 2016
Ticket Link

The Porters of Hellsgate @
The Whitmore Theatre
11006 Magnolia Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91602

The Great Los Angeles Air Raid of 1942 sets the stage for SCLA’s Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night - SCLA

Fred Sanders (Feste), Stephen Caffrey (Sir Toby Belch), and Chris Rivera (Sir Andrew Aguecheek). Photo credit: Michael Lamont

For the last 30 years The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles has been captivating audiences with its award-winning performances. Now, SCLA’s professional company returns with a new production of Twelfth Night, beginning July 29, hosted at Santa Monica College.

Twelfth Night is directed by former Royal Shakespeare Company member, Kenn Sabberton, and takes its inspiration from the real life events of the “Great Los Angeles Air Raid of 1942” and alien-invasion hysteria. It also features original music by composer and cast member Fred Sanders who plays Feste.

In 1942, bright lights in the skies of L.A. could only mean one of two things: a Pearl Harbor-style attack by Japan or an alien invasion. The Great Los Angeles Air Raid, as it has become known, provides the perfect SoCal backdrop for this gender-bending comedy, which tracks the misadventures of shipwrecked twins Viola and Sebastian. A delightful play full of unrequited love, mistaken identity, love triangles, and lies, it contains some of Shakespeare’s wittiest wordplay.

The cast stars Therese Barbato (Viola), Chris Butler (Orsino), Tracey A. Leigh (Olivia), Kimberly Scott (Maria), Stephen Caffrey (Sir Toby Belch), Time Winters (Malvolio), Connor Kelly-Eiding (Sebastian), Fred Sanders (Feste), Christopher Rivera (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), Sheldon Donenberg (Antionio), and Dustin Staff (Valentine).

Production team also includes Ben Donenberg (SCLA Artistic Director), and SMC designers Lacey Anzelc (scenic design), Leigh Allen (lighting design), Kristie Mattsson (costume design), and Kirk Graves (prop master).

Director Kenn Sabberton has been an actor, director and teacher for over thirty years. Prior to training he was the youngest ever Artistic Director of the Enfield Youth Theatre and was invited to work with the renowned National Youth Theatre. He trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and received a B.A. in Theatre Studies. After many years working in London, Kenn was invited to join the Royal Shakespeare Company. He later worked with London’s Royal National Theatre, the Aquila Theatre Company, and as an associate artist teacher with NYU Center for Ancient Studies, studying, lecturing and researching Shakespeare. Twelfth Night is Kenn’s fourth production with SCLA. Previous shows include As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo and Juliet).

July 29 – August 21, 2016
The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles and Santa Monica College
Santa Monica College Main Stage on the Quad
1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405
Wed – Sat at 8pm, Sun at 2pm
Tickets: 213-481-2273 or
$40 for General Admission, $70 for VIP Seats plus a box, picnic meal provided by Thyme Cafe. Student tickets are $20 and FREE for Veterans.

New Swan Shakespeare Festival Presents Two Shakespeare Classics

New Swan - As You Like It

New Swan Shakespeare Festival’s As You Like It. Photos by Paul Kennedy

New Swan Shakespeare Festival’s 5th season is currently featuring two Shakespearean classics, As You Like It and Hamlet, in its mini-Elizabethan theater on the campus of UC Irvine. Since the festival debuted in 2012 the two-play season has grown to include a Music Monday series featuring diverse performances such as “Shakespeare’s Fool” featuring Jason Freddy’s trio, the all-female Mariachi Las Colibrí II, and Mozart Mondays, as well as a seminar series that takes place an hour before curtain.

Eli Simon, New Swan’s artistic director, helms As You Like It, Shakespeare’s beloved comedy of love and disguise, exile and companionship. Simon sets the show in the Depression Era, with original folk music written by Alan Terricciano, and performed by the actors, for an intimate evening of love, fantasy, and companionship…as you like it.

New Swan - Hamlet

New Swan Shakespeare Festival’s Hamlet

Returning for her fourth season with the festival to direct Hamlet is Beth Lopes, associate artistic director of New Swan Shakespeare Festival. At its heart, Hamlet is a ghost story. While most of us push away the shadow of mortality, Hamlet embraces it in the form of his father’s ghost. This ghost is present throughout this production, driving the action forward and forcing his son to grapple with outrageous circumstances.

Lopes says, “We all carry ghosts with us – ghosts which comfort and ghosts which burden – and we can’t always choose which ones we will encounter. Luckily for Hamlet, and for the audience, his father’s ghost appears to us all, and we travel on this journey together as the boy becomes a man … and then a ghost story of his own. This visceral, fast-paced production is perfectly suited for the vulnerable intimacy of the New Swan Theater.”

Please note that, due to the theater configuration, there is no late seating for the performances. For tickets and more information, visit

The Tempest Closes ISC’s Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival


Independent Shakespeare Co. follows its dynamic rock ‘n roll production of Richard III in Griffith Park with Shakespeare’s The Tempest, beginning July 30. Thom Rivera will star as Prospero and the show is directed by Matthew Earnest, former assistant director to Adrian Hall and to Lee Breuer at Mabou Mines

Magic, first love, and the forces of revenge intersect on a mysterious island in The Tempest. Prospero has spent 12 years on an island in exile with his daughter, Miranda, all the while plotting to punish his duplicitous brother using sorcery. But when the opportunity presents itself, he learns that magic doesn’t make the man, the world is stranger than it appears, and that perhaps the past is only history.

This is the first time internationally recognized Matthew Earnest will join ISC as a director. Earnest is celebrated for his stylish, innovative approach to re-imagining classic works. He says, “Prospero is the creator of what is essentially a large-scale immersive theater event. Our anachronistic approach to the design renders Time meaningless in the story of a family split apart and trying to reconcile, except, of course, for the painful fact that years lost from ‘our little life’ can never be regained. Our production’s sculpted, choreographic style centers the landscape of the play on the human body, its miracles and its limitations, and it places the evening’s conversation squarely where it belongs, on the ‘bare, forked thing itself’ – mankind, in his unavoidable, immediate present.”

ISC Managing Director David Melville adds, “The Tempest is Shakespeare’s final play; he was very conscious of his own approaching mortality and his retirement from the stage. The Globe was his little island where he led the narrative and created all these fantastic characters, so when Prospero breaks his staff, it’s akin to Shakespeare putting away his quill. The play is a great choice for the festival because, alongside A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare explores the realm of magic and spirits. It’s a family-friendly play with many fantastical elements, great clowns and a wonderful romantic story. Shakespeare explores the idea of family (he often used the relationship of a father and daughter) and he reaches an apotheosis where the father and daughter are stranded on a desert island. Ultimately it’s a play about forgiveness, one of the most powerful things to experience in life and on stage. It’s a moving story that’s very uplifting.”

In addition to Thom Rivera in the role of Prospero, the cast includes Joseph Culliton (Alonso), William Elsman (Sebastian), Lorenzo González (Trinculo), Faqir Hassan (Antonio), Rudy Márquez (Boatswain), David Melville (Stephano), Sean Pritchett (Caliban), Lester Purry (Gonazlo), Evan Lewis Smith (Ferdinand), Erika Soto (Miranda), and Kalean Ung (Ariel), with Patrick Batiste, April Fritz, Jack Lancaster, Tatiana Louder, Nathan Nonhoff, and Stephany Pesta as Sailors, Passengers & Spirits.

Season production design is by Caitlin Lainoff. Season lighting design is by Bosco Flanagan. Costume design is by William Bezek. Composer and sound design is by Chris Porter.

A pre-show Salon Series discussion led by the director will take place on Sunday, July 31 at 6pm.

July 30 – September 4, 2016
Independent Shakespeare Co.
Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival
Old Zoo, Griffith Park (near 4730 Crystal Spring Dr.)
Performance schedule: Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat & Sun at 7pm
More info: or call 818-710-6306

Children’s Theatre of Long Beach Presents Free Shakespeare in Bixby Park

LB Childrens Midsummer

Children’s Theatre of Long Beach will present a 90-minute performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Bixby Park at the Bandshell Stage, July 22-24. The family-friendly show is produced in partnership with Friends of Bixby Park and offers free admission and an audience participation pre-show. Bring your low-back chars, blankets and a picnic dinner to enjoy in the park and get ready for a fun, physical production full of laughs. It’s a great way to introduce the whole family to Shakespeare!

July 22, 23 & 24, 2016
Children’s Theatre of Long Beach
Bixby Park (at the Bandshell Stage)
130 Cherry Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802
More info:

T.U. Studios Presents a Rock ‘n Roll Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado

A new production of Much Ado About Nothing featuring a rock ‘n roll score will open at T.U. Studios beginning July 30. Shakespeare’s comedy of love, and the hilarity that ensues when two of his most loved characters, Beatrice and Benedick, engage in a sparring match of words. It was revolutionary for its patriarchal time period for featuring a heroine with a sharp tongue and sparkling wit. This pair would later become the prototype for characters portrayed in 20th Century film comedies by actors like Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.

Gloria Gifford directs a large cast that includes Tracey Ali, Hayley Ambriz, George Benedict, Raven Bowens, Jeff Hamasaki Brown, Billy Budinich, Marlin Chan, Leana Chavez, Heather Compton, Yvette DeVito, Sonia Diaz, Chad Doreck, Justine Estrada, Joshua Farmer, Joe Filippone, Lindy Fujimoto, Dylan George, Keturah Hamilton, Chris Jones, Abigail Kochunas, Christian Maltez, Sam Mansour, Tahlia McCollum, Alex Miller, Maya Moore, Kelly Musslewhite, Benito Pajr, Nakta Pahlevan, Kasia Pilewicz, Lauren Plaxco, Antonio Roccucci, Cynthia San Luis, Deidra Shanell, Danny Siegel, Tejah Signori, Samiyah Swann, Justin Truesdale, Nancy Vivar, Keith Walker, Lucy Walsh, Jade Warner, Teagan Wilson and Sabrina Won.

July 30 – September 18, 2016
T.U. Studios
10943 Camarillo Ave., North Hollywood, CA 91602.
Limited free parking behind the theater
Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7:30 pm.
Tickets and Info: (310) 366-5505 or

Kingsmen’s Upcoming MIDSUMMER has Special Meaning for Director Brett Elliott

Midsummer - Kingsmen

L-R: Pallavi Srinivasan (Peaseblossom), Marc Silver (Bottom) and Nawal Bengholam i(Titania). Photo by Brian Stethem/Cal Lutheran.

It was a moment of art becoming life for Kingsmen Shakespeare Company’s associate artistic director, Brett Elliott, when he played Lysander in the festival’s revival of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2006. That was the year he proposed to his wife, Jane, onstage while she played opposite him in the role of Hermia.

To make it even more romantic (get ready to swoon ladies) Elliott used only Shakespeare’s text, and neither he nor Jane stopped the scene or broke character. He did add a single prop – a real diamond ring.

For this production, opening July 15, the roles of Lysander and Hermia will be played by Cal Lutheran alumnus Seta Wainiqolo, a graduate student at Yale School of Drama, and Angela Gulner, a graduate of the American Repertory Theater Institute at Harvard University. Gulner played Viola two years ago in the company’s production of Twelfth Night and was last seen as the French princess, Katherine, in Henry V.

Elliott sets the play in a world reminiscent of the British Raj in India at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution because he has long been struck by several references to the Indian subcontinent in the play. He says the setting is “a place where the logic and technology of the West rubs against the art and spirit of the East, where the ancient mingles with the modern, where love crosses all boundaries, and where all who enter the forest emerge changed.” Resident composer Christopher Hoag has created an orchestral score with a Hindustani Classical influence for the play.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream follows the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors, the mechanicals, who are all controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. It was also the first play performed by Kingsmen Shakespeare Company for its festival in 1997.

In addition to Wainiqolo and Gulner, the cast will also feature returning Kingsmen veterans Andy Babinski as Philostrate, Michael Faulkner as Theseus, Ross Hellwig as Demetrius, Robert Nairn as Starveling, Jason D. Rennie as Puck, Marc Silver as Bottom and John Slade as Quince. Company newcomer Nawal Bengholam will play Titania. Ty Mayberry follows his title role in Henry V by playing Oberon. In another real life coincidence, Mayberry’s two young sons, Lucas and Leo, will make their stage debut as Changelings.

July 15 – 31, 2016 (8pm)
Kingsmen Park on the Thousand Oaks campus of California Lutheran University
Festival grounds open at 5:30 pm for picnicking and entertainment.
General admission is $20 for adults and free for children under 18. Individual tickets are available at the door only. For lawn box reservations, visit or call 805-493-3452. The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company is the professional theater company of Cal Lutheran.

Review: Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival – The Experience/Richard III

Richard III - ISC

David Melville as Richard III. Photo by Reynaldo Macias

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

How many different ways are there to say how much Angelenos love the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival? Thousands. Ask anyone who’s ever parked themselves on a blanket or lawn chair with their family and friends and you’ll get as many different answers as there are people in the audience.

Some come for the ambience, others to see quality theatre performances at an affordable price (free, but donations are always encouraged). Some simply want to enjoy the sense of community the event fosters, and still others are there to learn, to converse, or to challenge themselves with something new.

Regardless, few would argue that sitting out under the stars listening to Shakespeare’s words is a singularly perfect Los Angeles summer tradition. In case you need more convincing, I’ll give you my Top 5 Reasons to go.  More

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