Michael Shaw Fisher’s Skullduggery to open Sacred Fools’ 2016-17 Season


Shakespeare’s words, “To thine own self be true” could easily be the tag line to Sacred Fools Theater Company’s upcoming 20th anniversary season. This bunch of fools will embark on a journey to do what they do best in 2016-17 and, according to co-artistic director Alicia Conway Rock, “reflect upon and celebrate what we call ‘Foolish’ — a spirit of irreverence and ingenuity underscored with energy and optimism that has been with us since the founding days of our company.”

To kick off that worthy endeavor is Skullduggery: The Musical Prequel to Hamlet, a collaboration between the Fools and writer/composer, Michael Shaw Fisher. Those familiar with Fisher’s previous works like Shakespeare’s Last Night Out, Exorcistic: The Rock Musical Parody Experiment, The Werewolves of Hollywood Blvd. and other Hollywood Fringe Festival hits know the kind of wit and invention he brings to the table.

If you’ve ever wondered what might have happened between Hamlet Sr., Gertrude, and Claudius, Fisher’s angle will unpack the story of their love triangle, song by song, in an unlikely journey from innocent youth to the “most foul” murder in the canon.

As for the music in this twisted tale, musical director Michael Teoli describes it as a rock musical “but it’s less hard-hitting rock and more eclectic. Think Tom Waits meets Stephen Sondheim meets David Lynch.” Teoli is also doing the arrangements for the show and says the instrumentation includes marimba, two guitars, Teoli on bass, and percussion (like cahone and bongos). It sounds pretty fabulous and, dare I say, even a bit spooky.

The show stars John Bobek as Claudius, David Haverty as Hamlet, Sr., and Leigh Wulff as Gertrude. Scott Leggett, whose performance as Fatty Arbuckle in Sacred Fools’ Stoneface was one for the book, directs. You’ve also seen his directorial work in Neverwhere; Beaverquest! The Musical; and Forbidden Zone: Live in the 6th Dimension, so be prepared.

Artwork for the season, including the Skullduggery image above, is by fine art painter Gabe Leonard, another long-time friend of the company. For a complete look at Sacred Fools’ upcoming season, go to www.sacredfools.org.

September 23 – November 5, 2016 (Opening night 9/30)
Sacred Fools Theater Company
1076 Lillian Way
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Fri-Sat at 8pm. Sundays at 3pm beginning Oct. 16
Tickets and More Info: www.sacredfools.org


Shakespeare at the Fringe: Taming of the Show Goes Caveman

Taming of the ShowLittle Candle Productions brings its world premiere of the new musical Taming of the Show by Blake Waker to this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. The 55-minute farce takes the audience through the outlandish and hysterical rehearsal process of a dysfunctional production of Shrew set in caveman times. It will run June 5 – 25 in the Sacred Fools Theatre’s Black Box.

A line has been drawn in the sand betwixt actors and crewmembers. Never the twain shall meet. And yet… Eddie Littlejeans, the assistant stage manager of a dysfunctional production of Taming of the Shrew dares to harbor a flame for the leading lady. Can love find a way backstage? In what might be considered Noises Off! meets Misery (with singing and dancing!) the show within a show goes terribly wrong, while Taming of the Show gets it just right.

The cast includes Jeff DeCrosta (Eddie), Chineze Enekwechi (Annie), Marc Forget (Montana Stanislavski), Greg Steinbrecher (Brayden), Steve Peterson (Hillary), Paula Deming (Betty), and Anthony Papastrat (Ronald Jeremy). Musical direction is by Billy Gill and the show is produced by Karissa McKinney and Lynn Downey Braswell.

June 5 – 25, 2016
Little Candle Productions at Sacred Fools Theatre: Black Box
6322 Santa Monica Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90038.
Tickets: $12 ($10 with Hollywood Fringe Festival Button)

Shakespeare’s Last Night Out Returns September 11 to Three Clubs Lounge

Shakespeare's Last Night Out

After conquering the Hollywood Fringe Festival yet again, Michael Shaw Fisher returns with his award-winning solo musical, Shakespeare’s Last Night Out. On the night before his death, William Shakespeare goes out for a drink (or more) and reflects on his hardscrabble origins, his eventual success, his stormy marriage, his children, the loss of his son, his extramarital temptations, his plays, his predictions of challenges to the authorship of his works.
And this Shakespeare sings.

Directed by Jeff Sumner and starring Michael Shaw Fisher, this is an extension of the show that won Top of Fringe and Best Solo Performance at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival from Fisher’s Orgasmico Theatre Company. Previous productions by Fisher include Doomsday Cabaret, Exorcistic, and Barking Pig, all of which won Hollywood Fringe Festival Awards in the years during which they were produced. Musical accompaniment is by Gordon Wimpress and Allison Sulock.

Get thee to the club. That is all.

Shakespeare’s Last Night Out (or What? YOU, Will??)
September 11 – November 1, 2015
Orgasmico Theatre Company
Three Clubs Lounge, 1123 N. Vine St., Los Angeles, CA 90038.
Tickets: (800) 838-3006 ext. 1 or Click Here
5 pm performances are suitable for all ages. All other performances are for 21 and over (because Three Clubs is a bar).

The Geffen gets a new Billie Joe Armstrong Shakespeare Musical!

These Paper BulletsGeffen Playhouse opens its 20th anniversary season with the west coast premiere of These Paper Bullets! A Modish Ripoff of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, September 8 – October 18. Written by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Emmy Award nominated writer Rolin Jones (Friday Night Lights, Boardwalk Empire) with songs by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and staged by Jackson Gay, These Paper Bullets! was commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre where it premiered in 2014.

Meet the Quartos. Ben, Claude, Balth, and Pedro. Their fans worship them. Scotland Yard fears them. And their former drummer will stop at nothing to destroy them. Can these fab four from Liverpool find true love in London and cut an album in seven nights?

The cast features James Barry (Pedro), Kate Blumberg (Paulina, Frida), Damon Daunno (Claude), Chris Geary (Anton), Mr. Crumpet, Queen & Others), Brad Heberlee (Mr. Urges), Justin Kirk (Ben), Tony Manna (Mr. Cake), Rod McLachlan (Boris), Kiera Naughton (Ulcie), Adam O’Byrne (Don Best), Lucas Papaelias (Balth), Nicole Parker (Beatrice), Greg Stuhr (Mr. Berry), Ariana Venturi (Higgy), Nick Ullett as (Leo).

These Paper Bullets! is a co-production with Atlantic Theater Company in New York and will be performed there following the Geffen Playhouse engagement. The two theatre companies last teamed-up in 2009 for the Atlantic Theater Company production of Farragut North starring Dan Bittner, Mia Barron, Justin Huen, Chris Noth, Chris Pine, Olivia Thirlby and Isiah Whitlock, Jr.

The Geffen will also host over a dozen pre-show and post-show Signature Series events during the show’s run. These include TGIF at the Geffen, Talk Back Tuesdays (Audience Q+A with artists), Lounge Fridays, Girls Night Out, and Wine Down Sundays. Many of them include refreshments, music and other festive elements. These events are complimentary as part of your ticket price, thanks to the support of Geffen Playhouse partners and sponsors. Click Here for Signature Series dates and more information.

Sept. 8 – Oct. 18, 2015 (opening night 9/16)
Gil Cates Theater at Geffen Playhouse
10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tickets: (310) 208-5454 or www.geffenplayhouse.com

Shakespeare Meets Benatar in ROMEO & JULIET: Love is a Battlefield

Romeo & Juliet: Love is a BattlefieldROCKWELL Table and Stage announces the world premiere of an unbeatable couple, William Shakespeare and Pat Benatar, in the rock spectacle Romeo & Juliet: Love is a Battlefield, produced by Kate Pazakis, with musical direction by Brad Hooks, choreography by Chris Downey and written & directed by Bradley Bredeweg and Kelley Parker.

Mixing the brilliance of Shakespeare with the anthemic, epic and timeless songs of Pat Benatar, this modern day musical twist on the beloved tale of two lovers will both move you to tears and make you want to move your feet to such classics as “We Belong,” “Heartbreaker,” “Invincible” and the title song. The cast will feature Rustin Cole Sailors as Romeo, Ashley Argota as Juliet, Jeffrey Todd as Tybalt, Joey Bybee as Mercutio, Jordan Kai Burnett as Benvolia, Jameson Moss as Friar, Nicci Claspell as the Nurse, Andrew Pirozzi as Paris, Peter Vogt as Father Capulet, Julie Garnye as Mother Montague and Anne Letscher.

Previews begin on Valentine’s Day, Feb.14 (also 2/20 & 27) at 8:00 pm with a prix fixe dinner included. The show will open on Friday, Feb. 27 and run through March 28.

February 14 – March 28, 2015
ROCKWELL Table and Stage
1714 N. Vermont in Los Feliz
Reservations/Tickets: (323) 669-1550 x 20
or www.rockwell-la.com

Happy Holidays from Shakespeare in LA

Shakespeare in LA will be on holiday hiatus until December 15.
Here’s wishing you a safe and restful holiday season.

Inara George in Concert with Music Inspired by Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Inara George 2014Inara George presents A Concert Tribute to William Shakespeare, on Saturday, Oct. 18, 6:00 pm at Theatricum Botanicum. The acclaimed singer/songwriter, a homegrown Topangan, shares the stage with an exciting musical lineup of guest artists. In honor of Theatricum’s ongoing celebration of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, original musical compositions inspired by his sonnets will be performed. Tickets are $35.00; no charge for children 5 and under. Call (310) 455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com. Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 N Topanga Cyn Blvd. Topanga, CA 90290.

UnMasqued Puts Bluegrass Twist on Much Ado About Nothing

UnMasqued, a young nomadic theatre company of artists, puts a musical twist on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing playing now through August 2nd at the Pieter Performance Art Space. The conceit follows The Arragons, a nationally acclaimed traveling band of bluegrass/folk musicians, returning from their year-long tour to the place that started it all, The Messina.

Here they present the story of their time together as a band on tour – the struggle, the love and betrayal, and a witty battle of the sexes – all events that have become the inspiration for the band’s new album, Much Ado About Nothing. For a few special performances at their favorite venue, The Arragons will give a sneak peak of their new songs and an inside look into the lives of the artists.  More

The Old Globe Opens 2013-14 Season with Musical Adaptation of Romeo and Juliet

Jeff BuckleyThe Old Globe will open its 2013-14 Season with The Last Goodbye, a new musical that marries Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and the incendiary songs of the legendary singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley. Conceived and adapted by Michael Kimmel, the rock musical is directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson). Choreography is by Sonya Tayeh (“So You Think You Can Dance”), and orchestrations, music direction and arrangements are by Kris Kukul. The complete creative team and cast will be announced at a later date.

The Last Goodbye will run September 20 – November 3, 2013, with opening night set for Sunday, October 6. Tickets are currently available by subscription only and can be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org or by calling (619) 23-GLOBE.

The Last Goodbye is a remarkable fusion of the classic and the modern, melding Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, in its original text and period, with some of the most thrilling rock music of the past 20 years, staged with limitless invention by one of the true theatrical visionaries at work today. More

Get Your Shakespeare Dance Card Ready for these Productions in 2013

Top picks for 2013. Keep in mind that not all of the usual suspects have announced their seasons so I’ll have more info to come, but for now, here’s a look at some Southern California Shakespeare productions not to miss.

Kicking off the New Year with the first Shakespeare production of 2013 will be The Porters of Hellsgate presenting King Lear, opening January 4 at studio/stage in Hollywood. The Porters are an ambitious young company, and with Larry Cedar in the title role, their production of Lear promises to be one not to miss. Thomas Bigley directs. www.portersofhellsgate.com

The Chicago-based Improvised Shakespeare Company will make an appearance in Southern California at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center at Cal State Long Beach on March 9. ISC is a crazy bunch of actors who turn Shakespeare upside down by creating a completely improvised play in Elizabethan style all from an audience suggestion. They put on one of the funniest performances you’ll ever see; this is your chance to catch them here in our area, complete with star-crossed lovers, sword fights, Shakespearean insults and maddening mayhem. http://www.carpenterarts.org/2012-2013/the-improvised-shakespeare-company.html

Two of Shakespeare’s plays get the musical treatment in 2013 and both feature a reinvention of their respective plays. At South Coast Rep it’s The Verona Project, a hip, modern interpretation of Two Gentlemen of Verona that features a rock band called The Verona Project to tell the story. It originated at Cal Shakes in Northern California and is written and directed by Amanda Dehnert. [Note: this production has been cancelled]

The other is The Troubadour Theatre Company’s A Midsummer Saturday Night’s Fever Dream which will play in Toluca Lake at the Falcon Theatre May 31 – July 7 and at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts July 12 – 14. Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the 70’s disco classic Saturday Night Fever will be blended up and served Troubie style, complete with fairy wings, tights and white disco suits in this updated version of the Troubie favorite. www.falcontheatre.com

Thousands of Angelenos look forward to Independent Shakespeare Co.’s Free Shakespeare Festival in Griffith Park each year and the 2013 summer season looks to be the best yet. Last year’s absolutely charming benefit performance of As You Like It, starring Melissa Chalsma as Rosalind, will have a full run this summer, along with Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, and Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer. If you’ve never been to the festival, make this the year you see what the buzz is all about. My lawn chair and picnic basket are ready and waiting. www.iscla.org

Topanga Canyon also has its own popular outdoor theatre among the stars, The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum; a favorite of locals since the early 1950s. The company’s summer will kick off in June with The Taming of the Shrew and though no casting has been announced, it’s fun to speculate who will be sparring onstage as Kate and Petruchio. www.theatricum.com

In San Diego, The Old Globe’s Summer Shakespeare Festival finds Miles Anderson returning as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice (June 9 – Sept. 28). If you saw him as Prospero in The Tempest, you’ll know why his Shylock is high on my list of plays to see in 2013. Adrian Noble directs. The Old Globe’s season also features A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. www.theoldglobe.org

You’ll have to wait until Fall to see RII, but Boston Court’s adaptation of Richard II, conceived and directed by Jessica Kubzansky, will hit the stage beginning September 5. It features three actors and is billed as a theatrical, raw, stripped down take on the ultimate identity crisis. It’s an exciting concept and one that is sure to be a high point of the Shakespeare season. www.bostoncourt.com/events/163/r-ii

And if you want to get your Shakespeare fix in the comfort of your own living room, don’t miss the new PBS series, Shakespeare Uncovered, which will air Fridays, January 25 – February 8. Hosts include Ethan Hawke, Jeremy Irons, Derek Jacobi, Trevor Nunn, Joely Richardson and David Tennant. The episodes feature interviews with actors, directors and scholars, along with visits to key locations, clips from some of the most celebrated film and television adaptations, and illustrative excerpts from the plays specially staged for the series at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. Episode 1: Macbeth with Ethan Hawke. www.pbs.org

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