Shad Willingham and Cynthia Beckert to Star in Antony and Cleopatra

Kingsmen - Antony and Cleopatra

Shad Willingham and Cynthia Beckert

The Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival will feature Antony and Cleopatra for the first time during its 18th annual season. Shakespeare’s classic historical tragedy will be performed Saturdays and Sundays July 18 – August 3 in scenic Kingsmen Park at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. The festival grounds open at 5:30 pm for picnicking and pre-show entertainment begins at 6:25 pm.

The play focuses on the great love story of the Egyptian queen Cleopatra and the Roman general Marc Antony. The Kingsmen production, under the direction of award-winning director and actor John Slade of Ojai, is set in the fascist world of the 1930s amid the clash of cultures and a treacherous world of shifting alliances.  More


Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival Sets Twelfth Night in the Vaudeville Era

Kingsmen - Twelfth Night 2 Elyse Mirto (Olivia) & Jerry Lloyd (Malvolio). Photo credit: Brian Stethem/CLU

Another Twelfth Night is coming to the southland this summer when Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival opens its 18th season on June 27. KSF’s Twelfth Night will be set in the vaudeville era and is directed by CLU alumnus Kevin P. Kern. Shakespeare’s classic comedy runs through July 13 in Kingsmen Park at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

Twelfth Night depicts a world out of kilter with disguises and wacky slapstick moments. Scenes are set in a speakeasy with Feste, played by Reduced Shakespeare Company member Michael Faulkner, as a singing vaudeville comedian. Original music composed by Christopher Hoag adds to the period feel. Shad Willingham, a theater faculty member at CSUN will play Orsino and Elyse Mirto (Gertrude from last summer’s Hamlet), will play Olivia.  More

Aaron Anthony Bonilla to Lead Kingsmen’s Summer Theatre Camp

Kingsmen summer camp
After serving as assistant director and helping to develop a new curriculum last summer, Aaron Anthony Bonilla will lead the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company’s 2014 Summer Theatre Camp. Bonilla also designed a new teacher development program for the apprentices who teach in the camp and previously served as lead teacher. A graduate of the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts, he has spent 13 years devoted to theater production, performance and education.

Co-presented by California Lutheran University, the camp provides opportunities for children to learn theater techniques and try them out on stage while developing self-awareness, confidence and discipline. Everyone is cast in a final presentation for family and friends. Students in the Shakespeare camps will perform shortened versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream or The Comedy of Errors. Here are the summer classes available:  More

Audition Update: Specific Roles in Twelfth Night and Hamlet

Two Southern California theatre companies are still looking for actors for several roles in their summer Shakespeare seasons:

Kingsmen Shakespeare Company is looking for a classically trained actor with significant Shakespeare experience to play Sebastian in Twelfth Night directed by Kevin Kern. Rehearsals begin June 3 and will take place weekday nights and weekend days in Thousand Oaks. The production runs Friday – Sunday nights, June 27 – August 3. Pay Rate is $375/week (for AEA members). Guaranteed $200 minimum stipend (for non-union performer). Character description: Male, Caucasian, 20s. Must be 5’1” to 5’5” Big-hearted, sincere, with a wide romantic streak, but when we meet him, he is grief-stricken and lost in a strange land. For more information and to submit electronically, go to

Shakespeare by the Sea is still seeking 3 non-Equity actors (NEW SUBMISSIONS ONLY) for several roles in its summer production of Hamlet directed by Patrick Vest. Rehearsals begin April 26 at Little Fish Theatre, 777 Centre Street San Pedro. Performances begin June 12 in San Pedro and will alternate between different parks throughout Southern California through August 16. Two shows in rep (Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream) alternate rehearsals and performances on evenings and weekends. Interview date is April 12 and rehearsals begin April 27. The pay rate has been revised and is now a $100 rehearsal stipend and $15 per performance.

Roles they are seeking include Claudius: 40’s-60’s, calculating yet charismatic King of Denmark who gained his crown by murdering his brother; Gertrude: Female, 40’s-60’s Hamlet’s mother, married her dead husband’s brother. A queen in every way, but also a mother in every way. She doesn’t understand what has happened to her world; Polonius: Male, 40’s-50’s, the Lord Chamberlain, father of Hamlet’s love Ophelia, and right hand man to Claudius. Seen as a bumbling man by members of the court, he is a charming and a consummate politician. For more information and to submit electronically, go to

Kingsmen Shakespeare Company Benefit Dinner

KSC benefit
Kingsmen Shakespeare Company invites you to a special outdoor benefit dinner on Sunday, June 8th at Kingsmen Park. The exclusive event will feature a sneak peek at the rehearsal process and a scene from the upcoming production of Twelfth Night, a stage combat experience, and much more. During the reception hour, you can bid on one of their many “Baskets for the Bard” in the silent auction, and view costume renderings and stage models. Then enjoy a sit-down dinner during the evening’s program.

KSC will also present the 2nd Annual Lord Strange Award to Susan Streeter at the event. Similar to Shakespeare’s first patron namesake, Lord Strange, Susan was one of the earliest patrons of the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company. She has served as business manager, patron, volunteer, Honorary Board Member, and regular Festival attendee. She and her late husband and KSC Board President Jarvis, have hosted numerous Kingsmen events and have always led the charge when volunteers were needed.

Tickets are $75 per person and limited seating is available. Summer casual attire is suggested, along with a light jacket or wrap for after sundown. Sunday, June 8, 2014, 4:00 – 7:00 pm at Kingsmen Park – seating around the stage. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to

Audition Update: Kingsmen Shakespeare, Idaho and Lake Tahoe

The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company will hold EPA auditions for its summer Shakespeare Festival on March 22 from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm at California Lutheran University, Woodland Hills Center, 5925 De Soto Avenue, Thousand Oaks, CA 91367. Parking is available in the front lot. They are seeking classically trained actors with significant experience in the performance of Shakespeare for their repertory season which includes Twelfth Night and Antony and Cleopatra. Prepare two contrasting Shakespeare monologues, or one Shakespeare monologue, total time not to exceed 3 minutes. Time permitting, some actors may be asked to sing a few bars of a ballad a cappella. Rehearsals and performances will take place in Thousand Oaks, CA (60 West Olsen Road). For more information go to or

Idaho Shakespeare Festival will hold EPA Los Angeles auditions on March 12 & 13 at Dance Arts Academy, 731 South La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Attending will be Charlie Fee who is the Producing Artistic Director of Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, so actors will be considered for both companies. Season includes As You Like It, Merry Wives of Windsor, Deathtrap, Les Miserables and Steel Magnolias. They are seeking actors with experience in classical repertory, especially Shakespeare. Actors may be cast in 1-4 shows. Prepare one Shakespeare monologue, no more than 2 minutes. Performers of all ethnic and racial backgrounds are encouraged to attend. Please go to for complete audition details as one date is for dramatic auditions only and the other is for both musical and dramatic.

Shakespeare Spotlight: What to See in 2014

SIt’s Shakespeare for the masses in 2014 as we celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth! In Southern California you’ll find more productions and events than ever so mark your calendar now for a big year ahead.

L.A. Theatre Works kicks off its 2014 radio theatre series with The Comedy of Errors starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Hamish Linklater, and Emily Bergl. Ferguson and Linklater delighted audiences last summer as Shakespeare’s Antipholus and Dromio twins in The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production in New York. See the hilarity in person January 30 – February 2 when The Comedy of Errors is performed and recorded at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater for broadcast on public radio nationwide.

The Porters of Hellsgate begin their eighth season with Henry V, previewing on Valentine’s Day at The Whitmore in North Hollywood. Artistic director, Charles Pasternak, will direct and play the title role, one he received rave reviews for last summer at Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Leon Russom also returns to The Porters following up his role as Gloucester in King Lear with one of Shakespeare’s most famous narrators of all. I can hear “O for a Muse of fire…” now.  More

CLU Presents As You Like It during All About Arts Week

Kaitlin Ruby, Kevlyn Holmes and Matthew Case. Photo credit: Erik Diaz/CLU

Kaitlin Ruby (Rosalind) Kevlyn Holmes (Celia) and Matthew Case Orlando). Photo credit: Erik Diaz/CLU

California Lutheran University will present Shakespeare’s As You Like It November 7 – 17 on the Thousand Oaks campus. Performances will take place at 8:00 pm in the Black Box Studio Theatre as part of CLU’s All About the Arts Week. Director Brett Elliott (associate artistic director of The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company), sets Shakespeare’s famous comedy in the early Gilded Age America – an era that has many contemporary parallels.

Similar to today, Victorians witnessed an expanding chasm between the ultra-wealthy robber barons and the struggling middle and lower classes, with all the social and political tensions that follow. They were becoming increasingly aware of the environmental havoc that industrialization was inflicting on the natural world. And they often found themselves bewildered at the breakneck pace with which technology was reshaping their society and world.  More

Kingsmen Shakespeare Company Closes Summer Season with Hamlet

Hamlet Kingsmen

Ty Mayberry as Hamlet and Ted Barton as Claudius

Twelve years after playing Hamlet on the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival stage, Brett Elliott is bringing the Bard’s famous tragedy back as director.

Hamlet will conclude the 17th annual season at California Lutheran University with performances at 8:00 pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays July 19 – August 4 in scenic Kingsmen Park. The festival grounds open at 5:30 pm for picnicking and pre-show entertainment begins at 6:15 p.m.

Hamlet is the story of a young Danish prince who seeks to avenge the death of his father in a court filled with manipulation and deceit. Set in 1601, the year it was written, the Kingsmen production highlights Hamlet’s internal, spiritual struggle as he confronts his terrifying destiny. Featuring Elliott’s characteristic fight choreography, the briskly paced but thoughtful traditional rendering is designed to offer plenty of fodder for sophisticated fans while remaining an accessible and engaging introduction for young people and newcomers.  More

Review: Kingsmen Shakespeare Company’s The Tempest

A short drive up the 101 to Thousand Oaks, and located on the campus of Cal Lutheran University, you’ll find the summer home of Kingsmen Shakespeare Company. For 17 years the professional theatre group has been presenting Shakespeare’s classic plays outdoors in a lovely corner of the grounds, bordered by grand old trees and a creek that runs behind the stage.

Affordable ticket prices, easy parking adjacent to Kingsmen Park, and the promise of a magical night under the stars brings loyal audience members back year after year and entices first-timers to join in the fun. I was one of the first-timers this past week, as the Kingsmen opened their season with Shakespeare’s redemptive comedy, The Tempest.

In it, the exiled Duke Prospero (Harold Dixon) uses his magical powers to create a storm that will bring those who wronged him many years earlier to his island in order to make things right. It is a play full of the supernatural and one that stands apart from Shakespeare’s other works in its very theatrical nature. Instead of pleasing the audience with intricate plot developments or complicated historical chronicles, it gives over to a world of magic and visual pageantry that director Michael J. Arndt expresses in some imaginative ways.  More

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