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


Culver City Public Theatre Gets Ready for As You Like It

As You Like It - CCPT
Culver City Public Theatre returns to Carlson Park this summer with its 18th season of free performances. The all-volunteer company is many children’s first experience with live theatre, establishing an appreciation for the arts that stays with them throughout their growth. It also brings people of all ages and budgets together to experience and enjoy live theatre in a beautiful outdoor setting. This year, Carlson Park will become the Forest of Arden, the backdrop for Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy, As You Like It, directed by Benjamin Rathbun.

The season runs for six weekends, July 16 – August 21, with all performances beginning at 2pm. At noon, the company presents a one-hour play for children; this year an original written by CCPT member Eric Billitzer entitled Frog Tails. Parking is free (with a special note to park on the park side, not the residential side). Seating is on the grass, first come first served. You can bring blankets or lawn chairs and the park is wheelchair-friendly.

These community performances are supported in part by a Culver City Performing Arts Grant with support from Sony Pictures Entertainment, and by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

If you’re an actor and would like to audition for CCPT’s production of As You Like It, prepare a 1-2 minute Shakespearean or classical monologue and bring a headshot & resume to their auditions tomorrow, May 21 (11am-2pm) or Wednesday, May 25 (7-10 pm). Location: Veterans Memorial Complex , 4117 Overland Ave, (at Culver Blvd.) Follow the signs to basement Rooms 2 & 3. More info on their Facebook page HERE.

Culver City Public Theatre is also looking for a stage manager and costumer for As You Like. There are stipends available for both positions. For more information, contact Laura Boccaletti at And for more about the company, visit

As You Like It Gets Sexy at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group

As You Like It - Zombie Joe's

Director Denise Devin is back with a rollicking, romantic, and sexy romp through the magical Forest of Arden, beginning May 20 at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group. Shakespeare’s comedy follows the adventures of banished heroine Rosalind as she flees to the forest – dressed as a man, looking for true love, and her father…while fending-off the amorous advances of a shepherdess. Show runs Fridays at 8:30 pm and Sundays at 7:00 pm through June 19. (This production is for ages 13 and up.)

ZJU Theatre Group
4850 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Tickets: $15
Reservations: 818-202-4120
Advance tickets at
More info:

SCSF Presents Re-imagined Version of Shakespeare’s As You Like It

As You LIke It

Director Stephanie Courtney puts a fresh spin on Shakespeare’s As You Like It for the Southern California Shakespeare Festival beginning September 8. French Court now becomes a private estate and the Forest of Arden a desert that surrounds it, where sibling rivalry boils over into treachery. Those banished by jealous relatives to the treacherous wasteland must discover a new way of life, explore new identities, and find the freedom to pursue love and a utopian existence among the quirky and charming native inhabitants of a strange and wonderful landscape.

The cast includes Natalie Roy Wilson as Rosalind, Sam Robinson as Jacques, Marissa Pitts as Celia, Andrew Wilson as Touchstone, and Linda Bisesti as Adam, with students and alumni from the Department of Theatre and New Dance at Cal Poly Pomona completing the ensemble.

Festival personnel also includes: Linda Bisesti (festival artistic director), Gaby Robles (set design and costume design), Clayton Fournival (lighting design), Gerard Marquez (sound design), Jackie Gill (properties), Kristy Priest (stage manager), and Joanna Lopez & Bianca Leanos (assistant stage managers). Marie Maslowski is the festival production manager and box office coordinator along with Spencer Saccoman/assistant festival production manager for SCSF.

Stephanie Courtney is a graduate of the prestigious Trinity Rep program with an M.F.A in Directing, and a B.A. in Theatre from CSULB. She is currently Producer/Artistic Director at Fortune’s Fool Productions in Dublin, Ireland and teaches at PCPA.

September 8 – October 9, 2016
Cal Poly Pomona, Studio Theatre
3801 W. Temple Ave., Building 25, Pomona, CA 91768
A gala reception follows the Saturday, September 24th performance.
Tickets go on sale June 3: (909) 869-3987 or 909-869-3900, or online at
For more information:

Special added performances will take place Saturday Sept. 10 at 7pm. and Sunday Sept. 11 at 2pm at The School of Arts and Enterprise, 295 N. Garey Ave., Pomona, CA 91767. Tickets are available at, and Friday, Sept. 16 & 17 at 7pm at the Mayfield Senior School, 500 Bellefontaine Street, Pasadena, CA 91105.

Colonials’ As You Like It Opens April 28

As You Like It opens at Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica on April 28 and will run through May 15. Tickets are $20 – $1- for students and seniors. (Now that’s a deal) For more information go to

As you like it Colonials


Arena Cinema Presents Free Shakespeare Film Series

bbcshakespeareposter_240_356_81_s_c1Mark your calendars now: Arena Cinema Hollywood is commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death by presenting a Free Shakespeare film series. While the films are free, you must still make a reservation online at or by calling (323) 306-0676. The Shakespeare series runs April 22 – 28 at Arena Cinema Hollywood, 1625 N. Las Palmas Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028. Here’s what’s on the docket:

As You Like It
Sat. April 23 at 4:00 and Tues. April 26 at 5:30
This U.S. premiere is directed by Michael Elliott and Ronald Eyre and stars Vanessa Redgrave, Patrick Allen, Ian Richardson, Patsy Byrne, Max Adrian and Patrick Wymark. BBC Worldwide North America. B&W, 1963 U.K., 135 minutes.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Sunday, April 24 at 7:40; Thurs. April 28 at 5:30
Also a U.S. premiere, it is directed by James Cellan Jones and produced by Cedric Messina, starring Lynn Redgrave, Eileen Atkins, Michael Gambon, Edward Fox, Eleanor Bron, Robert Stephens and Ronnie Barker. Set in Edwardian England and filmed in and around Scotney Castle in Kent. BBC Worldwide North America. Color, 1971, U.K., 120 minutes.

King Lear
Sun. April 24 at 5:00; Mon. April 25 at 7:10
Directed and adapted by Richard Eyre, this National Theater production is done in a sparse modernistic style and stars Ian Holm, Victoria Hamilton, Amanda Redman, Barbara Flynn, Timothy West and Paul Rhys. BBC Worldwide North America. Color, 1998, U.K./U.S.A., 150 minutes.

The Taming of the Shrew
Sat. Apr. 23 at 9:55 p.m.; Tues. April 26 at 7:50
Directed by David Richards, adapted by Sally Wainwright and produced by Diederick Santer starring Shirley Henderson, Rufus Sewell, Santiago Cabrera, Twiggy Lawson, Jaime Murray and David Mitchell. In this sexy update, Kate is a Member of Parliament who marries up in order to advance her goal of becoming a party leader. BBC Worldwide North America. Color, 2005, U.K., 90 minutes.

Chimes at Midnight
Fri. Apr. 22 at 6:30; Sat. Apr. 23 at 6:20; Wed. April 27 at 7:10; Thurs. April 28 at 7:35
Directed by Orson Welles. Adapted by Welles from Henry IV, Part One; Henry IV, Part Two; and Henry V and The Holinshed Chronicles. Produced by Harry Saltzman, Emiliano Piedra and Angel Escolano. Starring Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Keith Baxter, John Gielgud, Margaret Rutherford and Marina Vlady. Orson Welles as Falstaff in one of Welles’ finest achievements. Janus Films. B&W, 1967, France/Spain/Switzerland, 113 minutes.

Sun. Apr. 24 at 3:30; Mon. Apr. 25 at 5:30. Wed. Apr. 27 at 5:30
Directed and adapted by Bruce Ramsay. Produced by Ramsay, Joseph Gould and John Cassini. Starring Bruce Ramsay, Lara Gilchrist, Peter Wingfield, Gillian Barber, John Cassini and Duncan Fraser. This modern-dress version of the story of the melancholy Danish prince and the intrigues surrounding his family is set in postwar London. Breaking Glass Pictures. Color, 2014, Canada, 88 minutes.

Discounted parking is available with validation at lots adjacent to the venue and across the street.

Shakespeare Orange County Sets As You Like It in Elizabethan England

As You Like ItCelebrating the joy of love, liberty and great wit, Shakespeare Orange County will present Shakespeare’s As You Like It, August 13 – 29. The cast will feature Josh Odsess-Rubin as Rosalind, with Cynthia Aldrich (Phebe), Alex Bodrero (Jacques), Marisa Costa (Celia), Michael Drace Fountain (Duke Senior), John Frederick Jones (Adam), Colin Martin (Orlando), Blake Prentiss (Oliver), A.J. Smitrovich (Duke Frederick) and Tony Torrico (Touchstone).

“With great veteran Shakespearean actors like John-Frederick Jones, this will definitely be a charming and enchanting production,” says SOC producing artistic director John Walcutt. “It will be a lot of fun for all audiences, with great surprises, disguises and cross-dressing antics that have made this play beloved for more than four centuries.”

Director Peter Uribe adds, “We have moved our As You Like It from its setting in France to the time and place it was written. We’re really enhancing the experience of being back in Elizabethan England with Renaissance period entertainment before the show and plenty of rich period costumes onstage.”  More

Review: Theatricum’s Americana-Inspired As You Like It is Full of Homespun Charm


Willow Geer and Colin Simon. Photos by Ian Flanders

Seeing a play where Shakespeare’s unfortunate characters escape the city and seek refuge in the Forest of Arden is even more enjoyable when experienced in the idyllic setting of Theatricum Botanicum’s natural outdoor theater. Every time I go, I am reminded what an oasis it is in a city overwhelmed with urban sprawl.

In keeping with its season’s Americana theme, Theatricum Botanicum has transported Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It to the post-Civil War era, a decision that beautifully enhances the homespun charm of its characters while providing a relevant political context for the play. It also gives director Ellen Geer the opportunity to weave early American spirituals and folk songs into the fabric of the piece. One of the loveliest, “Aura Lee” in three-part harmony, delicately wafts on the afternoon breeze.  More

Shakespeare Orange County Announces Complete Summer Season

Shakespeare Orange County launches Summerfest 2015 on June 13 with a classic radio comedy, followed by productions of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and As You Like It, Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, John Slade’s acclaimed I Sing Walt Whitman, an encore presentation of last season’s sold-out hit Trieu Tran (Unplugged), a new play reading, and a new Friday Night Film Series.

The season officially kicks off June 13 with a Celebrity 1939 Radio Show and Gala. The script, an original from the days of live radio, will be performed by an all-star cast including Rene Auberjonois, John de Lancie, Seamus Deaver, Robert Hays, Kurtwood Smith, Nikki Soohoo, Joe Spano, Tamlyn Tomita, Trieu Tran, JoBeth Williams, and Stephanie Zimbalist.

Romeo and JulietRomeo and Juliet opens July 11 and continues through August 1. Shakespeare’s most famous love story, set against the backdrop of two feuding families, becomes an opportunity to celebrate cultural diversity. Co-directors Walcutt and associate artistic director Mike Peebler have cast Trieu Tran and Nikki Soohoo as the star-crossed lovers.

“While Vietnamese and Mexican cultures will be realistically represented,” Walcutt says, “the play’s friction is based in families, which are already intermingled, and not in ethnic differences. The production reflects that larger message. It is produced in association with VAALA, the Orange County School of the Arts, and Relámpago del Cielo, the 50-year-old folklórico group from Santa Ana. Relámpago will be performing live onstage, for instance at the party Romeo crashes. It will be Juliet’s quinceanera, where the guests join in traditional quinceanera dances. It’s going to be very exciting.”  More

A Post-Civil War America Sets the Stage for Theatricum’s As You Like It

Willow Geer (Rosalind) and Colin Simon (Orlando). Photo credit: Ian Flanders

Willow Geer (Rosalind) and Colin Simon (Orlando).

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum kicks off its 2015 Americana season on Sunday, June 7 with an all-American staging of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, re-set in the divided South of the post-Civil War era and featuring traditional American folk music and dance from that period.

A tale about two sets of brothers — one alienated by ambition, the other estranged by envy — As You Like It is easily transposed to a time when our country was a house divided. Willow Geer stars as Rosalind, forced to flee camp when her uncle Frederick (Thad Geer), usurper of his brother’s position as a general in the Union army, threatens to have her killed. Accompanied by her cousin Celia (Elizabeth Tobias), 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 (Colin Simon), on the run from his hostile older brother (Frank Wiedner). Meanwhile, the rebel camp is alive with music — banjo, guitar, ukulele, mandolin and more. With Rosalind’s wit leading the way, the forces of true love, justice and song eventually triumph.

“Re-setting the play just after the Civil War enlarges the scope,” say director Ellen Geer. “It heightens the point about brothers being pitted against brothers, and takes us to a deeper level.”  More

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