Classical Theatre Lab Presents FREE Staged Reading of Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar classical theatre lab

Up next at Classical Theatre Lab – a FREE staged reading of Julius Caesar

Sunday, September 28 at 2:00 pm

The Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038

For reservations, call (323) 960-5691 or email


CTL Reading Series Sunday: Antony and Cleopatra


Classical Theatre Lab Announces Reading Series

Classical Theatre Lab kicks off its staged reading series with Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra on Sunday, November 18. Readings are free and open to the public and reservations are recommended. Here’s a look at the complete schedule:

Sunday, November 18, 2012 – 7pm
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA by William Shakespeare
Directed by Stuart W. Howard
At The Lounge Theater
6201 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90038

Sunday, December 16, 2012 – 2pm
Directed by Christopher Cappiello
At The Lounge Theatre
6201 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90038

Saturday, January 19, 2013 – 4pm
Directed by Louis Fantasia
At Buena Vista Library
300 N. Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91505

Reservations are encouraged by calling 323-960-5691. For more information about Classical Theatre Lab go to

Something of Silver, a Musical Merchant of Venice

Bruce Katzman as Antonio and Robert Towers as Shylock

Something of Silver, otherwise known as The Merchant of Venice with Music, is Tony Tanner’s latest adaptation for Classical Theatre Lab & the City of West Hollywood’s Free Shakespeare in the Park. The 90-minute musical will play three weeks in the Great Hall Courtyard in Plummer Park before moving to King’s Road Park in August for another three week stint.

It isn’t the first time Tanner has musicalized Shakespeare. He’s also written musical versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing, as well as last summer’s delightful crowd-pleaser, As You Like It the Musical. That production was the first of his adaptations I’d seen and it was immensely enjoyable. The courtyard in Plummer Park is a lovely outdoor setting in which to see a play. Showtime is 5pm (4pm in King’s Road Park) so the hard sun is almost gone but it isn’t yet dark. Plus, sight lines are good because of the intimate nature of the venue.   More

Cast Announced for Something of Silver

Something of Silver, a musical version of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice has announced its cast:

Shylock: Robert Towers
Antonio: Bruce Katzman
Portia: Molly Cookson
Bassanio: Steven Good
Lorenzo: Casey Ford Alexander
Jessica: Amanda Ives
Gratiano: Michael Harrison
Nerissa: Rachele Gueli
Sally: Rachel Sorteberg
Selina: Jean Kaufman
Prince of Morocco & Arragon: Henry Selvitelle
The Duke: Tad Atkinson

The production is adapted and directed by Tony Tanner who has also written original music for the show. Producers are Suzanne Hunt & Zeljka Gortinski. David Kole will music direct and costumes are by Deborah Bradford.  More

Classical Theatre Lab Presents The Merchant of Venice With Music: Something of Silver

The Classical Theatre Lab continues its ongoing partnership with the City of West Hollywood in once again presenting Free Shakespeare In The Park in the parks of West Hollywood. Tony Tanner adapts and directs Shakespeare’s comedy The Merchant of Venice as a musical, with Tanner contributing original songs and lyrics to a script that retains Shakespeare’s plot and most of his text while adding distinctly modern references and allusions. Musical direction is by David Kole.  More

As You Like It: The Musical moves to Kings Road Park

The City of West Hollywood and The Classical Theatre Lab’s production of As You Like It: The Musical moves to its new location in Kings Road Park, West Hollywood this weekend for its remaining performances August 6, 7*, 13 and 14 at 4:00 pm (*except August 7 which is at 11:30 am)

This upbeat 90-minute musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s play is adapted and directed by Tony Tanner, who has also written the songs. During his 58 years in the theatre, Tanner has been nominated for two Tony Awards (Best Director and Best Choreographer, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) and directed on Broadway and in London’s West End.

Admission is FREE and chairs are provided. You can make reservations by calling 323-960-5691 or by emailing

The cast features Tad Atkinson, John Copeland, Geryh Curtis, Noah Gillett, Rachele Gueli, Matthew Henerson, Louahn Lowe, Jill Maglione, Brandon Massey, Paul D. Masterson, Jessica Pennington, Steve Peterson, and Henry Selvitelle. The creative team includes Tony Tanner (Director), David Kole (Music Director), Daniel Mahler (Costume Design), Tad Atkinson (Stage Manager), and Alex Wells (Producer). For more information visit

As You Like It: The Musical

Paul D. Masterson, Rachele Gueli, and Jessica Pennington. Photo credit: Chad Restum

Love is in the air in The Classical Theatre Lab’s outdoor summer offering, As You Like It: The Musical, now playing in West Hollywood’s Plummer Park. Produced in the round with a few simple benches for set pieces and folding chairs for the audience, this cheerfully optimistic tale transports you to the Forest of Arden where two young lovers have sought refuge. Rosalind (Jessica Pennington) arrives after being banished by her uncle, Duke Frederick (Steve Peterson), and Orlando (handsome Paul D. Masterson) takes to the woods when he learns that his brother (Noah Gillett) has vowed to kill him.

Mistaken identities, professions of love gone awry and all manner of comical situations follow as they and a myriad of colorful characters cross paths in the woods. That Arden also contains a band of singing and dancing merry men wielding giant cheese wheels and baguettes only adds to the fun.

Director Tony Tanner brings his version of As You Like It in at about 90 minutes and serves it up in the outdoor courtyard of the Great Hall. That’s an easy length for the whole family to enjoy and with the sky overhead and a cool breeze in the air, you couldn’t pick a better way to pass a summer evening. July performances take place at 6:00 pm in Plummer Park and August shows in King’s Road Park are at 4:00 pm, except for August 7 which is at 11:30 am.

Pennington is deliciously feisty as Rosalind, biting into the Bard’s text with aplomb. She experiences love as a vexing and perplexing jumble of contradictions and her education of Orlando on the subject of how to woo a woman (while she is disguised as a boy) is a delight. So, too, is Matthew Henerson’s Touchstone, the witty fool who accompanies Rosalind and her cousin Celia (Rachele Gueli) into the forest. His likeable, wise guy observations make for plenty of laughs as he pokes and prods at the foolishness of those around him.

Tanner has also written some charming songs for his adaptation, like the a cappella opening number, “It Was A Lover and His Lass”, a comical brother duet in which Duke Frederick and Orlando sing of the perils of having a brother, and a Rosalind/Celia duet that has them pondering “How Would I Like To Fall In Love Today.” Orlando raps “Oh Rosalind” in the forest and also has a hysterical country song where he realizes he’s falling in love with “the boy,” and Rosalind shines in a number of bold songs that find Pennington in great voice.

At times some of the supporting characters lack the volume needed to be heard in the outdoor venue and underplay their performances, but that aside, this gentle introduction to one of Shakespeare’s easiest to understand romantic comedies is exactly what a summer night calls for. Enjoy!

As You Like It: the Musical is produced by Alex Wells and presented by the City of West Hollywood and The Classical Theatre Lab. Performances at the two venues are free but reservations are recommended. Click Here for more information or call 323-960-5691.

Reprinted from Musicals in LA
by Ellen Dostal

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