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


Review: Imagination Reigns in Kingsmen Shakespeare Company’s HENRY V

Henry V - Kingsmen

Ty Mayberry (center) and the cast of Henry V

Kingsmen Shakespeare Company’s production of Henry V takes its cue from one of Shakespeare’s most well-known speeches, “O for a Muse of fire…,” the prologue to this play. In it, Shakespeare invites the audience to use its imagination in viewing what is about to transpire, to picture the battle scenes that will take place and the great kings who will lead their armies across the vast countryside, all represented on this humble stage.

Director Michael J. Arndt follows through with this idea of sparking imagination by taking a minimalist approach to the production design leaving a wide open stage upon which fight choreographer Jason D. Rennie stages battle scenes using the largest number of actors to date in a Kingsmen production – some 35 in all. For the Battle of Agincourt, Rennie even incorporates the use of synchronized longbows which were vital to the English conquering the French, who greatly outnumbered them on the battlefield. The effect is quite stunning.  More

Christopher Hoag’s Cinematic Approach to Creating Music for Shakespeare

For the past seven years, composer Christopher Hoag has conjured up battle scenes, storms, romance, and adventure with his music for Kingsmen Shakespeare Company’s annual summer festival. If you’ve seen one of their productions, you know how beautifully his rich orchestral scores enhance Shakespeare’s text on their outdoor festival stage. He’s back again this year writing music for two shows: the currently running Henry V, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, opening July 15. Here he talks about the process of bringing the world of Shakespeare’s plays to life with music.

Chris Hoag

Christopher Hoag

Chris, you’re working with director Michael Arndt on Henry V. Where do you find your musical inspiration?

The reasons why the director and I make the stylistic choices we do for the Kingsmen scores are always varied. Sometimes it’s the period, sometimes it comes from a conceptual approach to the play. In the case of our Henry V, it was a combination of both. The score really stems from Michael’s idea to put the Chorus in modern times as a documentary narrator/TV reporter, and the actual events of the play proper in a more period setting. I had to bridge those two worlds. So I thought it would be fun to do a very electronic sounding score; one that’s still dramatic and orchestral in nature, but using predominately electronic orchestrations towards that end. The score is really an homage to the electronic scores that I grew up with in the 80s by composers like Vangelis, Michael Stearns, Tangerine Dream, and Wendy Carlos. It’s been great fun exploring these sounds both in a modern and period context.

The electronics also have a tendency to be a bit cooler and removed emotionally, which I believe reflects Michael’s interest in how modern media portrays serious events through a sometimes very aloof and self-serving lens. Ultimately, much of the play is about war; the triumphs and the tremendous tragedies. And those things are also major points of reference for the music.

Are there particular cues or sequences we should listen for?

I feel very fortunate in that I am often asked to write an “overture” for the Kingsmen shows. It’s a bit of an old-fashioned thing to do, but as a composer it’s a great opportunity to stretch out and to musically “set the emotional stage” for what you are about to experience. It’s also very helpful for me to draw from it as I go through the process of scoring the rest of the play. The overture for Henry V states the main motifs that recur numerous times throughout the show.

Beyond that, I’d suggest listening for the “Once more unto the breach” speech which goes into the siege at Harfleur. I love scoring dialog. It’s a delicate thing, but when it’s working there’s nothing better for me personally. And this is such a rousing and powerful speech. Here, the music is constantly building and modulating, but never quite resolving….until the final charge into battle.

Of course, aside from the director, it’s always a hugely important thing for the actors to be okay with the music I write for them. And in this case our Henry, played brilliantly by Ty Mayberry, asked for a copy of the music so he could work with it. The cue is in two parts and it’s built in such a way that Ty has plenty of room to play. It’s a good example of the wonderfully collaborative nature of this company.  More

HENRY V Kicks Off Kingsmen’s 20th Summer Season

Henry V - Kingsmen

L-R: Chris Reynolds-Baldwin and Ty Mayberry. Photo credit: Brian Stethem/Cal Lutheran

Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival celebrates its 20th season, and the 400th anniversary of the Bard of Avon’s death, with Shakespeare’s Henry V. Performances are June 24 – July 10 in Kingsmen Park on the Thousand Oaks campus of California Lutheran University. Festival grounds open at 5:30 pm for picnicking and pre-show entertainment.

Michael J. Arndt, a founding member of the festival and the company’s artistic director, directs. Ty Mayberry, who debuted at the festival in 2013 as Hamlet, will play King Henry. The production will also feature a number of Kingsmen veterans. Marc Silver, who appeared in the first season and many thereafter, plays Pistol. Returning after several years’ absence is octogenarian Robert Nairn in the role of Sir Thomas Erpingham.

Other returning Kingsmen favorites include Michael Faulkner, Angela Gulner and Ross Hellwig. John Slade, who directed Henry V at the 2004 festival and has played King Lear and other Kingsmen roles, will portray the Archbishop of Canterbury and Charles the Sixth, King of France. Jason Rennie, who was in the first Kingsmen Apprentice Company and performed as the pre-show “fire breather” in the early years, is choreographing several battle sequences employing most of the 35 cast members.

Henry V is the only one of Shakespeare’s histories that features a chorus character who narrates the action. Kingsmen’s production sets the play in the historical period of the real King Henry, but the chorus character will be portrayed as a 21st-century news reporter, presenting the story as if she were narrating a documentary film.

It will feature a distinctive set by Erik Diaz, period costumes by Howard Schmitt, lighting by Leigh Allen and an original electronic music score by Christopher Hoag. (Hoag’s scores, by the way, are typically stunning.)

The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company is the professional theater company of Cal Lutheran. The company also provides apprentice programs for professional and aspiring Shakespearean actors, an educational tour program and summer youth theater camps.

June 24 – July 10, 2016 (8pm)
Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival
General admission tickets are $20 for adults and free for children under 18. Individual tickets are available at the door only. For lawn box reservations, visit or call 805-493-3014.

LBSC Continues Season of Spectacle with Henry V

Henry V - LBSC
Long Beach Shakespeare Company continues its season of spectcle with its latest production, Henry V. Performances run through Sept 19, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm. Famous quotes abound throughout the action, such as, “The game’s afoot,” “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,” and “A little touch of Harry in the night,” among many others, while the guilt laden, newly pious, yet ambitious King grapples with the sins of his father and his own desire to show the world his worth. The French outnumber the English, 5 to 1, yet Henry leads his men into battle. Come witness the courage and the carnage.

August 28 – September 19, 2015
Long Beach Shakespeare Company
Richard Goad Theatre, 4250 Atlantic, Long Beach, CA, 90807
Tickets: $20/general admission and $10/students, available
Call (562) 997-1494 or go to

The Old Globe Offers Free Monday Night Film Series

This summer, the Old Globe will include FREE Monday night screenings of four Shakespeare films as part of its 2015 Summer of Shakespeare. The films will relate to Shakespeare through the eras and celebrate both the Balboa Park Centennial and the theatre’s 80th Anniversary. They are: Henry V, directed by Laurence Olivier in 1944; Orson Welles’s 1965 classic Chimes At Midnight; Joss Whedon’s 2012 Much Ado About Nothing; and Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins’s groundbreaking 1961 West Side Story. Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and Beth Accomando, author of the KPBS blog Cinema Junkie, will alternate introducing the films.

June 29: Henry V (8:15 pm)
Sir Laurence Olivier made his 1944 directorial debut and starred in Henry V, a sparklingly inventive, Oscar-nominated film adaptation of Shakespeare’s epic history play. Olivier brings the Bard’s heroic king to full-blooded life in this breathtaking and passionate cinematic masterpiece.

Chimes at MidnightJuly 13: Chimes at Midnight
(7:00 pm)
Widely considered the greatest film adaptation of Shakespeare ever made, Orson Welles’s acclaimed 1965 masterpiece finds Shakespeare’s most famous supporting character, Sir John Falstaff, taking center stage. Drawing heavily on Henry IV and other histories by the Bard, the film follows the shifting relationship between Prince Hal and his drunken, obese, and altogether charming companion Falstaff (played by Welles himself). This enduring gem, rarely seen on the big screen, delves deep inside one of Shakespeare’s most intriguing players to shine a light on one man’s joys, struggles, and triumphs.


The Porters of Hellsgate Release a new HENRY V Promo

The Porters have released a new promo for their production of Henry V featuring Charles Pasternak delivering the famous “Once more unto the breach…” monologue. This is a terrific production and I highly recommend it. If you haven’t seen it – go!

Remaining performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm, with Sunday matinees at 2pm*, through Saturday, March 29, 2014, closing the extended seven week run. *The Sunday, March 16 performance will take place at 7pm; there is no performance on Sunday, March 23. Henry V runs approximately 2.5 hours with one intermission at The Whitmore Theatre, 11006 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601. Tickets are $20 and are available at

Review: Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Porters, in Henry V

Charles Pasternak as Henry V

Charles Pasternak as Henry V

If “all the youth of England are on fire,” as the first speech of Henry V’s Act II declares, then all the Porters of Hellsgate have carried the torch forward with guns blazing. Without a doubt, this is the Porters’ finest stage work to date and a testament to the kind of theatre magic that can be created out of thin air by the willing and able. Here in the confines of their black box space they conjure battles and formidable location changes (vasty fields of France anyone?) not normally able to be contained on any stage, let alone in an intimate theater like the Whitmore.

Shakespeare knew that and gave his actors a solution in the form of his Chorus; a one-man narrator who entreats the audience to engage their imaginations and envision the scenes he and the other characters will set before them. In The Porters’ version it is Leon Russom who functions in this go-to capacity. Russom handles the task with aplomb, clearly translating for the audience what has just transpired and what is about to take place with a calm familiarity that makes the audience come to him, and more importantly, understand him. To do that with any audience is an accomplishment but when an actor can hold the attention of a school group of thirty students in this kind of small space, it is a laudable.  More

The Porters of Hellsgate present HENRY V Starring Charles Pasternak

Henry V Porters

The Porters of Hellsgate take on Shakespeare’s most famous play about war upon their unworthy scaffold: The Whitmore Theatre. Embracing The Chorus’ initial warning as to the inadequacies of his company’s resources to “bring forth so great an object”, this Henry V will be brought forward with the grittiness and edge the Porters have become known for. Within this “wooden O” both cast and audience will be taken in to the unapologetically theatrical journey of King Henry’s invasion and conquest of France.  More

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