Shakespearean Vaudeville Premieres at Shakespeare Orange County

SOC - Sonnets

Patrick Peterson and Allison Volk

Shakespeare Orange County has commissioned a new piece by Southern California playwright Allison Volk in honor of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Sonnets, Songs & Sorry, Will’s Been Dead 400 Years! is a rollicking “Shakespearean vaudeville” that will receive its world premiere at SOC on Sunday, July 10 at 7pm.

The 90-minute play uses modern language, as well as Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets, to explore what happens backstage when SOC company members learn that a direct descendant of William Shakespeare is coming to see their performance of Hamlet. Mistaken identities, unrequited love and plenty of humor is on tap during this crowd-pleasing comic romp.

Directed by SOC veteran Colin Martin, the show stars Nicholas Thurkettle, Sonja Inge, Patrick Peterson, Ben Horowitz and Allison Volk, plus an ensemble of acting conservatory students from the Orange County High School of Performing Arts.

Sonnets, Songs & Sorry, Will’s Been Dead 400 Years!
July 10 – August 7, 2016
Sundays at 7pm
Garden Grove Amphitheater
12852 Main Street, Garden Grove, CA 92840


Shakespeare Preview: What to See in 2016

SHappy New Year and welcome back Shakespeare lovers! 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death (April 23, 1564 – April 23, 1616) and that means it’s another big year ahead honoring one of the greatest writers of all time. Here’s a look at what’s coming so get out your calendars and make note.

Antaeus Theatre Company starts the year with its popular ClassicsFest reading series featuring four plays in January and February. Among them are Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard’s Tony Award-winning absurdist play, initiated by Bo Foxworth and Adrian LaTourelle, directed by John Henry Davis (Jan. 17 & 18), and Shakespeare’s classic The Winter’s Tale, initiated and directed by Elizabeth Swain (Jan. 31 & Feb. 1). These member-driven developmental readings are often the first step in the company’s progression to a fully-staged production and are a great way to become immersed in the plays.

For Valentine’s Day, A Noise Within will present Romeo & Juliet directed by Dámaso Rodríguez. Rodriguez is currently artistic director at Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland but is well-known in LA. from his time spent as associate artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse and co-artistic director of Furious Theatre Company. In his streamlined interpretation of the story, he says, “the design and concept will evoke a street performance in an economically and socially repressed, centuries-old city.” It will remain focused on the play’s primary relationships and feature a diverse cast, original music by Martin Carrillo, and minimal props and costumes. A pre-show discussion will take place Feb. 17 prior to the performance at 6pm. Post-show conversations with the cast will follow the 8pm performances on March 18, April 8 & 29, and May 8 (2pm).

The Ensemble Shakespeare Theater has been developing an original work based on the fascinating character of Queen Margaret who appears in Henry VI Parts 1-3 and Richard III. Shakespeare’s Rose Queen is told from Margaret’s point of view and runs Feb. 20 – March 3 at Lineage Performing Arts Center in Pasadena. Starring Megan Rippey as Margaret, Rose Queen’s gritty story will feature battles choreographed as movement pieces by Lineage Dance Company’s artistic director, Hilary Thomas, and other new elements of storytelling in an intimate theater setting. The cast also includes Brian White as Suffolk/Edward, Natalie Fryman as Eleanor/Richard III, Jay Blair as Henry VI, Sonny Calvano as Warwick, and other to be announced. Shakespeare’s Rose Queen follows previous original works by the company – Shakespeare’s Lovers and its international hit, Shakespeare’s Villains.


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: Shakespeare Orange County’s Romeo & Juliet

SOC Romeo & Juliet

Rámon de Ocampo and his friends. All photos by Jordan Kubat

As an attempt to increase its cultural relevance, involve the community, and expand its audience base, Shakespeare Orange County’s Romeo & Juliet is an admirable venture. Directors Mike Peebler and John Walcutt have integrated several hometown groups to appeal to its neighboring communities: the Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association, the 40-year-old folklórico group Relámpago del Cielo from Santa Ana, the Korean Social Club of Orange County, and students from the Orange County School of the Arts.  More

SOC Will Create One Big Family Under the Stars with Romeo and Juliet

SOC Romeo and Juliet

Ramón de Ocampo and Nikki SooHoo

For its first production of Summerfest 2015, Shakespeare Orange County (SOC) applies its theme of uniting ‘One Big Family Under the Stars’ to Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s romantic drama of star-crossed lovers separated by irreconcilable families. Romeo and Juliet will open on July 11, with a special Night in White pre-show dinner package available, and continue through August 1.

Romeo and Juliet, arguably western literature’s most famous love story, was written early in Shakespeare’s career and, along with Hamlet, remains his most frequently performed play. It has inspired art in every media, including Franco Zefferelli’s 1968 film version, which will screen at the amphitheater on June 27.

When producing artistic director John Walcutt took over the 36-year-old company in 2014, it was with a pledge to use Orange County’s centrally located amphitheater to build bridges between generations and across the more than 70 languages spoken in the community.

“Shakespeare’s script shows how a community can be fragmented by hostility and ignorance,” said Walcutt, who co-directs with associate artistic director Mike Peebler. “Our production shows how a community can come together through artistic endeavor.”  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

Catching up on all the Shakespeare News of the Day – Los Angeles/San Diego

On April 21-22, Shakespeare OC will join the Orange County Community Foundation and more than 340 other non-profit organizations in the very first countywide Giving Day. For 30 hours starting at 6:00am April 21, you can visit and donate to SOC and your other favorite local non-profits. Your generosity on Giving Day will also enable SOC to win additional funding awards and prizes from the Foundation Bonus Pool, all of which will help them bring the Arts to an underserved, but culturally rich part of Orange County.

I Heart SOC

A Noise Within is now enrolling students in its Summer With Shakespeare five-week Pasadena summer camp, June 15 – July 17 (Monday-Friday 10am – 4pm) for youth aged 6-18. This conservatory-style program of acting, improvisation, stage diction, text analysis, kinetic exercises, and stage combat is led by classically trained, professional actors, choreographers, and designers. Visit for complete details.  More

Fall in Love Under the Stars with Shakespeare Summerfest Orange County

Shakespeare-Summerfest Orange County has announced its 2015 season of love, which features two of Shakespeare’s most magical and moving plays. Tickets are available at Box office opens May 1st, (714) 590-1575. Here’s a look at what’s to come.

Saturday, June 13, 2015
2nd Annual Season Kickoff Celebrity Gala
Join SOC for another radio drama performance featuring a blockbuster lineup of celebrities from Hollywood and Broadway. VIP tickets are also available to dine with the stars or attend the after-party.

SOC R and JJuly 2 – August 1, 2015: Romeo and Juliet
Starring acclaimed Vietnamese-American TV star Trieu Tran as Romeo, and featuring Santa Ana’s renowned 50-year old Mexican Folklorico troupe Relámpago del Cielo led by Marlene Peña-Marin, this co-production with VAALA (The Vietnamese-American Arts and Letters Association) reflects today’s multi-cultural society not as one race against the other, but as the amazing melting pot we have become. Co-directed by producing artistic director John Walcutt and associate artistic director Mike Peebler.


Audition Update: SOC, The Porters of Hellsgate, Shakespeare in the Vines

Shakespeare O.C. has announced that general auditions for their 2015 season will take place on Saturday, February 7 and Sunday, February 8 at the Garden Grove Amphitheater. The season will open with Romeo & Juliet, directed by John Walcutt, and will also include a second Shakespeare play and a world premiere drama, both TBA. All roles (except Romeo) are available, and SOC is open to non-traditional casting. The Summer Company will have both paid and intern performers; but all company members will have free access to their year-round acting workshop taught by members of the artistic committee, including producing artistic director John Walcutt. For more information and to request an audition appointment, contact For more details, visit

The Porters of Hellsgate are holding auditions for their upcoming production of Othello on January 17. Callbacks will take place on January 18. Charles Pasternak plays Iago after returning from New Jersey Shakespeare and his stint as Claudio. Thomas Bigley directs. Othello will open at The Whitmore Theatre on February 28 for a five week run. Submit electronically on Actors Access by 3:00 pm on January 15. All roles other than Iago are open and all ethnicities are encouraged to submit. For a complete breakdown of roles and to submit, visit For more about The Porters, go to

Auditions for the Shakespeare in the Vines 10th anniversary summer outdoor season will take place March 27 – 29. Productions include Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, and Twelfth Night as well as additional events. Visit to find out more information as it becomes available.

Review: SOC Sails to the South Pacific for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

SOC - Midsummer

L-R: Josele de Guzman, Sammy McClymonds Nguyen and John Daskalakis. Photos by Jordan Kubat

Yes, it takes a village. Shakespeare Orange County has pulled out all the stops, and even enlisted a not-so-secret weapon, to accomplish an extraordinarily beautiful debut in its first official production under new artistic director, John Walcutt. No less than 30 actors, 32 dancers, 10 drummers, a creative staff of 13, and countless additional volunteers have brought this Polynesian Dream, set in the 1700s, to life. It is a remarkable achievement that all starts with the intoxicating world created by director Susan Angelo. And what a world it is.

The drumming begins and from all sides they come: down the aisles, out from the wings, up onto the stage, almost as though they walk on air – each cluster filling the space with its own charismatic energy. There are silky-skinned Polynesian dancers who mesmerize with their skill; British colonials full of militaristic intensity; a band of mischievous fairies led by a dark and imposing king, and a fairy queen in gossamer white with an entourage of colorful pixies.  More

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