First Look: KING LEAR Comes to The Broad Stage

King Lear - Joseph Marcell

Joseph Marcell as King Lear and Rawiri Paratene as Gloucester

Direct from the UK, Shakespeare’s ultimate tragedy comes to The Broad Stage in a high-octane whirl of love and deceit, delivered with a thrilling physicality. Best known for his role on the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Joseph Marcell (King Lear) is joined onstage by a powerhouse cast directed by Bill Buckhurst for one of the deepest artistic explorations of the human condition. Produced by the brilliant and daring Shakespeare’s Globe, this King Lear will leave you breathless with its style, wit, and gusto.

Old King Lear proposes to give up his crown and divide his kingdom between his three daughters, but his rash generosity is cruelly repaid. Lear discovers too late the falsity of the values by which he has lived, and is ultimately plunged into despair and madness.

The play is set on an Elizabethan style booth stage–inspired by paintings and etchings from Shakespeare’s time when touring was prevalent, and will be performed by eight actors. There will be a Q&A with cast members following the performances on Nov. 7 & 11, moderated by Broad Stage dramaturg, Jonathan Redding.

King Lear opens at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, at 7:30 pm and will run for thirteen performances through Nov. 16.


November 5 – 16, 2014
The Eli & Edythe Broad Stage
1310 11th St. Santa Monica CA 90401
Tickets: (310) 434-3200 or

Photos of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre production of King Lear are by Ellie Kurttz

King Lear - The Broad

Joseph Marcell (Lear) and Bethan Cullinane (Cordelia)



From the Creators of War Horse Comes A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Midsummer  - The Broad Stage

Bristol Old Vic and Cape Town’s Handspring Puppet Company reunite to present a magical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, April 3 – 20 at The Broad Stage. This is the same team who brought War Horse to life so you can be sure that a special kind of magic will fill the air in Shakespeare’s tale of romance, mischief and transformation. The inventive new take on Shakespeare’s comedy is directed Tom Morris and unfurls in the wooded ambiance of The Broad Stage, interweaving the lives of lovers, actors, foes and fairies, played out on a starkly beautiful set with a brilliant young cast of actors and puppeteers. Call 310-434-3200 for reservations.

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

Review: Rakata’s Henry VIII at The Broad Stage

Broad Fundacion Henry VIII

I wanted to see Shakespeare’s Henry VIII/ Enrique VIII at The Broad to see if I would be able to follow the play even if I couldn’t understand the language. The production is being presented by the Madrid classical theatre company Rakatá, in Spanish with English subtitles. It makes its U.S. debut at The Broad following appearances at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London in 2012 and 2013. Rakatá has the distinction of being the first Spanish company ever to perform at the Globe. It is an interesting coincidence that Henry VIII was the play in progress when the original Globe Theatre burned down in 1613.

So what was my experience? There is no doubt that the accomplishment is a triumph for Rakatá. Most productions view Henry VIII’s reign through a very English lens and Rakatá brings a uniquely Spanish perspective to the story. It is an interpretation that makes sense given that Henry’s divorce from the much-beloved Queen Catherine of Aragon is a sore spot in Spanish history.  More

Two For One Tickets to Henry VIII at The Broad Stage

Henry VIII 2 for 1 txts

The Broad Stage is offering TWO TICKETS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE for its upcoming production: Fundación Siglo de Oro presents Rakatá in Henry VIII / Enrique VIII. Call (310) 434-3200 or use Promo Code “2FOR1” online to purchase tickets at Performances run September 26 – 29, 2013.

In 1533, the Spanish were enraged by Catherine de Aragon’s divorce from Henry VIII. Eighty years later, Shakespeare engaged with the subject in his last play. Now four hundred years later, Rakatá, Madrid’s premier classical company, re-imagines this play from a Spanish perspective, with the thrilling clarity they bring to their productions of Spanish Golden Age work. Don’t miss what The Guardian UK calls “a supremely accomplished retelling of this most notorious episode in English history.”

Presented in Spanish with English captions.

Fiasco Theater’s Cymbeline Comes to The Broad Stage

Poisoning, beheading, cross-dressing, and betrayal become fresh and frisky thanks to Fiasco Theater’s inventive production of the epic romance Cymbeline. In a play that spans the Roman Empire, Shakespeare pits the noble intentions of Princess Imogen, pining after her banished husband, against the dastardly Iachimo, one of his most nefarious villains. A young ensemble of six versatile actors resolves the twisted fates of 14 characters with live music that ranges from a cappella to bluegrass. Don’t miss the West Coast premiere of what Ben Brantley of The New York Times called “The most truly enchanting Cymbeline I’ve seen.”

And now you can get $20 off advance purchase tickets; Subject to availability; not valid on previously purchased tickets; Levels Premier, A, and B. Expires 24 hours before curtain.

December 13 – 23, 2012
Fiasco Theater @ The Broad Stage
Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center
1310 11th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401

A Hamlet for Today at The Broad Stage

In last season’s touring production of the Globe Theatre’s The Comedy of Errors Bill Buckhurst filled the Broad Stage with low comedy as the twin brothers Antipholus, providing a lean and light interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic filled with mischief and farcical foolery. This month he flips the coin and returns as director for the Globe’s Hamlet, which he helmed alongside Globe artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole. By stripping away pretense and sentimentality, and trimming the text to come in under three hours, their Hamlet remains fleet of foot, shedding its angst-ridden tendencies, and becomes a vivid rendering that capitalizes on the traditional limitations of touring. (Always remember to pack light.)  More

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Returns to The Broad with Hamlet

KCRW presents William Shakespeare’s Hamlet by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, directed by Dominic Dromgoole and Bill Buckhurst November 15 – 25 at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Last season’s Globe Theatre production of The Comedy of Errors was full of farcical foolery and this November, for the fourth time, the Bard returns to The Broad with a fresh, fast, and youthful staging brimming with existential angst, Oedipal impulses, and paranormal activity. Even if you’ve seen Hamlet a hundred times before, missing this one would be the greatest tragedy of all. Tickets are available now* at or by calling (310) 434-3200.

*Come celebrate opening night in The Broad Stage lobby after the show with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails to toast this smash hit with fellow Shakespeare-lovers. Special ticket prices for opening night include the opening night party.

The Broad Stage
At the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center
1310 11th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 434-3200

Pictured above: Michael Benz as Hamlet. Photo Credit: Simon Annand

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre brings The Comedy of Errors to the Broad

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Photos by Angela Weiss

Mischief’s afoot at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica as Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre returns with a touring production of The Comedy of Errors that runs through November 27. The farcical foolery of this early Shakespeare work plays out with breakneck speed, full of slapstick kicks, drops, and punches to the face, accompanied by music and a multitude of clever sound effects (complete with a ‘slap stick’ for many of those hits). It’s a lean and light tryst that maximizes the comedic abilities of its players while hiding more serious themes underneath its frivolity.

A traveling troupe of eight players, playing a traveling troupe of more players, take on all the characters, which means not only are the roles of Antipholus and Dromio doubled, as is often the case, but others are as well. This opens up a whole new world of opportunity for humor as the actors run back and forth, adding a hat or other costume piece to establish that they may be talking to another character elsewhere on the stage who is actually being played by themselves. Watch for the reappearance of Egeon in the last scene and you’ll see what I mean. If it all sounds confusing never fear. In the Globe’s actors’ expert hands, you’ll always know who is who and you’ll love the ingenious way the characters flip back and forth, often quite literally.

The story concerns two sets of twins separated at birth who turn up in the same city and are mistaken for their counterparts, though they themselves don’t know that’s what is happening. Bill Buckhurst deftly plays the two Antipholuses (or should I say Antipholi?) of Syracuse and Epheseus, and Fergal McElherron is Dromio, servant to each master. McElherron steals the show with his breathless performance, giving one of Shakespeare’s best loved fools as much heart as hilarity.

The Globe’s ensemble makes the most of its assets, delivering the text with crisp, natural precision and moving joyfully about in this make believe world of ‘let’s put on a show.’ Stylistically we are somewhere between Mecca and Morocco with a tent pitched as the backdrop to the action atop a wooden platform stage and actors decked out in colorful desert attire.

Don’t look for anything stuffy or highbrow here. Though The Comedy of Errors does frame itself with a moral dilemma that finds resolution in the end, it is its swan dive into the depths of low comedy where it finds its surest footing.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre tour of The Comedy of Errors runs through November 27 at The Broad Stage, located at 1310 11th Street Santa Monica, 90401.  For tickets and more information go to

The Broad Stage’s Annual Feast & Frolic

The Broad Stage invites you to attend their annual Feast & Frolic costume ball on November 12th. Break out your Elizabethan finest – frills, furs, capes, and corsets – and take part in the revelry with like-minded (and equally elegantly dressed) arts patrons. This year The Broad hosts Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s production of The Comedy of Error as the evening’s entertainment with a fabulous feast to follow. All proceeds  go to The Broad Stage Arts Insight campaign, dedicated to exposing underprivileged youth to the magic of the performing arts.

Royal Carpet Parade, arrival and reception

Opening Night Performance
The Comedy of Errors with cocktail intermission

Elizabethan Feast & Festivities
(dinner, costume contest, and dancing)

The Comedy of Errors will run November 12 – 27. Parking is free at The Broad. Click Here for tickets and more information.

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