Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles to Present ROMEO AND JULIET, 7/8-26
Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles (SCLA), under the artistic direction of Ben Donenberg, returns to The Japanese Garden on the grounds of the VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center campus for the third consecutive summer with a Los Angeles-centric summer production of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet"- directed by Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal National Theatre alum Kenn Sabberton - for seventeen performances only, July 8, through July 26 (press opening July 13).
Artistic director Ben Donenberg said, "We will light up the VA Japanese Gardens with a new production that draws its inspiration from twenties Los Angeles, when rival newspapers seeking readers, influence, revenue, and power broke out into gang skirmishes to match their often lurid and sensational brand of journalism. We have reimagined the Capulets and the Montagues to be the Chandlers vs. the Hearsts. This is our fourth production with the imaginative Kenn Sabberton, who invigorates Shakespeare that speaks directly to modern audiences and takes to heart Shakespeare's ability to speak to all audiences, and the third annual use of the Japanese Gardens, one of our long time venues - and a venue which exemplifies how wondrous our city is in summer."
The VA location speaks to many long-time themes of the Shakespeare Center - including presenting Shakespeare in a relevant way through settings that speak to present-day Angelenos, working with veterans with its Veteran Summer Employment program, and using theatre as a tool for personal and community transformation. Shakespeare Center creates great art that does great things.
Donenberg continued, "Collaborating with the VA also allows us to continue our work involving hiring and training veterans on the job. Last summer, veterans comprised 57% of the entire company's workforce. Vets will work as valued members of our backstage and front of house team -- and we are making complimentary tickets available to active military personnel, veterans, their care-givers and family members."
Sabberton and Shakespeare Center received rave reviews for "As You Like It" in 2012 and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in 2013, bringing back to life the West LA VA's idyllic Japanese Garden. About "Midsummer, the Los Angeles Times said, "The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles' effervescent production features so fine - and so rare - an example of an ensemble working, playing, singing and creating havoc together. Director Sabberton and the terrifically versatile cast grant the audience the great good favor of trusting it not to be stupid. They trust their audience to follow the language. They trust it to grasp the speedy doubling of roles. The gift of this trust is that the actors can get away with anything."
The Japanese Garden on the grounds of the West Los Angeles VA is at 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90073 (adjacent to the Brentwood Theatre). Tickets, starting at $20, are available online at www.shakespearecenter.org. For information about the ticket program for active military and veterans, please call SCLA at 213-481-2273.