Cal Shakes to Continue Season with PGYMALION, 7/30-8/24

Cal Shakes to Continue Season with PGYMALION, 7/30-8/24

California Shakespeare Theater continues its 2014 season with George Bernard Shaw's brilliant Pygmalion, directed by Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone. Pygmalion plays at the Bruns Amphitheater from July 30 through August 24.

Based on the Greek myth of the sculptor who falls in love with the statue he creates, Shaw's tale of the poor Cockney flower girl and the professor who wagers he can pass her off as a duchess has captivated audiences for more than a century. The play premiered in London in 1912 in a production directed by the author, then made its first US appearance in 1914. Shaw adapted the play for film in 1938, winning the Oscar for his work and becoming the first and only person ever to win the Nobel Prize for literature and the Academy Award. Most famously, the screenplay for Pygmalion, with its romanticized ending, became the inspiration for the 1956 musical and its 1964 film adaptation, My Fair Lady.

Pygmalion marks the third time Moscone has tackled the works of Shaw, having previously directed critically-acclaimed productions of Man and Superman (2007) and Candida (2011). "This play is an extraordinary piece or writing-comic, political, provocative, and surprisingly moving," says Jonathan Moscone. "Shaw never ceases to amaze me in how passionate and relevant and genuinely witty his thoughts are on the subjects of society and relationships."

The company of Pygmalion includes Anthony Fusco, last seen at Berkeley Rep in Tony Kushner's The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide... and at Cal Shakes in 2012's Blithe Spirit, as Professor Henry Higgins; and Irene Lucio, who appeared as Juliet in Yale Rep's Romeo and Juliet, making her Cal Shakes' debut as Eliza Doolittle. Others in the cast include L. Peter Callender, who appeared in 2013's A Winter's Tale, as Colonel Pickering; James Carpenter, who recently appeared in Aurora Theatre's American Buffalo and Cal Shakes' Lady Winderemere's Fan, as Eliza's father, Alfred Doolittle; Sharon Lockwood, last seen at Cal Shakes in American Night: The Ballad of Juan José, as Mrs. Higgins; Catherine Castellanos, who appeared in Cal Shakes' all-female touring production of Twelfth Night earlier this season, as Higgins' housekeeper, Mrs. Pearce; Nicholas Pelczar, last seen in A.C.T.'s Major Barbara, as Eliza's suitor, Freddy Eynsford Hill; Julie Eccles, who played the title character in Cal Shakes' Candida, as Mrs. Eynsford Hill; and Elyce Price*, also seen in A.C.T.'s Major Barbara, as Freddy's sister, Clara Eynsford Hill. Rounding out the company are Ponder Goddard* (Parlormaid/Ensemble); Catherine Luedtke (Ensemble); Caitlin Evenson (Ensemble); Charles Lewis III (Ensemble); and Liam Callister (Ensemble).

The creative team for Pygmalion includes set designer Annie Smart, designer of numerous Cal Shakes productions including Lady Windermere's Fan, Blithe Spirit, Othello, and Man and Superman; costume designer Anna Oliver, whose work has appeared at Welsh National Opera, Seattle Rep, Old Globe, B.A.M., San Francisco Opera, and Dallas Theatre Center, to name a few; lighting designer Stephen Strawbridge; who has designed more than 200 productions on and Off-Broadway, as well as Cal Shakes' 2009 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream; and sound designer Jake Rodriguez, who has designed for multiple theaters across the Bay Area including A.C.T., Berkeley Rep, Cal Shakes, and the Magic.

George Bernard Shaw (Playwright, 1856-1950) was born in Dublin, the son of a civil servant. He moved to London as a young man (1876), where he established himself as a leading music and theatre critic in the eighties and nineties and became a prominent member of the Fabian Society, for which he composed many pamphlets and speeches. He began his literary career as a novelist; as a fervent advocate of the new theatre of Ibsen he decided to write plays in order to create a forum for considering the moral, political, and economic issues of his day. Shaw's radical rationalism, his utter disregard of conventions, his keen dialectic interest and verbal wit resonate today in such plays as Mrs. Warren's Profession (1893); Arms and the Man (1894); The Devil's Disciple (1897); Candida (1898); Caesar and Cleopatra (1901); Man and Superman, including the famous "Don Juan in Hell" sequence (1903); Major Barbara (1905); Pygmalion (1912), which provided the inspiration for the musical My Fair Lady; Heartbreak House (1919); and Saint Joan (1923). He became the first writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Academy Award, both for Pygmalion. Shaw's complete works appeared in thirty-six volumes between 1930 and 1950, the year of his death.

Jonathan Moscone (Director) is in his 15th season as Artistic Director of California Shakespeare Theater, where he most recently directed American Night: The Ballad of Juan José. Credits include the world premiere of Ghost Light, which he co-created and developed with playwright Tony Taccone for Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. In addition, he directed Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park for American Conservatory Theater prior to its winning the Pulitzer Prize. For Cal Shakes, Mr. Moscone has directed the world premiere of John Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven by Octavio Solis (recipient of the inaugural NEA New Play Development Award); The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby; Candida; Twelfth Night; Happy Days; Much Ado About Nothing; The Tempest; and The Seagull. He is the first recipient of the Zelda Fichandler Award, given by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation for "transforming the American theatre through his unique and creative work." Regional credits include Intersection for the Arts, Huntington Theatre, Alley Theater, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Goodspeed Musicals, Dallas Theatre Center, San Jose Repertory Theater, Intiman Theatre, and Magic Theatre, among others. Mr. Moscone currently serves as a board member of Theatre Communications Group and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Single tickets for Pygmalion range from $20 to $72, with discounts available for seniors, students, military families, persons age 30 and under, and groups. Prices, dates, titles, and artists are subject to change. For information or to charge tickets by phone with VISA, MasterCard, or American Express, call the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666. Additional information and online ticketing are available at www.calshakes.org.

California Shakespeare Theater's 2014 season is supported in part by the generosity of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, The Andrew Mellon Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation. Presenting corporate partners for Cal Shakes' 40th anniversary season include BART, City National Bank, Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa, Meyer Sound, Peet's Coffee and Tea, and San Francisco magazine; production sponsor for Pygmalion is McRoskey Mattress Company.

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