Photo Flash: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Opening 9/19 At Bruns Amphitheater

A Midsummer Night's Dream opens Saturday, September 19, 2009 at the Bruns Amphitheater after starting previews September 16.  California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes) ends its 35th anniversary season with a thoroughly magical production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Aaron Posner, in his company debut. One of Shakespeare's most beloved comedies, this marks the first coproduction between Cal Shakes and Two River Theater Company in New Jersey, where Posner serves as Artistic Director. The production will run through October 11, and then move to New Jersey for a limited run.

"This is one of my favorite plays and it's a total joy to return to it, particularly with such an amazing group of artists," says Aaron Posner. "I directed it about 10 years ago and was very pleased with the production, but it has been amazing to come back to it and realize how much it has changed for me. I have grown. The world has changed. And of course, like any great classic story, the play now feels wonderfully different. So that is exciting."

The cast for Cal Shakes' Midsummer is a rich blend of exciting newcomers to the Bruns stage, with some of the Bay Area's finest comic actors playing the Rude Mechanicals. Danny Scheie, most recently seen as the crazed Emperor of Rome in Berkeley Rep's You, Nero, plays Bottom; Patty Gallagher and Dan Hiatt (Winnie and Willie, respectively, in Cal Shakes' Happy Days) appear as Quince and Snout, Associate Artist Joan Mankin plays Snug/Philostrate, Lance Gardner portrays Flute, and Ted Barker plays Starveling. The human and fairy royalty are played by Keith Randolph Smith (Oberon/Theseus), and Pegge Johnson (Titania/Hippolyta) in their Cal Shakes' debuts; the young lovers are played by Lindsey Gates (Helena), Avery Monsen (Lysander), Richard Thieriot (Demetrius), and Erin Weaver (Hermia), with Dan Hiatt as Hermia's father, Egeus. Doug Hara, ensemble member of Chicago's Lookingglass Theater, plays the mischief-maker, Puck.

Posner has assembled a team of talented designers to create Midsummer's dreamlike world. The electric-blue setting will be crafted by Brian Sidney Bembridge, who was named one of the top nine emerging designers in North America Entertainment Design magazine. Internationally-acclaimed costume designer Olivera Gajic-who exhibited a production of Midsummer for the Julliard School at the Prague Quadrennial-will clothe the characters in Shakespearean garb with a touch of the avant-garde. Peter West returns to light up the Bruns stage, a task he did to much acclaim for Cal Shakes' 2003 production of Much Ado About Nothing. Chicago-based sound designer Andre Pluess, who provided the eclectic soundscapes for Cal Shakes' Romeo and Juliet (2009) and Twelfth Night (2008), will create the sounds of Midsummer's forest and court, enhanced by the musical talents of the cast.

Single tickets range from $32-$68, with discounts available for seniors, students, persons age 30 and under, and groups. Prices 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 2009 season is sponsored in part by BART, Bay Area News Group, City National Bank, KDFC, Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa, Meyer Sound, and Peet's Coffee & Tea, and institutional support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation. Audience Enrichment programs are underwritten in part by the City of Orinda's Community Grants Program. Artistic Learning programs are underwritten by generous support from Citigroup Foundation, The Dale Family Fund, The Thomas J. Long Foundation, Koret Foundation, Oakland Fund for the Arts, The San Francisco Foundation, and Yahoo! Employee Fund. California Shakespeare Theater's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream is part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national initiative sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest.

Photo Flash: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Opening 9/19 At Bruns Amphitheater
Pegge Johnson and Keith Randolph Smith

Photo Flash: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Opening 9/19 At Bruns Amphitheater
Doug Hara

Photo Flash: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Opening 9/19 At Bruns Amphitheater
Doug Hara, Danny Scheie and Pegge Johnson

Photo Flash: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Opening 9/19 At Bruns Amphitheater
Erin Weaver and Avery Monsen

Photo Flash: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Opening 9/19 At Bruns Amphitheater
Doug Hara, Lindsey Gates, Richard Thieriot and Erin Weaver

Photo Flash: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Opening 9/19 At Bruns Amphitheater
Keith Randolph Smith and Doug Hara

Photo Flash: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Opening 9/19 At Bruns Amphitheater
Doug Hara

Photo Flash: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Opening 9/19 At Bruns Amphitheater
Pegge Johnson

Photo Flash: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Opening 9/19 At Bruns Amphitheater
Lance Gardner, Joan Mankin and Dan Hiatt

Photo Flash: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Opening 9/19 At Bruns Amphitheater
Ted Barker, Joan Mankin, Danny Scheie, Lance Gardner, Patty Gallagher and Dan Hiatt

Photo Flash: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Opening 9/19 At Bruns Amphitheater
The cast of A Midsummer Night's Dream

Photo Flash: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Opening 9/19 At Bruns Amphitheater
Danny Scheie, Dan Hiatt and Lance Gardner

Photo Flash: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Opening 9/19 At Bruns Amphitheater
The cast of A Midsummer Night's Dream

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