A Noise Within's Daring To Love Season Closes With THE BOOK OF WILL

Performances begin May 13 at A Noise Within and continue through June 4.

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A Noise Within's "Daring to Love" season fittingly closes with a love letter - to William Shakespeare and a life in the theater. Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott co-direct The Book of Will, a comically outlandish but true story of love, loss and laughter by Lauren Gunderson. Performances begin May 13 at A Noise Within and continue through June 4, with previews taking place May 7 through May 12.

You don't have to love Shakespeare to enjoy The Book of Will, Gunderson's re-imagining of the desperate search to find, preserve and print Shakespeare's words that otherwise might have disappeared forever. Three years after the Bard's death, John Heminges (Elliott) and Henry Condell (Jeremy Rabb), former friends and colleagues from Shakespeare's acting troupe, the King's Men, contend with egotistical actors, bootleg knockoffs and a ticking clock to ensure that the First Folio gets published, and that the works of William Shakespeare don't end up on the trash heap of history.

Backstage comedy meets detective adventure as this group of aging actors race against time to reassemble their repertoire - including Lear, Macbeth and Hamlet - some of which exist only in the lines they have memorized.

In addition to Elliott and Rabb, the cast includes A Noise Within resident artists Stanley Andrew Jackson, Nicole Javier, Kasey Mahaffy, Trisha Miller, Deborah Strang and Frederick Stuart, and guest artists Chuma Gault and Kelvin Morales.

"This is the perfect play for A Noise Within because it's about a company just like ours," says Elliott. "It's hard to find a play that's as brilliant, well-written and funny as this one, and it's all about a group of resident artists, an artistic community who have been working together for years, and how well they know each other, and the memories they share."

"It really shows how all-encompassing a life in the theater really is," adds Rodriguez-Elliott. "It's like religion. There's a moment in the play where one of the characters is experiencing deep loss. And the place that he goes to find comfort is the theater."

Commissioned by Denver Center Theatre Company, The Book of Will was honored by the American Theatre Critics Association with the prestigious 2018 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. Playwright Lauren Gunderson is one of the most produced playwrights in America since 2015, topping the list three times including in 2022-23.

The creative team includes scenic designer Frederica Nascimento; lighting designer Ken Booth; sound designer Robert Oriol; video designer Nicholas Santiago; costume designer Angela Balogh Calin; wig and make up designer Shelia Dorn; dialect coach Andrea Odinov; and dramaturg Miranda Johnson-Haddad. The rehearsal stage manager is Deena Tovar. Producing sponsors are Terri Murray and Patricia Hoppe, and sponsors are Kathy and Jim Drummy.

A Noise Within has been called "an oasis for those who love classic stories" by the Los Angeles Times and is a leading regional producer based in Pasadena, California. ANW's award-winning resident company is committed to representing the entire community at its state-of-the-art, 324-seat performance space. In addition to producing world-class performances of classic theater, the organization runs robust education programs with the goal of inspiring diverse audiences of all ages. ANW believes in working hard on its anti-racist practice across the whole organization. By interpreting its mission to fully engage audiences through community and artist-centered work in multiple creative disciplines, ANW is striving to be a theater that better serves the entire community.

Performances of The Book of Will take place May 13 through June 4 on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. (no 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, May 13; dark Thursday, May 18). Four preview performances take place on Sunday, May 7 at 2 p.m.; Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11, each at 7:30 p.m.; and Friday, May 12 at 8 p.m.

Audiences are invited to attend a symposium with resident dramaturg Dr. Miranda Johnson-Haddad at 6:45 p.m. prior to the preview on Wednesday, May 10. Post-performance conversations with the artists take place every Friday during the run except the preview, as well as on Sunday, May 21. An INsiders Discussion Group will be held on Tuesday, May 16, from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. on Zoom ($38 per individual or $45 per household). There will be three student matinees at 10:30 a.m., on Tuesday, May 16; Wednesday, May 17; and Thursday, May 18. Interested educators should email education@anoisewithin.org.

Tickets start at $25. Student tickets start at $18. Tickets to the previews on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11 will be Pay What You Choose, with tickets starting at $5 (available online beginning at 12 p.m. the Monday prior to that performance). Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.

A Noise Within is located at 3352 E Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (626) 356-3100 or go to www.anoisewithin.org



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