BWW Feature: Summer Shakespeare Spotlight. What to See Now!
Summer is the best time of year to get out and see a Shakespeare play, especially in Southern California. Whether it's under the stars, staged in a unique performance space, or revived in a traditional theater, you can't go wrong when it comes to the world's greatest writer. Here's what we've currently got on our radar. Go see a show!
The party is underway in Griffith Park for Independent Shakespeare Co.'s Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival. Every Angeleno knows it's the place to be and be seen - you never know who will be on the blanket next to you - when the city comes together for ISC's top-notch productions. Currently on stage is TWELFTH NIGHT, alive with jazz age music, dance, and the kind of intoxicating comedy that comes when secret identities and romantic dreams become hopelessly entangled. Beginning July 27, PERICLES joins the schedule with both plays running in rep through September 1. PERICLES, directed by Melissa Chalsma, is a fantastic voyage full of adventure, mystery, and surprising revelations that takes its unsuspecting characters over land and sea in search of answers. Be prepared for anything in this epic tale featuring company favorites and new faces. Everything you need to know, including a detailed calendar, directions, and special events, can be found at www.iscla.org.
For those of you who like something different, emerging theatre company Coin and Ghost is premiering its latest new work, BAD HAMLET, an irreverent, interactive production directed by Rob Adler, at New American Theatre, July 25 - August 24. During each performance, the actors (equipped with cameras) go beyond the theater to engage with the community immediately outside the theater (who may have some, little, or no knowledge of HAMLET). The interactions are live-streamed back inside for the audience, and, no matter how they go - whatever version, portion, or reference to HAMLET is remembered - will ultimately become part of the live story onstage. Each performance of this constantly-shifting, crowdsourced HAMLET will be unique and unpredictable. More details at CoinandGhost.org/badham.
Across town in Topanga Canyon, Willow Geer stars as Viola in Theatricum Botanicum's summer production of TWELFTH NIGHT, set on the company's outdoor stage under the stars. Ellen Geer directs and the play features original music by Marshall McDaniel which gives Shakespeare's comedy a fresh, new sound. The summer season also includes their signature production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM along with MOBY DICK - REHEARSED, AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH, and THE GIN GAME. You can see all six plays in a single weekend if you have the time and this woodland venue is well-worth the trip. Now through September 29. Tickets: Theatricum.com
No matter which part of LA or the OC you may find yourself in, you won't be far from a free outdoor performance by Shakespeare By The Sea. The company performs in many parks around the area and this summer's season brings you the slapstick fun of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS and the rousing historical chronicle of the Battle of Agincourt in HENRY V. A special Wine Tasting at Barsha in Manhattan Beach is coming up on July 25. For a complete list of locations and schedule, visit ShakespearebytheSea.org/wp/
Shakespeare comes to the Hollywood Bowl July 16 when Gustavo Dudamel conducts the LA Phil in Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, set to Benjamin Millipied's original choreography. Also on the program, the International Tchaikovsky Competition 2016 "Young Artist of the Year" cellist Pablo Ferrández who performs Dvorák's dynamic Cello Concerto. Summer isn't complete without a night at the Bowl and seats are available in all price ranges. Don't miss out! HollywoodBowl.com/RomeoandJuliet
Did you catch Loyola Marymount's free Shakespeare on the Bluff production of AS YOU LIKE IT in June? If not, you can see their second season offering, PERICLES, July 26 - 28. Performances feature professional actors and LMU alumni, faculty members, and students, and are presented on campus and at the Playa Vista Central Park Bandshell. "It's our sophomore year, and we're back and ready for more," said Kevin Wetmore, professor of theatre arts at LMU, and the festival's artistic director. "We are thrilled this summer to once again offer an accessible, entertaining and innovative theatre experience in Westchester and Playa Vista that community members across the Westside can enjoy." Families are encouraged to bring picnics, blankets and low chairs to enjoy this summer's 90-minute performances in natural settings. LMU Shakespeare
The Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater Company is presenting a limited engagement of KING LEAR, July 18 - August 3. Nike Doukas directs a cast led by H. Richard Green as Lear, Mark Bramhall as Gloucester, Stephen Caffrey as Kent, and David Sussman as The Fool. Tickets are available at Web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/10432609
At Cal Poly Pomona, the Southern California Shakespeare Festival will retell Shakespeare's bloodiest story TITUS ANDRONICUS, August 23 - September 14. Fourteen deaths driven by hatred and revenge underscore Shakespeare's examination of power misused. A gala celebrating 15 years of SCSF productions will follow the August 25th 2pm performance. For more information, visit CPP.EDU/scsf
Also in Pomona, Ophelia's Jump Productions' 6th annual Midsummer Shakespeare Festival, co-produced with Pomona College, is presenting PERICLES and an all-female production of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, now through July 21. They are performed in repertory on alternating nights. As a special treat for younger audiences and families, Ophelia's Jump has added a production of the Scottish play entitled MOSTLY MACBETH that will be presented on two additional evenings - July 16 & 17 - as part of their Summer Youth Program. Nightly "Green" show begins at 7pm. Grounds open at 6:30 pm on Thursday, Friday & Sunday and at 5:00 pm on Saturdays for picnicking. Saturdays are Festival Days featuring arts and crafts vendors, games, a photo booth, and Bert & Rocky's ice cream booth. Opheliasjump.org