Photo Flash: Get A First Look At SIZE THE KING at La Jolla Playhouse

Photo Flash: Get A First Look At SIZE THE KING at La Jolla PlayhouseLa Jolla Playhouse presents Seize the King, by Will Power (The Seven, Honey Bo and the Goldmine POP Tour), directed by Playhouse Associate Artistic Director Jaime Castañeda (At the Old Place, Tiger Style!, Guards at the Taj), running through September 16 in the Playhouse's Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre.

The cast features Saidah Arrika Ekulona as Queen Woodville/Gardener 2/Master of the Royal Wardrobe; Julian Parker as Lord Buckingham/Gardener 1; Jesse Perez as Richard III; Luis Vega as Lord Hastings/Greygor the Tailor/Reverend Shaw; and Jenapher Zheng as Anne Neville/Edward V, along with drummer Richard Sellers.

The creative team includes Lauren Helpern (At the Old Place), Scenic Designer; Emilio Sosa (Miss You Like Hell), Costume Designer; Tyler Micoleau (The Squirrels), Lighting Designer; Mikhail Fiksel (Tiger Style!), Sound Designer; Shirley Fishman, Dramaturg; and Rachael Danielle Albert, Stage Manager.

La Jolla Playhouse is a place where artists and audiences come together to create what's new and next in the American theatre, from Tony Award-winning productions, to imaginative programs for young audiences, to interactive experiences outside our theatre walls. Currently led by 2017 Tony Award-winning Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Debby Buchholz, the Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer. Playhouse artists and audiences have taken part in the development of new plays and musicals, including mounting95 world premieres, commissioning 50 new works, and sending 32 productions to Broadway, among them the currently-running hit musicals Come From Away and SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical - garnering a total of 38 Tony Awards, including the 1993 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.

Let's see what the critics have to say!

ErinMarie Reiter, BroadwayWorld: Power's play chooses to get to the core issues of jealousy, ambition, power, and strategy using just five actors in dual role (with the exception of Richard). This leaves many of the lords, ladies, courtiers, and circumstances out of the picture. It also means that there is a lot less for Richard to sink his teeth into for manipulation, plotting, and political maneuvering. It can leave the play feeling a bit like Richard is playing a game of royal chess that has been demoted to checkers with only a few moves left.

David Coddon, San Diego City Beat: Power's play omits a great deal of Shakespeare's text and interweavings, and many of Richard III's characters (all but Perez play multiple parts in Seize the King). This is a Richard III for the 21st century served up with more humor, but with the same cautionary themes and no less ferocity. Much of that ferocity comes from drummer Richard Sellers, whose percussion from above the stage provides transitions between Seize the King's short scenes and fills the Playhouse's Potiker Theatre with pulsating dramatic tension.

Anne Wentworth, San Diego Reader: Maybe theater folks are distressed by the world's lack of "wokeness" and wondering what they can do to elevate the consciousness of the ignorant racists of the world. But Joe and Alice are actually pretty smart, as evidenced by the fact they go to the theater instead of watching TV, staring at their phones, or seeing infantile superhero movies. And, believe it or not, they may not fall into simplistic political dichotomies.

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