Cal Shakes Presents the West Coast Premiere of EVERYBODY
California Shakespeare Theater continues its 44th Season with the West Coast Premiere of Everybody, a sparkling new riff on the 15th-century morality play The Summoning of Everyman by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, whom the New York Times calls "one of this country's most original and illuminating writers." A finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, Everybody is Cal Shakes' second official offering under the New Classics Initiative (NCI), exploring what it means to be a classical theater in the 21st century, and to allow living writers to expand our classical canon. Directed by Nataki Garrett making her Cal Shakes debut, Everybody plays July 18 - August 5 at the Bruns Amphitheater in Orinda. Low-priced previews take place July 18-20; Opening Night is July 21. Tickets (ranging from $20?$92) are available through the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666 or by visiting www.calshakes.org. Ticket prices are subject to change without notice.
You can't take it with you, but everybody tries. When Everybody faces imminent death, which companion-Beauty, Friendship, Stuff, or Love-will make it to the final destination? The core company of actors will be cast by lottery each night, letting fate decide the journey as they play out this new riff on an ancient morality tale with surprising grace, humor, and heart.
"In this day, in this country, in this moment, we need compassion, and that is what this play so beautifully makes the case for," commented Cal Shakes Artistic Director Eric Ting. Added director Garrett, "I have been working with Branden and his plays since 2010. I have a deep and profound respect for his words and his ways of expressing a desire for connection."
"I was especially struck by the original Everyman because of the way it marries the experience of the commons-and theater is one of the few commons left to us in the modern world- with the most intimate questions of spirit and faith, and transience, and the questions of what ultimately matters in life," adds Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. He continues, "And what I love about theater is that you have to be there or it's gone- it doesn't wait for anybody. It rewards people who care about the form and who show up. So how perfect a metaphor is that for life? And where better to practice feeling the fear of death and solitude than in a place where we are all together, breaking bread and sharing laughter?"
Returning to the Bruns with Everybody are: Lance Gardner (2016's Much Ado About Nothing, Fences, You Never Can Tell, and Othello), Sarita Ocón (Quixote Nuevo, Cal Shakes' All the Bay's a Stage touring production of Twelfth Night, A Streetcar Named Desire and To The Bone at Ubuntu Theater Project), Stacy Ross (2016's Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, Lady Windemere's Fan, among many others), and Jomar Tagatac (2017's As You Like It, Life Is A Dream). Joining them in their Cal Shakes debuts are: Britney Frazier (Campo Santo's Casa de Spirits, Ethos De Masquerade, H.O.M.E., and Superheroes; Hedda Gabler at Cutting Ball Theater), Jenny Nelson (Sense and Sensibility and Cinderella at Pacific Conservatory Theatre) , Avi Roque (The Crucible at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, We're Gonna Be Okay and Men On Boats at American Theater Company), Victor Talmadge (Broadway's November, National Tours of The Lion King and The King and I, and Weathervane Productions' A Lesson From Aloes, among many other regional credits), and Alexandra Van De Poel (The Prince of Egypt at TheatreWorks, A Christmas Carol at A.C.T.).
Everybody's creative team includes: Scenic Designer Nina Ball (whose previous designs for Cal Shakes include As You Like It, Othello, Twelfth Night, and The Comedy Of Errors); Costume Designer Naomi Arnst (Cal Shakes' All the Bay's a Stage touring productions of The Tempest and 12th Night; Santa Clara University's Legally Blonde, the Musical); Lighting Designer Xavier Pierce (Cal Shakes' black odyssey,The Glass Menagerie, and August Wilson's Fences ); and Sound Designer Jake Rodriguez (Hamlet and Nicholas Nickleby at Cal Shakes, Magic Theatre's Bruja, A.C.T.'s Rock and Roll, plus the world premieres of Passing Strange, The People's Temple, and Fetes de la Nuit at Berkeley Rep).
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's plays include Everybody (Signature Theatre; Pulitzer Prize-finalist), War (LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater), Gloria (Vineyard Theatre; Pulitzer Prize-finalist), Appropriate (Signature Theatre; Obie Award), An Octoroon (Soho Rep; Obie Award) and Neighbors (The Public Theater). A Residency Five playwright at Signature Theatre, his most recent honors include the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright from the London Evening Standard, a London Critics Circle Award for Most Promising Playwriting, a MacArthur fellowship, the Windham-Campbell Prize for Drama, the Benjamin Danks Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation Theatre Award, the Steinberg Playwriting Award, and the inaugural Tennessee Williams Award. He sits on the board of Soho Rep and, with Annie Baker, he is an associate co-director of the Hunter College MFA program in playwriting.
Nataki Garrett most recently served as Associate Artistic Director of Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company. Formerly the Associate Artistic Director of CalArts Center for New Performance (CNP), Nataki is a Company Member at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company a recipient of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors and a member of SDC. She is co-Artistic Director of BLANK THE DOG PRODUCTIONS (BTD) a LA/NYC based ensemble Theater Company, which is celebrating its 10th year and is dedicated to developing and fostering new work by emerging, adventurous and experimental artists. Her most recent BTD projects include Carolyn Bryant, which focuses on the decades-long silence of the woman for whom Emmett Till was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955. Additional BTD Productions include: Strom Thurmond is Not a Racist by Thomas Bradshaw; Week #29 of 365 Plays/Days by Suzan-Lori Parks; Machinal by Sophie Treadwell; and Ugly from the Front written and performed by Amanda Gunderson at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2005. Garrett recently directed a staged reading of Aziza Barnes' BLKS at Ojai Playwrights Conference. Other directing projects include Native Son by Nambi Kelly at Antaeus Theatre Company, and An Octaroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company and Mixed Blood Theater. In 2008 Garrett received a NAACP Theatre Award nomination for Best Director for Black Women State of the Union: An Evening of Plays by Black Women. She directed the first professional production of Neighbors by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, which received five Ovation nominations and was Winner of the Garland Award for Best Ensemble. She has directed in theaters across the country including Skylight Theatre Company, Pasadena Playhouse, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Mixed-Blood Theater, Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company, Martin E. Segal Theater, UT Austin, Dartmouth College, NYU Tisch School of the Arts and many more. She has worked internationally in Bellagio, Italy; Edinburgh, Scotland; Paris, France; and in Rwanda and Uganda. Her work can be heard on the radio through L.A. Theatre Works audio theatre collection and for NPR, recorded live at the Skirball Cultural Arts Center.
Single tickets for Everybody range from $20 to $92, with discounts available for seniors, youth, 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 2018 season is supported in part by the generosity of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, the Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation. The New Classics Initiative receives support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, and the MCJ Amelier Foundation Business partners include BART, Chevron, City National Bank, McRoskey Mattress Company, Meyer Sound, Peet's Coffee, and San Francisco Chronicle.
Founded in 1974, California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes), under the leadership of Artistic Director Eric Ting and Managing Director Susie Falk, is a nationally-recognized leader in drawing on the power of authentic, inclusive storytelling to create more vibrant communities. Serving more than 40,000 people annually, Cal Shakes invites people from all walks of life to make deeply-felt connections with our shared humanity through its work onstage, in schools, and with people in non-traditional settings throughout the Bay Area who have little or no access to theater. For more information, visit www.calshakes.org.