Cal Shakes to Launch 40th Season with All-Female TWELFTH NIGHT, Running 2/20-3/2

California Shakespeare Theater will launch its year-long 40th anniversary celebration in February 2014 with William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in the company's first-ever performance tour to community settings throughout San Francisco and the East Bay. A co-production with San Francisco-based Intersection for the Arts, Twelfth Night will be directed by Michelle Hensley, Artistic Director of Minneapolis-based Ten Thousand Things, one of the country's most highly regarded classics-based theaters.

Hensley will bring Shakespeare's tale of love, romance, and mistaken identities to a variety of community locations, reaching groups of all ages that have little access to the arts. Tour sites in San Francisco include Central City SRO Collaborative, OpenHouse, and Woolf House; East Bay sites include Alameda County Juvenile Detention Center, Berkeley Food and Housing Project, Civicorp, Eastside Arts Alliance, and Youth Uprising. The production will also have ten low-cost public performances at Intersection for the Arts.

"I love the way Twelfth Night explores how falling in love can be an escape from enormous pain, while at the same time taking a clear look at the not always happy consequences of abandoning reality and reason to plunge into love's delirium," says director Hensley. "Shakespeare performed the tale with a single-sex cast, so I wanted to find out what would happen if the cast was only women instead of only men."

"This production deepens Cal Shakes' commitment to making it possible for everyone, regardless of age, circumstance, or background, to discover the depth and joy of Shakespeare's work," says Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone. "The Public Theater's Artistic Director Oscar Eustis calls Michelle a 'National Treasure,' and his was the first Theater to adopt her unique approach of stripping Shakespeare down to its most human essence, performing in intimate settings for non-traditional audiences. I am happy to say we are the second in the country, and I hope others follow suit, and we, in the American Theater, continue to share the great works of Shakespeare and other classic writers with as many people, from all walks of life, as we can reach."

As artistic director and founder of Ten Thousand Things, Michelle Hensley has directed and produced more than 40 TTT shows. Most have made local critics annual Top Ten lists, and many times been named Outstanding Small Theater Production or the Outstanding Small Theater Musical of the Year by the Star Tribune. She was Best Director in the Twin Cities for City Pages in 2010, 2006 and 2004, and in 2010 for MN Monthly, and the 2005 winner of the Francesca Primus Prize, given by the American Theater Critics Association for outstanding contribution to the American theater by an emerging female artist.

The cast of this production includes Cal Shakes Associate Artists Nancy Carlin as the straight-laced Malvolio and Orsino's servant Valentine, Catherine Castellanos as Olivia's cousin Sir Toby Belch, Joan Mankin as Toby's sidekick, Andrew Aguecheek; Maria Candelaria, recently seen in Cal Shakes and Campo Santo's world premiere of Luis Alfaro's Alleluia, the Road, as Olivia; TCG Fox Resident Actor Fellow Cindy Im as the twins Viola and Sebastian; Rami Margron, last seen in Cal Shakes' Lady Windermere's Fan and MTC's Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol, as the love-struck duke, Orsino, and the gentlewoman, Maria; and Sarita Ocón, who appeared in SF Playhouse's Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, as the clown Feste and Sebastian's friend, Antonio.

A limited amount of tickets are available for members of the public to attend community performances at select locations. Contact Cal Shakes Community Participation Coordinator Sonya Taylor at 510.548.3422 x115 or to inquire.

Public performances of Twelfth Night will be held Thursdays-Sundays, February 20-March 2, at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco. Evening performances begin at 8pm; there will also be two Sunday matinees at 2pm on February 23 and March 2. Tickets are $20 each, available online at or by phone at 510.548.9666. Seating is limited; reservations are strongly encouraged.

This production of Twelfth Night is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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