California Shakespeare Theater Continues Its 45th Season With THE GOOD PERSON OF SZECHWAN
California Shakespeare Theater continues its 2019 summer season with The Good Person of Szechwan by Bertolt Brecht, translated by Wendy Arons and adapted by Tony Kushner, playing July 3 through July 21, 2019 at the Bruns Amphitheater. A Pay What You Can performance will be held on Wednesday, July 3. Tickets will be available starting at 10am on the day of the show through TodayTix and the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666.
In a city defined by "haves" and "have-nots," can a good person stay good even as their fortunes rise? And what does it even mean to be good? The Good Person of Szechwan is a fable for our times that challenges us to live within our contradictions.
Following last year's Shakespearean mega-cut The War of the Roses, Ting brings Brecht to Cal Shakes stage for the first time. "Without question, it's a timely story, an urgent story, that feels very much a conversation of where we are politically, socially, environmentally. The question it asks is (in sometimes ridiculous ways)-can one person really make a difference? And what are the consequences of those actions?" He continues, "In Kushner's extraordinary hands, Brecht's exploration of human decency becomes something delightful, something contemporary, something deeply searching and deeply human."
Critically-acclaimed Bay Area composer Min Kahng (The Four Immigrants: An American Musical Manga) makes his Cal Shakes debut with original music drawing inspiration from hip hop to Peking Opera.
Leading the cast is Bay Area native Francesca Fernandez McKenzie (she/her) making her Cal Shakes debut. Past credits include the Off-Broadway show Gloria: a Life directed by Diane Paulus; As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, and Othello among others at the Yale School of Drama.
Joining Mckenzie are Bay Area and Cal Shakes favorites Lance Gardner (he/him; currently in The Good Book at Berkeley Rep; War of the Roses, Everybody, Fences, You Never Can Tell, Othello at Cal Shakes), Margo Hall (she/her; black odyssey, Fences, Twelfth Night, A Raisin in the Sun at Cal Shakes), and Victor Talmadge (he/him; Everybody at Cal Shakes, Broadway's November, National Tours of The Lion King and The King and I, among many other regional credits). Also returning to the Bruns straight from the acclaimed A Midsummer Night's Dream are Cal Shakes veteran Anthony Fusco (he/him; Much Ado About Nothing, You Never Can Tell, Pygmalion, among many others for Cal Shakes) and Dean Linnard (he/him; Sleep No More in New York, Love's Labour's Lost, Three Musketeers, Twelfth Night at Marin Shakespeare Festival).
Performing at Cal Shakes for the first time are a number Bay Area locals and regional theater veterans: Armando McClain (he/him; Romeo and Juliet, Sense and Sensibility, The Odyssey, Antony and Cleopatra, among others at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Macbeth in Macbeth at Livermore Shakespeare), Lily Tung Crystal (she/her; co-founder of Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company, Tough Titty and Homeland at Magic Theatre, Cabaret at SF Playhouse, South Pacific at Mountain Play, Songs of the Dragons at Crowded Fire, and Chinglish at Portland Center Stage/Syracuse Stage), J Jha (they/them; Three Fat Sisters at Cutting Ball Theater; Straight White Men at Marin Theater Company; Hamlet, Pool of Unknown Wonders, Death of Salesman, Waiting for Godot at Ubuntu Theater Project), Phil Wong (he/him; resident artist at San Francisco Shakespeare Company where credits include The Winter's Tale and Taming of the Shrew; Kiss at Shotgun Players; The Four Immigrants: An American Musical Manga at TheatreWorks, and Killing My Lobster's 2017 holiday sketch comedy A Bag of Dickens, for which he received a TBA award nomination), Monica Lin (she/her; current MFA student at A.C.T, Noises Off at SF Playhouse, In Love and Warcraft at Custom Made Theatre, Crane at Ferocious Lotus Theatre, Don Quixote and Taming of the Shrew at Marin Shakespeare Theatre), and Sharon Shao (she/her; Iron Shoes at Shotgun Players, Hamlet and Pool of Unknown Wonders at Ubuntu Theatre, Stupid F*cking Bird at Ray of Light Theatre).
The Good Person of Szechwan's creative team includes Scenic Designer Michael Locher (he/him; whose previous designs for Cal Shakes include black odyssey, Fences, Winter's Tale, and Spunk), Costume Designer Ulises Alcala (Quixote Nuevo at Cal Shakes, Gangster of Love at Magic Theater, The Merry Wives of Windsor at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Don Pasquale, Le Nozze di Figaro, and many more at San Francisco Opera), Lighting Designer Jiyoun Chang (who has designed for Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Signature Theatre, Atlantic Stage, An Octoroon at Berkeley Rep, and whose previous designs for Cal Shakes include The War of the Roses and A Midsummer Night's Dream), Sound Designer Brendan Aanes (he/him; War of the Roses, Othello, The Glass Menagerie at Cal Shakes, The Unfortunates at A.C.T.), and Movement Director Natalie Greene (she/her; Bay Area teacher, director, choreographer, and Artistic Director for Mugwumpin; Women Laughing Alone at Shotgun Players, Wild Boy at Dragon Theatre among others).
Bertolt Brecht (playwright, 1898-1956) was a German playwright, theorist and founder of the Berliner Ensemble, known for his influence on modern theater. Prominent works include: The Threepenny Opera, The Life of Galileo, Mother Courage and Her Children and The Caucasian Chalk Circle.
Tony Kushner (playwright/adapter) is am American playwright best known for his Pulitzer-winning two-part epic, Angels In America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. His other plays include A Bright Room Called Day, Slavs!, Hydriotaphia, Homebody/Kabul, as well as the musical Caroline, or Change, and opera A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck, both with composer Jeanine Tesori. Kushner has translated and adapted Pierre Corneille's The Illusion, S.Y. Ansky's The Dybbuk, Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan and Mother Courage and Her Children, and the English-language libretto for the children's opera Brundibár by Hans Krasa. He wrote the screenplays for Mike Nichols' film of Angels In America, and Steven Spielberg's Munich. In 2012 he wrote the screenplay for Spielberg's movie Lincoln. His screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award, and won the New York Film Critics Circle Award, Boston Society of Film Critics Award, Chicago Film Critics Award, and several others. His books include But the Giraffe: A Curtain Raising and Brundibar: the Libretto, with illustrations by Maurice Sendak; The Art of Maurice Sendak: 1980 to the Present; and Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict, co-edited with Alisa Solomon. His recent work includes a collection of one-act plays entitled Tiny Kushner, and The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures. In addition, a revival of Angels in America ran off-Broadway at the Signature Theater and won the Lucille Lortel Award in 2011 for Outstanding Revival.
Kushner is the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, an Emmy Award, two Tony Awards, three Obie Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, an Olivier Award, two Oscar nominations, an Arts Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a PEN/Laura Pels Award, a Spirit of Justice Award from the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a Cultural Achievement Award from The National Foundation for Jewish Culture, a Chicago Tribune Literary Prize for lifetime achievement, the 2012 National Medal of Arts, the 2015 Lifetime Achievement in the American Theater Award, the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, and the the 2019 Dramatists Guild Foundation's Madge Evans & Sidney Kingsley Awards, among many others. He is the subject of a documentary film, Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner, made by the Oscar-winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mo.
Eric Ting (he/him; Director) is an Obie Award-winning director and was appointed Artistic Director of California Shakespeare Theater in November of 2015. Deeply committed throughout his career to the development of new and diverse voices for the theater, Eric has directed plays (many of them world premieres) by the 1491s, Lauren Yee, Sam Hunter, Aditi Kapil, Kimber Lee, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Laura Jacqmin, Kenneth Lin, Kristoffer Diaz, Anna Deavere Smith, Toshi Reagon and many others. His work has been seen at Manhattan Theatre Club, Soho Rep, The Public Theater, Berkeley Rep, ACT, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens, Denver Center, Seattle Rep, Williamstown Theatre Festival, A.R.T., Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Hartford Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, BAM Next Wave, Cincinnati Playhouse and the Alliance Theatre; as well as internationally, including Singapore, France, Canada, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Holland, UAE and Bali.
Single tickets for The Good Person of Szechwan range from $20 to $94 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.
The Good Person of Szechwan is supported by Art Works from the National Endowment of the Arts. California Shakespeare Theater's 2019 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. Corporate partners include City National Bank, Meyer Sound, and Peet's Coffee.