Palo Alto Players Presents SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE

Palo Alto Players continues its 2018-19 season with the Peninsula premiere of Lee Hall's stage adaptation of Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman's 1998 Oscar-winning film, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. Set against the backdrop of mistaken identity, ruthless scheming, and backstage theatrics, the romantic romp imagines the fictional love affair between William Shakespeare and the woman that inspires him to write his first great masterpiece. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE is directed by Theatre Bay Area Award-winning director Lee Ann Payne (Palo Alto Players' The Laramie Project), and features a cast of 21 local Bay Area actors. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE runs January 18 through February 3 at the Lucie Stern Theater, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. For information or tickets, visit paplayers.org or call 650.329.0891.

Young playwright Will Shakespeare is stuck. He is overdue in finishing his latest play, a half-baked mess of a comedy called Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter. He finds his muse in Viola de Lesseps, who is driven to do anything, even disguise herself as a man, to fulfill her dream of performing onstage, where no women are permitted. Surrounded by familiar players, including Queen Elizabeth herself, backstage antics collide with on stage dramas, as Will and Viola's passionate, forbidden love affair goes on to inspire Shakespeare's masterpiece, the most romantic tragedy ever written. Adapted from the Oscar-winning film, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE is a warm and witty romance filled with music and farcical characters. Variety called it a "big-hearted hit."

Lee Ann Payne returns to Palo Alto Players to direct SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. For Palo Alto Players, she has directed The Laramie Project (TBA Award winner) and choreographed A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine. Recent credits include The Producers (direction and choreography) at Cabrillo Stage, and The 1940's Radio Hour and Assassins (TBA Award finalist) at Los Altos Stage Company. Payne is also a performer with local companies such as TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, San Francisco Playhouse, 42nd Street Moon, and Jewel Theatre Company. She's the Deputy Director of the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.

"I was attracted to direct SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE because I am a huge fan of the movie," says Director Lee Ann Payne. "It was charming, well-written and dealt with many themes that still resonate today. Themes like how hard it is to make theater, the lengths that a woman might go to to fit into a man's world, and how art can imitate life. Fans of the movie will appreciate that it's quite similar to the film, but there are a few liberties and changes that improve it for the stage. There is dancing, and singing, and swordfights, and Shakespeare - and love! And, a bit with a dog. But mostly this is a story about the triumph of theatre against all odds."

Payne directs a cast of 21 local actors. The SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE cast features (in alphabetical order):

Tilney, Nol: Shawn Andrei

Henslowe: David Blackburn

Ned Alleyn: Seton Chiang

Wessex: Jeff Clarke

Viola de Lesseps: April Culver

Sam: Kyle Dayrit

Adam, Gregory: Arturo Dirzo

Ralph, Nurse: Alex Draa

Webster: Kristin Hall

Tybalt, Peter: Mohamed Ismail

Will Shakespeare: Drew Benjamin Jones

Nurse: Melinda Marks

Mistress Quickly: Jessica Maxey

Fennyman: Joey McDaniel

Wabash: David Paigen

Kate: Gwyneth Price Panos

Queen Elizabeth: Doll Piccotto

Marlowe: Brad Satterwhite

Burbage: Thomas Times

Molly: Stephanie Whigham

Boatman, Robin: Todd Wright

The creative team includes music direction by Lauren Bevilacqua, fight choreography by Kyle McReddie, scenic design by Scott Ludwig, lighting design by Edward Hunter, costume design by Patricia Tyler, properties design by Rachael Devlin, sound design by Jeff Grafton, makeup and hair design by Gwyneth Price Panos, and stage management by Rivka Kelly.

Tickets for SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE can be purchased online at paplayers.org, by phone at 650.329.0891, or by visiting the Box Office (Tuesday through Friday, 11am - 4pm) at the Lucie Stern Theater, located at 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. Performances at the Lucie Stern Theater begin on January 19 and continue through February 3, with a paid preview performance on January 18. Performance times are Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Ticket prices range from $25 to $52. Discounts for seniors, educators, patrons under 30 (including children/students), and military are available for all performances except preview night. Special discounts for groups of 10 or more are also available.

Events taking place during the run of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE include:

Opening Night AfterGlow Party

Saturday, January 19

Enjoy a post-show champagne reception with drinks and appetizers while meeting the cast, FREE with the purchase of a ticket for that evening's performance.

Post-Show Talkback

Thursday, January 24

Enjoy our Talkback series with Director Lee Ann Payne and members of the cast following the performance, FREE with the purchase of a ticket for any performance during the run.

In cooperation with The City of Palo Alto, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE and the shows of the 88th Season of Palo Alto Players are produced at the Lucie Stern Theater, located at 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto, California. Use of this facility is made possible through support from The City of Palo Alto, Community Services Department, Division of Arts and Sciences, and from our patrons.

About Palo Alto Players

Founded in 1931, Palo Alto Players is the San Francisco Peninsula's first theatre company. Based at the Lucie Stern Theater, built explicitly for Palo Alto Players in 1933, Palo Alto Players produces a season of comedies, dramas, classics, and musicals from September to June. Audiences and participants come from all over the Bay Area to be a part of

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