Category: Shakespeare

Oregon Shakespeare Festival receives $4.5-million donation

March 17, 2012 |  7:00 am

Screen Shot 2012-03-16 at 5.49.48 PM
As Shakespeare would say, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But the naming rights might cost you. 

Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced Friday that after a $4.5-million donation, the almost 80-year-old nonprofit will grant a group of donors the right to rename the New Theatre.

But the theater won't be named after the Goatie Foundation, Roberta and David Elliott or Helen and Peter Bing, who made the donation. They decided that it would be named after Peter Thomas, the late development director of the festival.

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Stratford Shakespeare Festival names new artistic director

March 12, 2012 |  1:08 pm


The Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada has chosen from within its own ranks for a new artistic director who will take the helm following the coming departure of Des McAnuff.

Antoni Cimolino, who has served as the organization's general director since 2006, is expected to take over the artistic reins of the festival starting with the 2013 season, the company announced over the weekend. Cimolino has a long history with Stratford, having acted in and directed numerous productions since 1988.

McAnuff announced his departure from the artistic director role in 2011. He had assumed the role in 2007, along with two other co-artistic directors, but internal clashes left McAnuff as the sole artistic director of the company.

Stratford's revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Jesus Christ Superstar," directed by McAnuff, has begun preview performances on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre before a scheduled opening March 22. (The revival had a run at the La Jolla Playhouse late last year before transferring to Broadway.)

McAnuff served as artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse from 1983 to 1994 and from 2001 to 2007.

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is a classical repertory company that presents works by the Bard as well as more contemporary pieces primarily during the summer months. It mounts performances at five venues around the city. Prominent alumni include Christopher Plummer, Maggie Smith and William Shatner.


What's next for Oscar nominees? Theater for some

Theater review: 'Jesus Christ Superstar' at La Jolla Playhouse

La Jolla's 'Superstar' cast same as Stratford's, minus Brent Carver

 -- David Ng

Photo: A view of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival grounds. Credit: Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

Steve Martin to score Shakespeare's 'As You Like It'

March 9, 2012 |  7:15 am


If all the world’s a stage, then Steve Martin might be one of its biggest talents. 

The comedian-actor-author-musician has been tapped to compose original folk-style music for the Shakespeare in the Park production of “As You Like It” at the Delacorte Theater June 5 to 30 in New York's Central Park.

If you think the Bard and twang don’t mix, director Daniel Sullivan has relocated Rosalind, Orlando and their enchanted Forest of Arden to the American South of the 1840s, complete with live bluegrass band. On stage, Lily Rabe will lead the cast as Rosalind. 

The banjo-strumming Martin won a Grammy for his 2009 debut bluegrass album “The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo” and was nominated again this year in the same category with his band the Steep Canyon Rangers, although this year the award went to Alison Krauss and Union Station.

After the ceremony, Martin took to Twitter to take stock of his still ample trophy collection writing, “Emmy: check. Grammy: check. Tony: eat me. Oscar: shove it. Pulitzer: who cares.”


Quick Chat: With Steve Martin

Art Review: 'Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings' at LACMA

Big show in New York, But Little in L.A. for Quake Benefit

--Jamie Wetherbe

Photo: Steve Martin. Credit: Sandee O / PBS

Theater review: 'Troilus and Cressida' at the Whitmore-Lindley

February 9, 2012 |  4:37 pm

Eliza Kiss, center, and the cast of "Troilus and Cressida."
In "Troilus and Cressida," those ever-audacious Porters of Hellsgate take on William Shakespeare's rarely produced Trojan War oddity. The results typify the assets and liabilities of both company and property.

Director Charles Pasternak has edited this multifarious play -- the third longest in the canon -- to just over 2 1/2 hours without losing narrative focus, a feat in itself. As is his wont, Pasternak uses the various levels of the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center to smart effect, starting with a riveting tableau vivant prologue led by Helen (Eliza Kiss), she of the thousand-ships-launching face.

Designer Jessica Pasternak has a costumer's field day, leather vests, khakis and diaphanous gowns turned Grecian/Trojan with clubster chic. The entire large cast brings admirable determination and physical abandon -- most notably Napoleon Tavale's Hector and Matt Calloway's Achilles -- to the Bard's study of Troilus (Alex Parker) and his seriocomic romance with Cressida (Taylor Fisher) amid the bloody seventh-year turnaround of the iconic conflict.

Conversely, the work's mix of humor, violence, politics and poetry is anomalous to the extreme. Many passages echo more celebrated plays -- Romeo and Juliet on the balcony, Henry V in his tent on the eve of battle, and so forth -- only to pale by comparison, and the prologue's power doesn't exactly sustain and build thereafter.

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Tour Charles Dickens' London with actor Simon Callow

February 7, 2012 |  9:02 pm

Ian Dickens, great-great-grandson of Charles, talks with actor Simon Callow
Simon Callow knows his way around the classics. Formerly a stalwart of the London stage (the Old Vic), he went on to roles in film adaptations of E.M. Forster's "A Room With a View" and "Howard's End," was Tilney, the master of revels, in the Oscar-winning "Shakespeare in Love," and played a popular character in that classic of romantic comedy, "Four Weddings and a Funeral."

Callow is singularly qualified to take on a giant of 19th century classics, Charles Dickens, who was born 200 years ago Tuesday. Callow has played Dickens in several British TV movies, and reprised the role on two episodes of "Doctor Who."

In this video for the Guardian newspaper, Callow takes viewers on a tour of Dickens' London, from a factory and a warehouse where he was a child laborer, to the offices of his magazine All the Year Round.

"It's remarkable how much of it remains intact," Callow says.

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Redlands Shakespeare Festival reports theft of swords

January 13, 2012 |  3:35 pm


What would the plays of Shakespeare be without sword fights? Duels are an integral part of "Romeo and Juliet" and "Hamlet" and it's hard to imagine "Henry V" and "Julius Caesar" without the clash of metal.

On Friday, the Redlands Shakespeare Festival sent out an email saying that thieves have made off with the festival's stock of medieval and Renaissance swords. The festival said that in all, more than 30 swords are missing along with an assortment of rapiers and other props.

The swords do not have sharp edges but they have sharp points and can be dangerous, according to the festival. Steven Sabel, the festival's founding artistic director, said in the email that swords "are an extremely valuable commodity to a Shakespearean company... we are scrambling to figure what we can do to make sure we have these essential props for our coming season."

He said the company's budget allows for the purchase of only a few swords each year. The festival estimates the loss to be around $3,000 and is asking people with information to contact the Redlands Police Department.

The company, located in San Bernardino County, presents free productions of Shakespeare's plays each May at the Redlands Bowl amphitheater. The 2012 season will feature stagings of "Richard III," "Much Ado About Nothing" and "The Two Gentleman of Verona."


Critic's Notebook: Who wrote 'Hamlet'?

'Anonymous' provokes skepticism from Shakespeare experts

Old Globe summer season includes Shakespeare, 'God of Carnage'

-- David Ng

Photo: A rendering of William Shakespeare. Credit: Stock Montage / Getty Images

Monster Mash: Broad Museum at MSU; World Trade Center site

December 9, 2011 |  7:50 am

A planned performing arts center to be designed by Frank Gehry for the former World Trade Center site in New York is in limbo

Appointment: The Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University has named its curator of contemporary art. (GalleristNY)

Uncertain future: A planned performing arts center to be designed by Frank Gehry for the former World Trade Center site in New York is in limbo as organizers await the creation of a board of directors. (Wall Street Journal)

Top secret: Coca-Cola is making its closely held formula part of a display at its corporate museum in Atlanta. But the formula itself will remain out of view. (Associated Press via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Still struggling: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has posted a $1.8-million deficit for 2011. (Detroit Free Press)

Monumental: The Art Institute of Chicago will project Andy Warhol's eight-hour "Empire" onto the Aon Building on Friday night. (Chicago Tribune)

Honored: Ralph Fiennes is to receive the Shakespeare Society Medal in New York. (Theatermania)

Popular: New York's New Museum is charging premium prices for admission to its Carsten Höller show. (WNYC)

Going under: A top venue operator for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival has gone bust. (The Stage UK)

Taking the high road: Playwright Tony Kushner has donated $100,000 to the City University of New York, even though the school blocked a decision to award him an honorary degree earlier this year. (Guardian)

Hard times: A town in China known for exporting stone carvings is suffering due to the European economic crisis. (Reuters)

Also in the L.A. Times: Playwright Lydia R. Diamond on race, class and Broadway's "Stick Fly."

-- David Ng

Photo: A view of the former World Trade Center site in New York. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Critic's Notebook: Who wrote 'Hamlet'?

November 19, 2011 |  9:00 am

Kevin Kline as Hamlet
Who was it that wrote “Hamlet” again?  Shakespeare, the 17th Earl of Oxford, some other Elizabethan scribbler or all of the above? 

Roland Emmerich's film "Anonymous" has raised the infamous authorship issue, arguing in favor of the Earl of Oxford.

While I’m decidedly in the Shakespeare camp, I think the issue is more complicated than the Shakespeare debunkers and defenders have let on.  Indeed, the "all of the above" option  might be closest to the truth.

To read my take on the matter in Sunday's Arts & Books, please click here. 


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Theater review: 'Bring It on'

Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie at the Geffen Playhouse

 — Charles McNulty\charlesmcnulty

Photo: Kevin Kline as Hamlet. Credit: Martha Swope

Theater actress among those arrested Thursday at Occupy LA

November 18, 2011 | 12:08 pm


On Thursday, police in downtown L.A. swooped in to arrest dozens of protesters from the Occupy LA  movement. Among those seized and hauled off to jail was Nancy Linehan Charles, a veteran theater actress and a leading member of L.A.'s Salty Shakespeare company.

The actress said in a phone interview Friday  that she was participating in the protests with her son, actor Will Rothhaar, when they were arrested by police, along with many others. She said she was arrested around 9:20 a.m. Thursday and was held in a downtown jail for nearly 13 hours before being released on bail.

Linehan Charles said the police "were perfectly nice and I learned everyone's first name. They would smile; I think they knew how ridiculous this was."

NancycharlesThe actress had been protesting in conjunction with Occupy L.A. during the past few weeks. Earlier this month, she and members of Salty Shakespeare marched around downtown shouting phrases from "Julius Caesar" and even playing a short scene from "Coriolanus."

Salty Shakespeare is a nontraditional theater company that performs impromptu scenes from the Bard's plays in public places.

While in jail Thursday, Linehan Charles said she performed snippets from "Othello" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" for her fellow detainees.

The actress, who lives in Santa Monica, said that she was bailed out with the help of the Service Employees International Union, which was involved with some of the day's protests in downtown and in other cities.

Linehan Charles has acted with many L.A. theater companies, including the Geffen Playhouse, the Pacific Resident Theatre, the Falcon Theatre and the Colony Theatre.


'Orchestrated' arrests in downtown L.A. protest, police say

Artists join Occupy LA movement at City Hall

Theater review: 'Island of Brilliance' at the Pacific Resident Theatre

-- David Ng

Photo: Top, police in downtown Thursday face off with protesters from Occupy LA. Credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters. Lower, Nancy Linehan Charles and Michael Tulin in a 1997 production of Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" at the Pacific Resident Theater.


Old Globe summer season includes Shakespeare, 'God of Carnage'

November 16, 2011 |  4:10 pm


The Old Globe's 2012 summer season will feature the West Coast debut of "Divine Rivalry," Michael Kramer's new historical drama about Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, as well as the San Diego premiere of "God of Carnage" by Yasmina Reza.

In addition, the company's annual summer Shakespeare Festival will feature repertory productions of "Richard III," "As You Like It" and "Inherit the Wind." Adrian Noble is returning as the festival's director and will stage the latter two plays.

"Divine Rivalry" (July 7 to Aug. 12) tells the story of a painting competition between Michelangelo and Leonardo, organized by Niccolo Machiavelli. The play, written by Kramer with D. S. Moynihan, debuted earlier this year at the Hartford Stage, directed by that company's outgoing director, Michael Wilson.

The Old Globe's production of "Divine Rivalry" will also be directed by Wilson.

Reza's "God of Carnage" (July 27 to Sept. 2) is a dark comedy about two pairs of parents squabbling over their respective sons who were involved in a playground fight. Richard Seer will direct the production. The play had its L.A. debut earlier this year at the Ahmanson Theatre.

The Shakespeare Festival will feature parallel productions of "Richard III" (June 3 to Sept. 29), "As You Like It" (June 10 to Sept. 30) and Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee's "Inherit the Wind" (June 17 to Sept. 25).

"Richard III" will be directed by Lindsay Posner.


Theater review: 'Somewhere' at the Old Globe

Old Globe loses director for 'Rocky Horror' revival

Executive producer Lou Spisto to leave Old Globe in San Diego

-- David Ng

Photo: The Old Globe campus in San Diego. Credit: The Old Globe


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