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Old Globe's summer season offers mad British kings, singing Chicago gangsters, late romance

November 1, 2009 |  1:59 pm

AdrianNoble(Ken Howard)"King me!" is what checker players love to shout, but it could also be a slogan this summer at the Old Globe in San Diego -- although both British kings on display, Shakespeare's legendary Lear and Alan Bennett's historical George III, will be spending much of their stage time non compos mentis. There's no word yet on who'll play the rulers; Adrian Noble, artistic director of the Old Globe's summer festival, will direct both of the monarchy plays.

On the lighter side, there's a new stage musical version of the 1964 movie musical, "Robin and the 7 Hoods," in which the Rat Pack teamed with der Bingle while singing songs by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jimmy Van Heusen. The show, with a book by Rupert Holmes, direction by Casey Nicholaw ("The Drowsy Chaperone," "Monty Python's Spamalot") has plans for a Broadway run after its July 14-Aug 22 premiere at the Old Globe. It includes the standards "My Kind of Town," "Call Me Irresponsible" and "All the Way."

In the film, whose songs are being augmented with others from the Cahn-Van Heusen catalog, Frank Sinatra played Chicago gangster Nicky Robino, who gets a reputation for helping the downtrodden by donating his ill-gotten loot to an orphanage directed by Bing Crosby, who signed on as one of the merry men along with Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.

MarionRoss Also new is "The Last Romance" (July 30-Sept. 5), Joe DiPietro's comedy about love blossoming between octogenarians. Playing the lovers in the show's West Coast premiere are Marion Ross, who was featured in the "Happy Days" TV series and whose long association with the Old Globe dates back more than 60 years, to when she was 18, and her real life romantic partner, Paul Michael.

"King Lear" (June 12 to Sept. 23) and "The Madness of George III (June 19-Sept. 24), will run in repertory with that Shakespearean comedy about who gets to be king or queen of the house, "The Taming of the Shrew" (June 16-Sept. 26). 

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-- Mike Boehm


Marion Ross on `Happy Days' and today

Old Globe grabs a Royal Shakespeare guy

Photos: Adrian Noble; Marion Ross. Credits: Ken Howard; Ann Johansson/For the Times