Humor, Romance Abound in Shakespeare in Love at South Coast Repertory
"Shall I Compare Thee to a...Something?"
COSTA MESA, Calif. —Romance, mistaken identities, ruthless scheming and backstage theatrics—served up with a generous dash of comedy—are at the heart of Shakespeare in Love, adapted by Lee Hall from the Oscar-winning film written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, with music by Paddy Cunneen. South Coast Repertory Artistic Director Marc Masterson directs the production on the Segerstrom Stage, Jan. 13-Feb. 10. Tickets are now on sale: www.scr.org.
“This is an epic love story about one of the greatest writers of love stories in the English language,” said Masterson. “It’s exciting to bring Shakespeare to life as a character in a play, because most of what we know about him is imagined. To see his character—his vulnerabilities, his sense of humor, his struggles with creativity, his ability to find inspiration and fall in love—come to life in this context offers a great way to humanize him.”
The story follows young Will Shakespeare (portrayed by Paul David Story), who is desperate. He has writer’s block and owes a new comedy to two demanding producers; what he has at the moment is a half-baked mess titled Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter. Enter his inspiration: Viola (Carmela Corbett). Smart, beautiful and Will’s greatest admirer, she will stop at nothing—including breaking the law—to be in his play. As their love blossoms, so does his greatest masterpiece.
Playwright Hall said, in an interview with The Telegraph, that Shakespeare in Love is about “love, loss, creativity, money, power, politics and slipping on banana skins. At its heart it’s a comedy and, I hope, a good night out. You could be a professor of Shakespeare or never have seen a Shakespeare play in your life and understand it. It opens its arms to everybody.”
Hall was a writer-in-residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1999. His adaptation of Goldoni’s The Servant with Two Masters was first staged at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1999. He also wrote the screenplay for Billy Elliot (1999), directed by Stephen Daldry, and received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. He co-wrote the screenplay for the film Pride and Prejudice in 2005 and adapted The Wind in the Willows for television in 2006.
Masterson said the ambitious scope of the production is compelling for him: the large cast, period costumes and the challenge of bringing it all together on stage.
In addition to Story and Corbett, the cast includes Ricky Abilez, Corey Brill, Bill Brochtrup, Stephen Caffrey, Alicia Erlinger, Bo Foxworth, Nick Gabriel, Matthew Henerson, Louis Lotorto, James MacEwan, Aaron McGee, William Francis McGuire, Elyse Mirto, Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper, David Nevell, Bing Putney, Adam Silver, Amelia White and Fleur Zanna, with musicians Alexander “Lex” Leigh and Scott Waara.
The design and creative team includes Ralph Funicello, scenic design; Susan Tsu, costume design; Jaymi Lee Smith, lighting design; Jeff Polunas, sound design; Annie Loui, choreography; Scott Waara, music director; David Nevell, vocal and dialect coach; Ken Merckx, fight director; and Joanne DeNaut, CSA, casting. The production manager is Joshua Marchesi, and the stage manager is Roxana Khan.
Shakespeare in Love has generous support from Honorary Producers Sandy Segerstrom Daniels and Jean and Tim Weiss. The Corporate Honorary Associate Producer is Haskell & White LLP. The media sponsors are Modern Luxury, ANGELENO and KCRW.
Tickets start at $26. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 25 years of age and under, fulltime educators, seniors and groups of 10 or more. For complete information, visit: www.scr.org.
Related Information for Shakespeare in Love
Tickets: May be purchased online at www.scr.org, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting the Box Office at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Performances run Jan. 13–Feb. 10. Ticket prices start at $26. Low-priced previews run Jan. 13–Jan. 18. SCR’s performances run Tuesdays-Sundays; there are no performances on Mondays.
- Previews run Jan. 13–18.
- Saturday, at 8 p.m., Jan. 13.
- Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday, at 7:30 p.m., Jan. 14, and Jan. 16–18.
- Regular performances run Jan. 20–Feb. 10.
Note: Friday, Jan. 19, is an invitation-only performance.
- Evening Performances:
- Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, at 7:30 p.m.: Jan. 21, Jan. 23–25; Jan. 28, Jan. 30–Feb. 1; and Feb. 4, Feb. 6–8.
- Fridays-Saturdays, at 8 p.m.: Jan. 20; Jan. 26–27; Feb. 2–3; and Feb. 9–10.
- Saturdays-Sundays, at 2:30 p.m.: Jan. 20–21; Jan. 27–28; Feb. 3–4; and Feb. 10–11.
- ASL-interpreted: Saturday, Feb. 3, at 2:30 p.m.
- Post-Show Discussions: Wednesday, Jan. 24, and Tuesday, Jan. 30. Discuss the play with cast members of Shakespeare in Love during free post-show discussions led by South Coast Repertory’s literary team. Segerstrom Stage.
- Inside the Season: Saturday, Jan. 27, from, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Led by members of SCR’s literary staff, this lively two-hour session includes in-depth interviews with cast members and artists from the production staff, revealing secrets and offering insights into SCR’s production of Shakespeare in Love. Segerstrom Stage. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.
- American Sign Language-interpreted: Saturday, Feb. 3, at 2:30 p.m.
Location: South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, at the Bristol Street/Avenue of the Arts exit off the San Diego (405) Freeway in the David Emmes/Martin Benson Theatre Center, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Parking is available on Park Center Drive, off Anton Boulevard.
Current and Upcoming Productions: A Christmas Carol adapted by Jerry Patch, through Dec. 24; Sugar Plum Fairy by Sandra Tsing Loh, through Dec. 24; Junie B. Jones is not a Crook by Allison Gregory, Jan. 26–Feb. 11 (Theatre for Young Audiences); Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee, March 4–25; SHREW! by Amy Freed, March 24–April 21; Little Black Shadows by Kemp Powers, April 8–29; The Sisters Rosensweig by Wendy Wasserstein, May 5–June 2; and Amos & Boris by William Steig, May 18–June 3 (Theatre for Young Audiences). The Pacific Playwrights Festival, a showcase of new works, runs April 21–22. More information is available at www.scr.org.
ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson, is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern theatre, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program, which includes the nation’s largest commissioning program for emerging and established writers. One-quarter of SCR’s 525 productions have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio. www.scr.org