Shakespeare & Company Opens May 27
Complete Season Schedule
By: Bard - Dec 17, 2010
Shakespeare & Company’s announces news of a hugely successful and near record-breaking box office for its 2010/11 season.
Artistic director, Tony Simotes, has a preview of his exhilarating and ambitious line-up for the Company’s 34th Performance Season (his second as A.D.). Productions for the upcoming season include 3 Shakespeare shows, Tina Packer ’s new series Women of Will: The Complete Journey (Parts I-V), the return of the side-splittingly funny The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Santaland Diaries, and a handful of other equally exciting titles, which have been carefully chosen to round out the season. This season will feature several veteran S&Co. actors and directors, including Jason Asprey, Elizabeth Aspenlieder , Kevin G. Coleman, Jonathan Croy, Jonathan Epstein, Nigel Gore, Malcolm Ingram, Dennis Krausnick , Corinna May , Annette Miller , Tony Simotes , Daniela Varon and Kristin Wold, who will join the Company’s roster of talented artists celebrating its 34th Season.
The 197-seat Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, part of the Bernstein Center for the Performing Arts, will open the Company’s summer season with a high octane line-up of shows featuring Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer and her irreverent Women of Will: The Complete Journey (Parts I-V). Eric Tucker returns to direct Packer and acting partner Nigel Gore in W.O.W, which previewed to sold-out houses during its world premier and limited run in 2010. Up next is British playwright Shelagh Stephenson’s heartwarming and poignant comedy The Memory of Water, directed by Kevin G. Coleman (A Winter’s Tale 2010, The L adies Man 2008, Rough Crossing 2006, Director of Education and Company actor) and featuring audience favorites Elizabeth Aspenlieder , Corinna May , Annette Miller and Kristin Wold (others TBA). The popular L unch Box Shakespeare series presents one of Shakespeare’s earliest comedies with The Two Gentlemen of Verona directed by Dennis Krausnick (Director of Training, Company actor and playwright) and featuring the energetic Performance Intern Company.
On its heels is the witty and sometimes controversial Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins by Margaret Engel and sister Allison Engel, with Tina Packer playing the irrepressible Molly Ivins. The outdoor Rose Footprint Theatre and Bankside Festival will feature a classic French farce (TBA) along with a full line-up of free, fun and kid-friendly special events and shows for the entire family to enjoy! (See below for details).
Founders’ Theatre, the Company’s 413-seat Mainstage work-horse will be operating in high gear this season with 3 shows running in repertory on its newly reconfigured stage (it will move from its current proscenium staging to a thrust configuration). Shakespeare’s romantic comedy As You L ike It, directed by Tony Simotes , opens Founders’ and features a cast of 16 including Merritt Janson (Desdemona, Othello 2007 & 2008, and Viola, Twelfth Night 2009) as Rosalind, other actors TBA. On its heels is one of Shakespeare’s best loved and timeless love stories, Romeo and Juliet, directed by Daniela Varon (Sea Marks, Taming of the Shrew, Martha Mitchell Calling…) and featuring up-and- coming star Finn Wittrock as Romeo (recently seen as one of television’s bad-boy heart-throbs on All My Children, Wittrock spent much of his youth at S&Co., performing in Very Young Company, Young Company and Mainstage productions). Romeo and Juliet also features 16 players, many of whom will double into As You L ike It. And bringing up the ‘hind’ (so to speak) of the Founders’ summer season is The Hound of the Baskervilles, the outrageously funny hit of fall 2009, also directed by Simotes and featuring the same outlandish cast of Jonathan Croy, Josh Aaron McCabe and Ryan Winkles . Hound actors will also double into As You L ike It.
The Fall & Winter line-up includes the award-winning The 39 Steps by Patrick Barlow, a film-noir burst of hilarity, wit and craft featuring 4 actors playing between 100 and 150 roles. The 39 Steps was a smash hit when it premiered in 2005 at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and continues to play to sold-out houses in L ondon ’s West End . The Holiday show brings back the current and critically-acclaimed production of The Santaland Diaries directed by Tony Simotes and featuring funny-man Peter Davenport in his bravura performance. And the winter show will once again warm audiences funny bones with Moliere’s quick wit, humor and finesse with The L earned L adies directed by Tina Packer . All three shows will perform in the Bernstein. See upcoming release for specific dates and times.
Note: All casts, titles, dates and times are subject to change. Rights pending. Don’t panic. We’re just trying to cover our bases and don’t anticipate any changes. We write this every year in case you were wondering :).
TICKETS AND DISCOUNTS
SAVE BIG NOW! Purchase our “3 for 99 Deal” and get any three productions of your choice during the 2011-12 Season for just $99. The “3 for 99 Deal” makes a GREAT GIFT IDEA all year long. Purchase your “3 for 99 Deal” by January 31st and get a BONUS ticket to The Two Gentlemen of Verona in the Bernstein. Contact the Box Office at (413) 637-3353 or email email@example.com for details or to order your “3 for 99 Deal” today! Please note the “3 for 99 Deal” is available for a limited time only, excludes Saturday evening performances and cannot be combined with any other discounts.
Tickets for the 2011-2012 season may be purchased on or after January 5th on-line at: www.shakespeare.org or by calling the Box Office at (413) 637-3353, or in person at 70 Kemble Street , L enox Ma. Ticket prices range from $10 to $85, with multiple discounts from 10-50% off regular ticket prices and are available for Groups, Students, Seniors, Teachers and the Military. And once again our very popular 40% Off Berkshire County Discount will be available. Both Founders’ and Bernstein theatres are wheelchair accessible and hearing-aid assisted. To learn more about the season, discount availability, to order tickets or request a season brochure, visit www.shakespeare.org
For Group bookings, parties, and special event rental information and details contact David Joseph , Director of Sales & Group Tours, at (413) 637-1199 ext. 132 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
After winding down the Company’s summer offerings and in the midst of its successful holiday season, Shakespeare & Company’s Tony Simotes takes stock of his first full season as Artistic Director. Below, Simotes expounds on the exciting and robust season which lies ahead for Shakespeare & Company.
“I am extremely proud of the entire Company for pulling off such an unprecedented and impressive summer, fall and Holiday season,” says Simotes. “And I have to admit, I have been enjoying rolling up my sleeves and digging into the planning of our upcoming 2011/2012 season. Although we are still nailing down the casting and some of the scheduling, I am very happy with where we are at this stage of the game.
“I am extremely appreciative of my staff, artistic crew, board of directors, and overseers for their support and team work, especially over the past few months, during which we have been wrestling with budgets, season titles, and planning.
"While looking at titles for this year’s season, it became clear to both my artistic team and myself that this was the season to focus on celebrating the power of the human spirit. I have never been more convinced of our strength as a Company, and the importance of family, friends, community and artistic expression. Personally, this has been a very challenging year with my battle with cancer, and I am happy to say I WON. I am finding myself not only turning a new page in my life history, but the history of the Company.
"Like many other cultural organizations, we were hit hard with the recession. And on top of that, we also had our own internal financial struggles to tackle while running one of the largest Shakespeare Festivals in North America . Part of our strategy for getting back on track financially at Shakespeare & Company involves doing more for less, as well as being creative in our budgeting, planning and daily work schedules. I didn’t want to select a season that would jeopardize the quality of our productions and performances, and so with that in mind, we have a roster of plays that I think our audiences will really enjoy. We wanted to bring our audience members a season of light, love, comedy, and hope, and so we are rousing up some of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies, romances, and one of the greatest love stories in the canon. I am also very excited to bring titles that are new to the Company, which will be performed in the Bernstein Theatre. It is my hope that these robust, thought-provoking, and even controversial selection of plays will ignite conversation and stir the imagination.
"Perhaps most importantly, I want to continue to get the word out that Shakespeare & Company is a fiscally responsible, thriving organization. After a year and a half of tight budget cuts, layoffs, pay reductions and restructuring, we have risen like a phoenix out of the ashes. Now, it’s all about identifying the ways we can fulfill our mission while maximizing our income. When it comes to the experience we offer our patrons, or the joy in the faces of the students we work with, or the inspiration of the actors who come here from around the world to train—in short, our impact on our communities—we are proud of what we do, and think we do it very well. But now is the time to be absolutely certain we’re also doing it well from a financial and organizational standpoint. This is the same approach we took with our 2010/2011 season, and we are taking again with the 2011/2012 season. We want to continue to reinforce our mission of bringing new works, new voices and artists to our stages, while exploring the timeless words, wisdom and world of Shakespeare; words that consistently illuminate our own lives, our humanity, and the deeper meaning of what it is to act, to be alive, and to dream.”
Simotes continues to work with his staff and artists to finesse the Company's 2011/2012 season offerings, while the holiday production of The Santaland Diaries (a hilarious one-man show based on the David Sedaris essay, directed by Simotes and featuring the multi-talented Peter Davenport) continues to pack the houses and play to critical-acclaim. For tickets, information and to receive a Fall & Winter brochure visit www.shakespeare.org.
Managing Director Nicholas J. Puma Jr. adds, “Much to my delight this past season was a big win for us. Not only were our productions, performances and artists given both local and national critical acclaim but our big news is our hugely successful box office and attendance. We are currently at $1,281,349.50 in box office revenue which breaks last year's box office and brings us up to a whopping 23.4 percent ahead of sales last year at this time and we still have 2 more productions to go (box-office revenues contribute about 30 percent to the Company's total annual operating budget). We are also tipping over 52,000 in attendance, a record for us and with this combination of sales and attendance, it puts us on-track to top our biggest box-office revenue in the history of the Company when we officially close our 2010/11 season in March with The Mystery of Irma Vep. During this past year we also completed our $10 million Capital Campaign with a final Kresge Challenge grant that helped close the gap in reaching our goal. Being able to refinance our mortgage this past year and streamline our policy structures, the Company continues to operate more effectively and efficiently. It certainly is a time for celebration both on and off stage but also a time to continue to be fiscally and artistically responsible. Onwards and upwards.”
2011 Summer Season At A G l ance
As You L ike It
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Artistic Director Tony Simotes
Featuring: Merritt Janson as Rosalind. Other cast members TBA.
Founders’ Theatre: June 24—September 4
Press Opening: Friday, July 1 at 7:30pm
“I can suck melancholy out of a song as a weasel sucks eggs.” - II.v
Before he is sufficiently mauled by the ‘hounds’ of the Baskervilles, Artistic Director Tony Simotes will take on Shakespeare’s romantic and pastoral comedy As You L ike It, along with a 16 member cast who will ignite the stage as they kick-off Founders’ summer repertory season. A full-bodied experience of the many faces of love, As You L ike It takes the audience on a fabled journey into the Forest of Arden , where anything can happen and does! Simotes may have let the ‘hounds out’, but there is still plenty of mistaken identity, mayhem, music, song, dance, crazy antics and fun to be had with his production of As You L ike It. By turns enchanting and mysterious, hilarious and heartbreaking, this enigmatic tale has long beguiled audiences with its story of miraculous transformation and the enduring strength of family ties. An ideal play for the whole family, this startling and original adventure is not quite a comedy, not quite a tragedy, but one hundred percent Shakespeare.
Romeo and Ju l iet
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Daniela Varon
Featuring: Finn Wittrock as Romeo. Other cast members TBA
Founder’s Theatre: July 8—September 3
Press Opening: Friday, July 15 at 7:30pm
“With loves light wings did I o’er-perch these walls, for stony limits cannot hold love out.”- II.ii
Romeo and Juliet brings audiences one of Shakespeare’s best-known tales of ill-fated lovers onto the boards along with director Daniela Varon (last year’s sleeper hit Sea Marks, the world-premier of Martha Mitchell Calling, The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, and Collected Stories to name a few) who returns to direct a stalwart troupe of 16 actors on this stunning journey of familial woe, love, jealously, and a tragic cascade of events that forever defines these lovers as ‘star-cross’d.’ Full cast and schedule TBA.
The Hound of the Baskervi l l es
By Steven Canny and John Nicholson
Directed by Tony Simotes
Featuring: Jonathan Croy, Josh Aaron McCabe and Ryan Winkles
Founder’s Theatre: July 21—September 4
Press Opening: Friday, July 22 at 7:30pm
The Hound of the Baskervilles is a delectable treat for those summer patrons who weren’t able to catch it in the fall of 2009, when it made its American Premier at S&Co., and a chance for those who did to come back for another howling good time! Buckle up: the “boys” are at it again! Take one beloved story which really needed no elaboration (let’s be honest), add three actors playing sixteen characters, a few fake beards, plenty of cross-dressing and a host of bad British accents, and you get S&Co.’s uproariously funny take on The Hound of the Baskervilles. The same shameless trio of actors who made this new play into a huge hit unmercifully catapults Simotes (whether he likes it or not) back into the directors’ chair as he buckles up for more mayhem than you can shake a paw at. Jonathan Croy returns as the bumbling yet adorable ‘straight-man’ Dr. Watson (the only one who doesn’t wear a skirt in the show…yet), Josh Aaron McCabe as the heady, handsome Sherlock Holmes (and the frighteningly attractive flamenco dancer Cecile), and Ryan Winkles as the sometimes lamb-butchering Scotsman (aka, Sir Henry) — and please keep in mind “…it’s not a REA L lamb!” It is truly a wild and wooly romp that takes one of the most popular Sherlock Holmes tales and ruins it—umm, we mean, turns it inside out—stuffing it with endless laughs as it barrels forward at a breakneck pace. This madcap adventure is great for the Sherlock Holmes novices, and will be only mildly offensive to the hardcore purists…we hope. (NEXT)
E l ayne P. bernstein Theatre:
Women of Wi l l : The comp l ete journey (Parts I-V)
By Tina Packer
Directed by Eric Tucker
Featuring: Tina Packer and Nigel Gore
May 27— July 10
Press Openings: Part I: Thursday, June 2nd at 8:00pm; Part II: Friday, June 3rd at 8:00pm; Part III: Saturday, June 4th at 3:00pm; Part IV: Saturday, June 4th at 8:00pm; Part V: Sunday, June 5th at 3:00pm
“And speak I will; I am no child, no babe.”- The Taming of the Shrew, IV.iii
A true tour de force of performance, discussion, and just a bit of crowd participation, Women of Will is the much-anticipated, masterful summation of Tina Packer ’s 40-odd years of deep investigation into all things Shakespeare. Director Eric Tucker returns to join forces once again with Founding Artistic Director Packer and her equally talented acting mate Nigel Gore, giving the trio another chance to stretch their iambic muscles as they limber up with a limited run this summer of Women of Will: The Complete Journey (Parts I-V). Packer is also in the midst of negotiating a national tour for the series which will take both her and Gore on the road for most of the Fall & Winter of 2011 & 2012. This not-to-be-missed extravaganza features the fully expanded, five-part version of Packer’s opus, performed in an intimate setting. This is a priceless opportunity to explore the depth of Shakespeare’s work with Shakespeare & Company’s visionary founder.
The Two Gent l emen of Verona
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Dennis Krausnick and presented by S&Co.’s Performance Intern Company
Featuring: Cast TBA
Bernstein Theatre: July 6 — September 3
Press Opening: Saturday, July 9 at 12:45 pm
“Oh heaven, but man were constant, he were perfect!” - V.iv
A continuation of the very popular Lunchbox Shakespeare tradition, where patrons can purchase a lunch before the show to compliment their bite of Bard, this lively production is presented by the young actors in Shakespeare & Company’s professional actor training program—The Performance Intern Company.
Shakespeare’s earliest romantic comedy about adolescent love, The Two Gentlemen of Verona explodes onto the Bernstein stage with the youthful exuberance of the Performance Intern Company. Dennis Krausnick , Director of the Center for Actor Training at S&Co. will guide the group of 10-16 young and talented actors as they bring their training onto the stage with The Two Gentlemen of Verona. An early example of the Elizabethans’ love of language, swordplay, physical prowess and inquiry, The Two Gentlemen of Verona was first performed in 1594-1595. Take two boys from Verona (Valentine and Proteus) have them both fall in love with the same girl (Silvia), add in the complications that one of the boys (Proteus) is already engaged to another girl (Julia), and the fact that his new love’s daddio (the Duke of Milan) has plans for her to marry someone else (Thurio), and then throw an extra twist into the mix with one of the girls (Julia) disguises herself as a man and sneaks off to Milan …are you following this? The result is an action-packed, hilarious romantic comedy wherein − after a series of mishaps, misunderstandings and mayhem − love wins out and all is righted in the world again.
Note: The Performance Intern Company is a competitive, summer-long immersion in actor training and performance led by Krausnick and S&Co.’s master teachers. Internships are a valuable and popular route taken by many young performers looking to take the next step in their careers and offer an opportunity for the best and brightest young actors to gain professional theatre experience straight out of drama school. Participants work 6 days a week in rehearsals which include, voice, movement, Elizabethan dance, sonnet, text and fight work. They also understudy many of the roles in both the Mainstage and Bernstein productions, and can be seen this coming summer on the Rose Footprint Theatre in one of the many family-friendly and FREE Bankside offerings. Cast and schedule TBA.
The Memory of Water
By Shelagh Stephenson
Directed by Kevin G. Coleman
Featuring: Elizabeth Aspenlieder , Corinna May , Annette Miller , Kristin Wold and others TBA.
Bernstein Theatre: June 16—September 4
Press Opening: Saturday, June 18, 8:00pm
“Can you feel nostalgia for something that never existed?” – The Memory of Water
A huge hit in the Company’s popular and annual new works celebration The Studio Festival of Plays this past September, The Memory of Water is a this moving and hilarious comedy that follows three sisters (Teresa, Mary and Catherine) as they come together for their mother's funeral, and re-examine the foggy events of the past. In remembering their mother, each sister has a different opinion of what truly happened, and it isn’t long before their hidden lies and betrayals are finally revealed.
Yet, even as the sisters drift around their own islands of memory, they yet are unified by their familial bond. This point is driven home when their soon-to-be buried mother returns to haunt her three daughters, pushing them to resolve their differences before she is laid to rest. A poignant black comedy, The Memory of Water is a lucid examination of the relationships between mothers, daughters, and sisters.
Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Mo l l y Ivins
By Margaret Engel and Allison Engel
Directed by TBA
Featuring: Tina Packer
Bernstein Theatre: August 3—September 4
Press Opening: Friday, August 5 at 8:00pm
“My legacy will be helping folks be a pain in the ass to those in power.”- Molly Ivins
“I write and do these things because I can’t help myself, but most of it’s just back-talk I wish I’d said to my father.”
- Molly Ivins
A fiercely independent newspaper columnist, Molly Ivins never tired of advocating for marginalized Americans and railing against the interests of big oil and untrustworthy politicians. A champion for the people and a beer drinker to boot, Molly Ivins was a force to be reckoned with and her spirit shines in this one woman show. “I just finished reading the play again,” says Packer. “What I am left with is: Drinkin’, jokin’ and telling the truth were the 3 loves of Molly Ivin’s life (if you don’t count her father, Bob Bullock and the newspaper business). Her dog’s name was Shit, her college was Smith and she put the Shrub in George W. Bush.”
Bankside Festiva l :
Revo l utionary Moments
Monday, July 4, Noon
The Declaration of Independence is preceded again this year by Revolutionary Moments, a special collection of vignettes compiled by Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer and featuring S&Co. actors. Part performance, part narration, part discussion, Revolutionary Moments highlights the influence of Shakespeare on some of history’s most fascinating figures at key moments of decision. Not to be missed!
The Dec l aration of Independence
Monday, July 4, 3pm
Bankside Meadow. Free!
Celebrate a revolutionary weekend! Our free, ever-popular reading of the Declaration of Independence features some of the most stirring words of political rhetoric ever written, spoken out loud by S&Co. actors and special guests from the community. Filled with music, barbeque, sweets and treats, this jubilant summer event is always a huge hit, and drew nearly 1,000 patrons last year.
Shakespeare & Young Company
Rose Footprint Theatre: August 17 and 19, 5pm
$15 adult/ free for ages 18 and under
No writer has captured the powerful emotions of adolescence better than Shakespeare. In his words, youth spring eternal. Join our Young Company actors as they perform Shakespeare’s works with a fierce and fiery temperament, exploring their passion for friendship, love, justice, and hope.
Studio Festiva l of P l ays
Founders’ Theatre: September 5, 11am—11pm
Suggested donation: $16 per performance
The Studio Festival provides a rare chance to see cutting edge works in an informal setting, with Company artists presenting one-time staged readings of some of the most exciting new work around. Many Studio Festival plays are under consideration for future seasons; past plays that have gone on to celebrated full productions include this year’s The Memory of Water plus Mengelberg and Mahler, Golda’s Balcony, Martha Mitchell Calling and A Tanglewood Tale, to name a few.
Wednesday Q&A Sessions
Wednesdays, July 13—August 24
Included with ticket price for each performance
Our productions are bound to get you talking. But why not include Company actors in your post-show conversation? Join us for these performances and enjoy an informal Q&A with the actors. Have a nagging question you’ve been dying to ask since intermission? Here’s your chance!
July 6 following Two Gentlemen of Verona
July 13 following The Memory of Water
July 20 following Romeo and Juliet
July 27 following The Memory of Water
August 3 following The Rose Footprint Performance
August 10 following As You L ike It
August 18 following The Hound of the Baskervilles
August 24 following The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins
Behind the Scenes Tours
10am on Wednesdays and Saturdays, July 2—September 3
Tours begin at Josie’s Place in Founders’ Theatre
$10 adults/$5 aged 18 and under
Our popular Backstage Tours return! These two-hour adventures take you through the inner workings of Shakespeare & Company. Explore the behind-the-scenes workings of the costume shop, armory, backstage areas, and more. You’ll also get an insider’s view of the nuts and bolts that underpin a day in the life at the height of our season.
Eat L ike Fa l staff!
Founders’ Theatre Tent: Every Saturday in July and August, 5:00pm to 7:30pm
Just $30 per person, including your choice of beverage!
Join us for a fabulous meal that is sure to satisfy even the heartiest of appetites. Our new Executive Chef Ron Werth uses the freshest and most delectable ingredients in all of his inventive dishes. This is the perfect way to take the evening air while enjoying our stupendous views and an in-between meal, while perhaps rubbing elbows with hungry S&Co. artists filling up before or after their performance. Order 24 hours in advance to guarantee availability; walk-ups are welcome on a space-available basis. Check out the website for up to date menus and to reserve your meal from the Box Office , (413) 637-3353 or www.shakespeare.org