Cal Shakes News

Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone Named First-Ever Recipient of Zelda Fichandler Award 12.7.09

Bay Area arts leader honored for “transforming the regional arts landscape
through his singular creativity and artistry.”


California Shakespeare Theater Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone has been named the inaugural recipient of the Zelda Fichandler Award by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF), the not-for-profit foundation of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). The award, which carries with it a $5,000 cash prize, was presented on Sunday, December 6 at SDC’s 50th anniversary west coast celebration by Gordon Davidson, founding artistic director of Los Angeles’s Center Theatre Group,

“I am a little stunned and very honored to get this award.  I am grateful to SDC for recognizing the work of those of us in the regional theater, and I hope to do well by this award, and to live up to ideals of Zelda Fichandler as I continue my work at California Shakespeare Theater,” said Mr. Moscone.

Named after Zelda Fichandler, one of the founders of the American regional theater movement, the Award recognizes an outstanding director or choreographer who is transforming the regional arts landscape through his singular creativity and artistry in theater.  It heralds both accomplishment to date and promise for the future, and artistic vision and deep investment in a region outside of New York. It was established as part of SDC’s current 50th anniversary season is SDCF’s first award devoted to regional theater, where the majority of professional theater directors and choreographers in the United States now work.

The Award will serve as a complement to the “Mr. Abbott” Award, presented annually in New York to recognize lifetime achievement, and the Joe A. Callaway Award, given for excellence in direction and choreography in non-Broadway productions in New York.  The three awards are the only awards given to theater directors and choreographers by their peers.

The Award will be given regionally on a rotating basis.  This year it was awarded to a director or choreographer who has made and who continues to make a significant contribution to theater in the Western region (which comprises Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming).  In subsequent years the Award will honor achievement in three other designated regions: Central, Eastern, and Southern.

Zelda Fichandler dedicated her early career to the establishment of America’s regional theater movement.  In 1950 she founded Washington D.C.’s Arena Stage and in 1968 she produced The Great White Hope, which became the first production to transfer from a regional theater to Broadway, winning the Tony and the Pulitzer Prize, and launching the careers of James Earl Jones and Jane Alexander.  Her production of Inherit the Wind toured Soviet St. Petersburg and Moscow and Arena Stage was the first American theater company sponsored by the State Department to do so.  When Ms. Fichandler retired as producing artistic director of Arena Stage in 1990, she had achieved the longest tenure of any non-commercial producer in the annals of the American theater.  Ms. Fichandler is Chair Emeritus of New York University’s acclaimed graduate acting program. She has received the George Abbott Award, The Acting Company's John Houseman Award, the Margo Jones Award, and the National Medal of Arts, and in 1999 she became the first artistic leader outside of New York to be inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

Founded in 1965, Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation exists to foster, promote and develop the creativity and craft of stage directors and choreographers.  SDCF’s goals are to provide opportunities to practice the crafts of directing and choreography; to gather and disseminate craft and career information; to promote the profession to emerging talent; to provide opportunities for exchange of knowledge among directors and choreographers; and to increase the awareness of the value of directors’ and choreographers’ work.

Stage Directors and Choreographers Society is a national theatrical labor union whose mission is to foster a national community of professional stage Directors and Choreographers by protecting the rights, health and livelihoods of all of its members; to facilitate the exchange of ideas, information and opportunities, while educating the current and future generations about the role of Directors and Choreographers and providing effective administration, negotiations and contractual support.
 


Rent our costume shop! 11.24.09

The Cal Shakes costume shop is available for rental, now through March. We are looking for theater groups who have need of a fully functional, professional costume shop that includes four industrial sewing machines, two sergers, a blind-hemmer, and five home sewing machines, three standard cutting tables, two industrial irons and ironing Tables, wig/craft room, laundry facilities, and fitting room. Costume stock is also available to rent for an additional fee.

Please contact Production Manager Jean-Paul Gressieux at 510.548.3422 x123 or jpgressieux@calshakes.org for pricing and availability.

California Shakespeare Theater hails our “Local Hero”
11.2.09

Claire
Pictured: Managing Director Susie Falk, Development Coordinator Darcy Brown-Martin, Director of Artistic Learning Trish Tillman, and local hero Claire Stoermer; photo by Jay Yamada.

California Shakespeare Theater is proud to announce that Claire Stoermer, the Theater’s long-time house manager and a Bay Area educator, has been named a “Local Hero” by Bank of America at a recent ceremony at the historic Oakland Rotunda in downtown Oakland. The award, part of the bank’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, recognizes individuals who contribute significantly to the health of their communities, and includes a $5,000 donation which each Local Hero is able to direct from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to an eligible nonprofit of their choice. She has chosen Cal Shakes’ Artistic Learning programs as her beneficiary.

“While Claire’s work at Cal Shakes has kept her out of the spotlight, we are thrilled that the Bank of America Charitable Foundation is giving her the recognition she so richly deserves,” commented Cal Shakes Managing Director Susie Falk. “It is only due to the conviction of teachers like Claire that we are able to keep arts education alive in the schools; her students are so fortunate to have her as their advocate. We thank Bank of America for recognizing one of our own, and thank Claire for this generous gift.”

An Orinda native, Claire Stoermer lives in Oakland and has taught for 20 years in some of the city's most underserved public schools. She is a passionate and creative advocate for expanding and deepening her students' educational opportunities, especially in the areas of environmentalism and the arts. Each year she takes her students on a four-day, three-night science retreat at rustic Camp Gualala in Sonoma County, a trip for which she personally raises the necessary funds through private donations for each child’s participation. Her students learn environmental stewardship and service learning through exercises such as writing and filming a PSA on composting, which students bring home on DVDs and distribute to residents in their neighborhoods.

Claire has been an ardent promoter of arts education at Fruitvale Elementary via collaborative classroom residencies with Cal Shakes. Since 2004, she has facilitated expansion of the program into additional classrooms at Fruitvale, reaching more than 1,000 students and realizing marked increases in their vocabulary and reading fluency. Claire is also instrumental in nurturing a new generation of artists and art appreciators; her students leave school having seen as many as four professionally produced Shakespeare plays, and her own 12-year-old daughter is actively (and successfully) pursuing a career as an actress while completing her elementary education.
 
Since introducing Neighborhood Excellence Initiative (NEI) in 2004, Bank of America has invested $22.5 million throughout the state to help nonprofits increase their long-term viability and most recently to help sustain them during this challenging economic environment. The three areas of the Initiative include Neighborhood Builders®, a competitive award program recognizing community organizations in each of 45 markets that set themselves apart, are active visionaries, have strong leaders, and create vibrant neighborhoods; Local Heroes, a program which recognizes 5 community heroes in each of 45 markets, allowing recipients to direct contributions to qualified nonprofits/charitable organizations of their choice; and Student Leaders®, exemplary high school juniors and seniors with a passion for improving their communities.



Associate Artist L. Peter Callender has been named artistic director of African-American Shakespeare Company
10.20.09

Longtime California Shakespeare Theater Associate Artist L. Peter Callender has been named the new artistic director of San Francisco's African-American Shakespeare Company. The Juilliard-trained Callender, seen this season as Montague/Apothecary in Romeo and Juliet, will start his new job with the 15-year-old company in May.

Read more: www.african-americanshakes.org



A Midsummer Night’s Dream Cast and Creative Team Announced
9.9.09

Doug Hara (Puck), Keith Randolph Smith (Oberon), and Pegge Johnson (Titania) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream;photo by Kevin Berne.


We are proud to announce the cast and creative team for the final production of our 35th anniversary season, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Aaron Posner, in his company debut. One of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, this marks the first coproduction between Cal Shakes and Two River Theater Company in New Jersey, where Posner serves as Artistic Director. This thoroughly magical production will play at the Bruns Amphitheater September 16 through October 11, and then move to New Jersey for a limited run.

“This is one of my favorite plays and it’s a total joy to return to it, particularly with such an amazing group of artists,” says Posner. “I directed it about 10 years ago and was very pleased with the production, but it has been amazing to come back to it and realize how much it has changed for me. I have grown. The world has changed. And of course, like any great classic story, the play now feels wonderfully different. So that is exciting.”

The cast for Cal Shakes’ Midsummer is a rich blend of exciting newcomers to the Bruns stage, with some of the Bay Area’s finest comic actors playing the Rude Mechanicals. Danny Scheie, most recently seen as the crazed Emperor of Rome in Berkeley Rep’s You, Nero, plays Bottom; Patty Gallagher and Dan Hiatt (Winnie and Willie, respectively, in Cal Shakes’ Happy Days) appear as Quince and Snout, Associate Artist Joan Mankin plays Snug/Philostrate, Lance Gardner portrays Flute, and Ted Barker plays Starveling. The human and fairy royalty are played by Keith Randolph Smith (Oberon/Theseus), and Pegge Johnson (Titania/Hippolyta) in their Cal Shakes’ debuts; the young lovers are played by Lindsey Gates (Helena), Avery Monsen (Lysander), Richard Thieriot (Demetrius), and Erin Weaver (Hermia), with Dan Hiatt as Hermia’s father, Egeus. Doug Hara, ensemble member of Chicago’s Lookingglass Theater, plays the mischief-maker, Puck.

Posner has assembled a team of talented designers to create Midsummer’s dreamlike world. The electric-blue setting will be crafted by Brian Sidney Bembridge, who was named one of the top nine emerging designers in North America Entertainment Design magazine. Internationally-acclaimed costume designer Olivera Gajic—who exhibited a production of Midsummer for the Julliard School at the Prague Quadrennial—will clothe the characters in Shakespearean garb with a touch of the avant-garde. Peter West returns to light up the Bruns stage, a task he did to much acclaim for Cal Shakes’ 2003 production of Much Ado About Nothing. Chicago-based sound designer Andre Pluess, who provided the eclectic soundscapes for Cal Shakes’ Romeo and Juliet (2009) and Twelfth Night (2008), will create the sounds of Midsummer’s forest and court, enhanced by the musical talents of the cast.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream begins previews Wednesday, September 16, opens Saturday, September 19, and runs through Sunday, October 11.  Single tickets range from $32-$68, with discounts available for seniors, students, persons age 30 and under, and groups. Prices and artists subject to change. For information or to charge tickets by phone with VISA, MasterCard or American Express, call the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666. Additional information and online ticketing are available here.


Replacement Cast Announced For Cal Shakes’ Happy Days
7.31.09
We are happy to announce that Patty Gallagher will take over the role of Winnie, Samuel Beckett’s eternal optimist, in Happy Days, directed by Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone. Ms. Gallagher will replace Marsha Mason, who withdrew from the production because of personal reasons.

Two of Cal Shakes' most beloved Associate Artists will also appear in the production; Joan Mankin will serve as understudy and will appear as Winnie at performances on August 25-27 and September 1-3.  As previously announced, Dan Hiatt will play Winnie’s famously monosyllabic husband, Willie.

"I am so sad not to have Marsha with us on this project anymore, but I am genuinely thrilled to have Patty Gallagher step in and make this role her own,” says Jonathan Moscone. “She is an exceptional actor and is going to make something beautiful for us.  And to have Associate Artist Joan Mankin understudying and being able to go on at certain performances is another blessing. Our entire company of staff and artisans are working day and night with these exceptional actors, including Dan Hiatt, to bring Beckett's glorious, complex work to life."

THE ARTISTS
Patty Gallagher (Winnie) is Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at University of California Santa Cruz where she directs courses in physical theatre, mask, Balinese dance, and clown traditions. She is Director in Residence for the Clown Conservatory, San Francisco School of Circus Arts. She holds a doctorate in Theatre from University of Wisconsin–Madison. She has performed clown and buffoon with Teatro Cronopio and studied in Laboratorio Grupo Malayerba. She has worked with the New Pickle Circus, Fool Time Circus, Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Ripe Time, San Francisco Circus and the Weird Sisters Ensemble. She has performed and directed workshops in Asia, South America, Europe, and the U.S., and recently was a Fulbright Scholar in Quito, Ecuador. She is a founding member of Local Hero, a physical theatre ensemble. With The Rogue Theatre, she has conducted workshops with the Rogue ensemble for Endymion and performed the roles of Shen Te in The Good Woman of Setzuan, Ranevskaya in The Cherry Orchard, Winnie in Happy Days, and Sonnerie and Scarron in Red Noses. Dr. Patty Gallagher’s participation as Artist in Residence in The Rogue Theatre’s 2007–08 season was supported by the UC Santa Cruz Committee on Research and its Arts Research Institute.

Dan Hiatt (Willie) appeared at Cal Shakes in 2008 as the title character in Uncle Vanya, for which he won a BATCC Award; previously as the Duke of Buckingham in Richard III, Straker in Man and Superman, Hermocrates in The Triumph of Love, Touchstone in As You Like It, Newman Noggs in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Gonzalo in The Tempest, Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, Dorn in The Seagull, Sergius in Arms and the Man, and many others. Other credits include Happy End, The Rivals, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, and The Cherry Orchard at A.C.T.; Dinner with Friends and Menocchio at Berkeley Rep; The Immigrant and A Flea in Her Ear at San José Rep; Regional theater credits include Seattle Rep, Arizona Theatre Company, The Huntington Theatre, Studio Arena Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Ford’s Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and Stage West in Toronto.

Joan Mankin (understudy/Winnie at select performances) has appeared at Cal Shakes in An Ideal Husband, Uncle Vanya, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, A Winter’s Tale, Much Ado About Nothing, The Comedy of Errors, and Henry IV. Most recent credits include Government Inspector (A.C.T), the title role in Mrs. Crachit's Wild Christmas Binge (SF Playhouse), and Henny in Bosoms and Neglect (Aurora Theater) for which she won a Bay Area Critics Circle Award. She was in the Los Angeles production of the Tom Waits/ Richard Wilson/William Burroughs collaboration Black Rider and in the Thick Description/San Jose Stage production of Octavio Solis' Gibraltar. She has been a company member of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, The Dell’Arte Players, and Pickle Family Circus. She is currently on the faculty of the Clown Conservatory of SF Circus Center.

Happy Days begins previews Wednesday, August 12, opens Saturday, August 15, and runs through Sunday, September 6.  Single tickets range from $32-$68, with discounts available for seniors, students, persons age 30 and under, and groups. Prices subject to change. For information or to charge tickets by phone with VISA, MasterCard or American Express, call the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666. Additional information and online ticketing are available here.




The Critics Love Noël Coward’s Private Lives, Directed by Mark Rucker
7.17.09
Cal Shakes Associate Artist Mark Rucker (Twelfth Night, Richard III) directs the second production of our 35th anniversary season, Noël Coward’s Private Lives, and the critics are loving this scorchingly smart romantic comedy.

"The laughter flows easily throughout Mark Rucker's staging of the ever-popular Private Lives.…A beautifully tuned acting ensemble keeps the emotions as alive as the fast-flying punch lines in the tempestuous romance of a couple who can't live with or without each other," writes Robert Hurwitt in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Pat Craig of the Contra Costa Times calls it “A wickedly funny evening," continuing, "The actors are more than up to the hilarity, all of them adapting the requisite insouciance with a delightful aplomb, and polishing their comedy skills like well-tended Sterling."

"Director Mark Rucker finds the rough, complicated edges in Private Lives through the precise performances of [Diana] LaMar and [Stephen Barker] Turner," writes Marcus Crowder of the Sacramento Bee.

Private Lives runs through August 2 at the Bruns Amphitheater. Click here for more information; to charge tickets by phone with VISA, MasterCard or American Express, call the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666, or click here to buy tickets.



Ignite Your Imagination at the Cal Shakes Costume Shop Sale
7.16.09
The California Shakespeare Theater costume department has just completed a huge reorganization of its inventory. The results are a better organized collection, and tons and tons of costumes, wigs, and accessories, to be sold to the public at thrift-store prices—for a few days only.

Come browse 35 years’ worth of hats, armor, capes, Renaissance and Tudor, unique modern pieces—a little bit of everything! Perfect for Burning Man, Renaissance Faires, Halloween, and what-have-you.

What: Cal Shakes Costume Shop Sale
When: Thursday, August 6–Sunday, August 9, 11am–6pm
Where: Cal Shakes Rehearsal Hall, 701 Heinz Ave., West Berkeley
(Just a few blocks west of San Pablo and north of Ashby)
Info: 510.548.3422 x131 or narnst@calshakes.org

Jonathan Moscone on KALW Thursday
7.9.09
Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone will be the guest on KALW's Open Air program with Alan Farley today from 1-1:30pm; you can catch the interview on the radio at 91.7FM or via streaming audio online here.

First Public Event for The Steinbeck Project
6.23.09
Steinbeck Project ReadingThis Friday, June 26, at 3:30pm Cal Shakes and Word for Word Performing Arts Company (a project of Z Space Studio) invite the public to an open-process reading of Octavio Solis’ play-in-progress The Pastures of Heaven, a New Works/New Communities adaptation that will premiere on the Bruns Main Stage in 2010. This reading of three of the stories that comprise the play-in-progress—those of Miss Morgan, Tularecito, and the Lopez sisters—at the Ashby Stage will be the culmination of the latest Steinbeck Project workshop, and will feature live music by Cascada de Flores. Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone directs.

The tentative cast of the reading is as follows:

Mrs. Whiteside/ensemble – Nancy Carlin*
John Whiteside/ensemble – James Carpenter*
Bert Munroe/ensemble – Dan Hiatt*
Franklin Gomez/Molly’s mother/ensemble – Stephanie Hunt*
Miss Martin/Pat Humbert/ensemble – Amy Kossow
Manny Munroe/Bill Whiteside/ensemble – Avery Monsen*
Tularecito/ensemble – Alex Morf* (pictured, right)
Pancho/Molly’s father/ensemble – Michael Torres*
Miss Morgan/ensemble – Cat Walleck* (pictured, left)

This event is open to the public, and seating is limited. Please follow RSVP directions below.

Members at the Stage Manager ($500+) level and above may reserve up to three seats in the front members-only section by contacting Beth Sandefur at 510.548.3422 x125 or bsandefur@calshakes.org by June 23.

Nonmembers should RSVP to Tony Castellano at 510.548.3422 x101 or tcastellano@calshakes.org by June 23 to guarantee seats.

The Pastures of Heaven has been selected as a National Endowment for the Arts Distinguished New American Play as part of the NEA New Play Development Program, hosted by Arena Stage. The Steinbeck Project is underwritten by generous support from numerous individual donors and: steinbeck funder logos

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.



Private Lives Cast and Creative Team Announced
6.22.09
Private Lives
We are proud to announce the cast and creative team for the second production of our 35th anniversary season, Noël Coward’s Private Lives, directed by Associate Artist Mark Rucker. Brash but sophisticated lead Elyot Chase will be played by Rucker’s fellow Associate Artist, Stephen Barker Turner, who has portrayed such diverse roles on the Cal Shakes stage as the titular character in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby and Count Orsino in Twelfth Night. Diana LaMar—a frequent player in CENTERSTAGE’s Shakespeare productions who has appeared locally at A.C.T. (The Real Thing) and Berkeley Rep (The Beaux’ Stratagem)—makes her company debut as Amanda, the glamorous, impulsive woman who Elyot cannot live with or without. Two familiar faces from this season’s Cal Shakes production of Romeo and Juliet, Sarah Nealis (Juliet) and Jud Williford (Mercutio) appear in Private Lives as Elyot and Amanda’s confounded new spouses. And rounding out the cast is the charming, French-fluent Liam Vincent—Paris in Romeo and Juliet—as the butler Louis.

Once again showing her award-winning flair for creating interiors on our outdoor stage, Annie Smart (An Ideal Husband, Man and Superman, The Tempest) will design Private Lives’ Paris apartment and adjacent oceanfront hotel balconies, creating what Rucker calls “one of the more intimate spaces I’ve seen at the Bruns.” Katherine Roth, who previously designed costumes for Cal Shakes’ 2006 production of As You Like It, returns to create Private Lives’ sumptuous, circa-1930s fashions. Sound design for Private Lives will be created by Jeff Mockus, who created the rural soundscape of Uncle Vanya, the repressed hush of An Ideal Husband, and the sounds of Pericles’ many lands. Associate Artist Scott Zielinski (An Ideal Husband, Othello, Macbeth) is the production’s lighting designer, Cal Shakes Resident Fight Director Dave Maier will choreograph the lovers’ glass-shattering spats, and Associate Artist Lynne Soffer is the text and vocal coach.

Private Lives runs July 8–August 2 at the Bruns Memorial Amphitheater. Single tickets start at $20. For information or to charge tickets by phone with VISA, MasterCard or American Express, call the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666. Groups of 10 or more call 510.809.3290. Additional information and online ticketing is available here. Photo: Diana LaMar (AMANDA PRYNNE), Jud Williford (VICTOR PRYNNE), Stephen Barker Turner (ELYOT CHASE) and Sarah Nealis (SIBYL CHASE); photo by Kevin Berne.


The critics are enthusiastic about Jonathan Moscone's Romeo and Juliet
6.3.09

"Hot-blooded passions permeate the stage."
San Francisco Chronicle
Read the full review

"Cal Shakes captures epic heartbreak.…We tend to remember the love part first; only later do we recall the tragedy that befalls these oh, so very young lovers. And that is what makes the characters, played by Alex Morf and Sarah Nealis in the California Shakespeare Theater production that opened Saturday, so achingly bittersweet.... Morf and Nealis deliver stunning performances."
Contra Costa Times
Read the full review

"What makes this production truly connect is Moscone’s choice to make Romeo and Juliet believable teenagers. From the first moments of the show, when we see young Montagues and Capulets with skateboards, iPods and cell phones ... it’s clear that this is a fresh, youthful take on the story. When we meet Romeo (Alex Morf), he’s lovelorn and sappy, sick with love for a girl who has rebuffed him. He lays it on pretty thick, which is why it’s so fun to see his Vespa-driving compatriots Benvolio (Thomas Azar) and Mercutio (Jud Williford) having so much fun at his expense."
Theater Dogs
Read the full review

“It's a combination of great casting and deft stage direction that allow Moscone to wring all the dramatic tension out of this play.”
—East Bay Express
Read the full review


Cal Shakes to Receive NEA: Shakespeare for a New Generation Grant 5.6.09
As mentioned in the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday, we were thrilled to learn last week that we are one of 37 theater companies that will receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to participate in Shakespeare for a New Generation. This is the fourth time Cal Shakes has been awarded this important grant, which provides us with $25,000 and spans the period between June 2009 and May 2010. In addition—thanks to our New Works/New Communities activities with Write to Read—we are one of only six organizations in the country to receive additional funding of $15,000 to participate in a newly-established partnership between the NEA and the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Part of the NEA’s Shakespeare in American Communities initiative, Shakespeare for a New Generation targets middle and high school students, introducing young people to the power of live theater and the masterpieces of William Shakespeare. Managed by Arts Midwest, the program already has benefited more than one million students and their teachers with live performances and educational activities. Cal Shakes will present five Student Discovery Matinee performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Aaron Posner, with accompanying educational activities, to at least 1,175 middle and high school students from 21 or more underserved schools throughout the Bay Area and the rural areas of the northern Central Valley of California. These students represent an increase of 24% over the Theater’s fall 2008 program, comprising 40% of all middle and high school students attending in 2009.

The additional grant, which is supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, will allow Cal Shakes to expand the reach of its Shakespeare for a New Generation program activities to youth involved with the juvenile justice system. Cal Shakes’ program builds on its long-term relationship with Alameda County Library’s Write to Read (W2R) program, a program which offers a variety of programs for incarcerated youth in Juvenile Hall, including artist visits and book talks to illuminate literature and history, and to inspire literacy. The NEA grant will expand and deepen the scope of Cal Shakes’ relationship with W2R to lead ongoing Shakespeare-based workshops in performance and writing for up to 50 participants in the fall of 2009, and up to 75 participants in the spring of 2010. It will develop and lead two extended residencies for 32 youth serving longer sentences, structured around the development of a final performance piece featured on Cal Shakes Main Stage at the Bruns Amphitheater. In addition, the youth and chaperones of Juvenile Hall’s Camp Sweeney will attend select performances of Midsummer, and participate in pre-show workshops exploring the play’s plot, themes, and language.

Learn more about our Student Discovery Matinees and other educational programs here and about our New Works/New Communities programs here.



Romeo and Juliet Cast and Creative Team Announced
4.23.09
romeo and julietWe are proud to announce the cast and creative team for the opening production of our 35th anniversary season, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Recent A.C.T. M.F.A. grad Alex Morf (Twelfth Night, Pericles) and Sarah Nealis (An Ideal Husband, Pericles) play the titular lovers. Cal Shakes Associate Artist Catherine Castellanos will portray Juliet’s nurse and Lady Montague, with fellow Associates James Carpenter and Julie Eccles as the Capulets, L. Peter Callender as Montague and the Apothecary, and Dan Hiatt as Friar Laurence.  Liam Vincent, last seen at Cal Shakes in 2008’s Twelfth Night, will play Paris, Jud Williford (A.C.T.’s War Music and Rock n’ Roll) portrays Mercutio, and Craig Marker (most recently seen in Shotgun Players’ Macbeth and The Story at SF Playhouse) will take on the role of Tybalt. Julian Lopez-Morillas—whose history with Cal Shakes stretches back to 1977—will return to the Bruns stage as the Prince. Others in the cast include Thomas Azar (Benvolio), Nick Childress (Gregory), Avery Monsen (Sampson/Balthasar), and Patrick Lane (Abram); rounding out the ensemble are Matt Hooker, Omoze Idehenre, and Marilet Martinez.

Neil Patel—set designer for Cal Shakes’ groundbreaking production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, whose recent credits include the Broadway productions of [title of show], and Sideman, and the HBO series In Treatment, returns to create an Italianesque urban landscape. Raquel M. Baretto, who designed the 2008 BATCC Award-winning fashions of Cal Shakes’ Uncle Vanya, will create the show’s contemporary Italian style. Sound design for Romeo and Juliet will be created by Andre Pluess, an Artistic Associate at Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre who designed the soundscape for Cal Shakes’ 2008 production of Twelfth Night, as well as Berkeley Rep’s recent production of Arabian Nights. Russell H. Champa (Pericles, The Triumph of Love, Man and Superman) is the production’s lighting designer, Cal Shakes Associate Artist Nancy Carlin is the text coach, Associate Artist MaryBeth Cavanaugh is choreographer, and Resident Fight Director Dave Maier serves as fight choreographer, helping the men in the cast live dangerously with stilettos and butterfly knives.

Romeo and Juliet runs May 27-June 21 at the Bruns Memorial Amphitheater. Single tickets start at $20 and go on sale to the public on May 1. Season packages and group tickets (10+) are available now. For information or to charge tickets by phone with VISA, MasterCard or American Express, call the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666. Additional information and online ticketing is available at www.calshakes.org



Marsha Mason Talks Happy Days
to the New York Post
4.17.09
marsh masonEarlier this week, four-time Oscar-nominated actress Marsha Mason spoke to the New York Post about Impressionism, NYC vs. New Mexico, and making her Cal Shakes debut this summer. “This summer I'm going to do Samuel Beckett's Happy Days at the California Shakespeare Theater, and that's going to be fascinating.” Read the whole article—which was also picked up by Broadway Worldhere.



rakestraw Rakestraw Books Event Raises
$1500 for Cal Shakes
4.17.09
Last week, Jonathan Moscone, Associate Artists Ron Campbell and James Carpenter, and more than 100 Shakespeare fans and book lovers celebrated the opening of Rakestraw Books’ new location. Campbell and Carpenter read a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and $1500 was raised for Cal Shakes’ Artistic Learning programs.

Pictured: Cal Shakes Development Director Jim Huntley; Denise Del Becarro; Jonathan Moscone; Board member Edward Del Beccaro; photo by Michael Barnard.


Jonathan Moscone on Love,
Regrets, and the ’09 Season
4.13.09
jonathan mosconeLast week, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a fascinating and illuminating profile of Jonathan Moscone, wherein Cal Shakes’ charming and fearless Artistic Director discussed our 2009 Main Stage season; the play that he’s collaborating on with Tony Taccone for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival about his father, the late Mayor George Moscone; his takes on love, regret, and childhood aspirations; and more. Read the piece in its entirety here.

gala flamenco

Gala Flamenco
Photos in the News
4.13.09
You can read a wrap-up of our wildly successful 14th annual fundraiser, Gala Flamenco—and see festive photos—in 7x7 Magazine’s “The Bigelow Report”. And more colorful pictures are available in the online pages of Diablo Magazine.




Cal Shakes Wins Multiple Critics’ Circle Awards
3.24.09
The winners of this year's BATCC awards have been announced, and Cal Shakes' production of Uncle Vanya has garnered five awards in the "Theaters over 300 seats - Drama" category: Best Production; Best Principal Performance, Male for Dan Hiatt; Best Supporting Performance, Male for Andy Murray; Best Director, Timothy Near; and Best Sound Design, Jeff Mockus.

As reported previously on this page, two special awards were bestowed upon Cal Shakes’ associates: Hiatt was honored with The Barbara Bladen Porter Award, “presented to an active, mid-career member of the theatre community”; and former Cal Shakes Managing Director Debbie Chinn received the Gene Price Award, specifically recognizing her “Bay Area audience development for Shakespeare,” and for “guiding the organization into the black.”

In addition, TheatreWorks’ production of Caroline, or Change—featuring longtime Cal Shakes Summer Theater Program participant Zendaya Coleman—won several awards in its category.

The complete list is available on the Theatre Bay Area website http://www.theatrebayarea.org/programs/bacc2008.jsp.


Cal Shakes Nominated for Multiple Critics’ Circle Awards
3.12.09

Nominations were announced this week for 2008’s Outstanding Awards from the San Francisco Bay Theatre Area Critics Circle, and California Shakespeare Theater productions were heartily represented in the “Theatres over 300” Drama category. Both An Ideal Husband and Uncle Vanya were nominated in the category of Entire Production, and the directors of both shows—Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone and Timothy Near, respectively—received Critics Circle nominations for direction.

Cal Shakes Associate Artist Dan Hiatt has been nominated for Principal Performance, Male for his turn as Uncle Vanya’s titular character, and in the Principal Performance, Female category, Stacy Ross was nominated for her portrayal of the villainess Mrs. Cheveley in An Ideal Husband. For Supporting Performance, Male, Associate Artist Andy Murray was nominated for his role as Dr. Astrov in Uncle Vanya; for Supporting Performance, Female, Associate Artist Domenique Lozano has been nominated for her multiple roles in Pericles¸ as was  Annie Purcell for her portrayal of Annie in Vanya. And the entire cast of Pericles, directed by Joel Sass, has been nominated in the Ensemble category—this includes Cal Shakes Associate Artists Ron Campbell, Lozano, and Danny Scheie.

Vanya received recognition for nearly every technical aspect, as well: Erik Flatmo was nominated for his tilted-in, wide-open set; Jeff Mockus got a nod for that show’s realistically rural sound design; and York Kennedy was nominated for Vanya’s lighting design. And in the Costume Design category, Raquel M. Barreto received a nomination for the globe-trotting, fantastical Pericles.

And finally, two special awards were bestowed upon Cal Shakes’ associates: Dan Hiatt was honored with The Barbara Bladen Porter Award, “presented to an active, mid-career member of the theatre community”; and former Cal Shakes Managing Director Debbie Chinn received the Gene Price Award, specifically recognizing her “Bay Area audience development for Shakespeare,” and for “guiding the organization into the black.”

Visit Theatrebayarea.com for the complete list of nominations and Special Award winners.



Susie Falk named Cal Shakes’ new Managing Director
2.10.09

managing director
Jonathan Moscone, Susie Falk and David Goldsmith;
photo by Jay Yamada.

The Board of Directors of California Shakespeare Theater announced this week the appointment of Susie Falk as the company’s new Managing Director. Falk fills the position left vacant in August by Debbie Chinn, who is now Managing Director with Baltimore’s CENTERSTAGE. Falk, a native of Berkeley, has served for the past four years as the Theater’s Director of Marketing and Communications, and for the past six months has shared interim management duties with the Theater’s Development Director. She was appointed after a national search conducted by the firm of Albert Hall & Associates, and will assume her new role immediately. President of the Cal Shakes Board of Directors David Goldsmith commented: “The board conducted an exhaustive search process, and we are thrilled to have found Susie in our own backyard.”

“I have the greatest respect and admiration for Susie, and could not be happier to be partnering with her in the leadership of this theater,” added Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone. “She brings an array of professional and personal skills to lead an excellent staff and work with an equally excellent and dedicated board to ensure Cal Shakes' success in, and beyond, a very challenging economic climate.”

“It is an incredible honor to be joining Jonathan and a fantastic and committed Board of Directors at the helm of a company in which I am so professionally and personally invested,” said Falk. “Long before I came to Cal Shakes as Marketing Director, I was a teenage participant in one of Cal Shakes’ youth programs in the company’s John Hinkel Park days. Since that time, and under Jonathan’s artistic leadership, the company’s artistic standards and production values have soared, and the reach of the education programs has broadened and deepened. Even in the midst of these difficult economic times, Cal Shakes has proven itself to be a major player in the Bay Area’s cultural scene, and a vital resource in arts education. I am thrilled to have an opportunity to substantially contribute to the future of this Theater and this community.”

As Director of Marketing and Communications for Cal Shakes, Falk has overseen all marketing, sales, and public relations efforts for the Theater, as well as box office and front of house operations. During her tenure, the company has seen ticket revenue increase by 24% and completed a rebranding effort. Prior to Cal Shakes, Falk was Director of Public Relations at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and worked in the marketing and public relations department of American Conservatory Theater. She has also worked at Seattle Repertory Theatre, and the Berkshire Theatre Festival. She served on the board of Theatre Bay Area for seven years, four of them as Vice President. Falk is a graduate of Vassar College, and completed course work in organization psychology at JFK University. She is married to lighting designer York Kennedy; they have one daughter.



A different kind of Cal Shakes benefit
1.15.09

When it comes to giving back to California Shakespeare Theater, longtime fan Ben Nakamura-Bush is a tough act to follow. His rock musical comedy take on Romeo and Juliet, titled Shakespeare Rattle and Roll, will grace the Lesher Center for the Arts’ Knight Stage 3 for two weekends with proceeds benefiting Cal Shakes.  Nakamura-Bush, whose father, Terry Bush, is on our board, says he wants to pay Cal Shakes back for “inspiring him by always continuing to do bigger and better things.”

Written and directed by Nakamura-Bush, Shakespeare Rattle and Roll is the third production of his Razzamatazz theater company; the Diablo Valley College theater grad also composed the music with the help of his music teacher, Bill Wentz. The show centers on college students Max and Nicole (Justin Johnson and Caroline Catingub, who has taught for Cal Shakes) who, having cast deadbeat actors as the leads in Romeo and Juliet, must step up and express their love for one another. Using elements of things he’s seen at Cal Shakes to write the show—like The Triumph of Love’s comedic elements—Nakamura-Bush pokes fun at the mistakes that happen in theater, “something that I experienced a lot in college, from the strain of tech week to technical aspects going wrong, to how eccentric youth actors can be.” He compares

Shakespeare Rattle and Roll to the Austin Powers movies: “It has its sexy side. Although Shakespeare can be very beautiful, Shakespeare doesn’t veer away from very gross aspects, very raw aspects. And that is in Shakespeare Rattle and Roll, although it is used to comedic effect.”

Shakespeare Rattle and Roll runs Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from January 23-February 1 at the Lesher Center for the Arts’ Knight Stage 3 Theatre. Tickets cost $18, with proceeds benefiting California Shakespeare Theater. In addition, the Swinerton Foundation has agreed to match funds up to $1000. Click here to see showtimes and make your reservation.

Cal Shakes makes critics’ “best of” lists
1.12.09

Once again, Cal Shakes’ Main Stage productions got year-end nods from area theater wags. Chad Jones named Pericles his number 2 production of 2008 at Theater Dogs; Sam Hurwitt lauded Uncle Vanya as his number 4 in the East Bay Express; and both critics named An Ideal Husband in their lists of honorable mentions. Over at the San Francisco Chronicle, Uncle Vanya made Robert Hurwitt’s Top Ten, and Cal Shakes was named “Most Improved” as a whole. And The Marin Independent-Journal named both Vanya and Ideal Husband among is top ten.

Thanks to everyone—audiences, critics, staff, and artists alike—for making 2008 such a magnificent year.

Save the Date for Gala Flamenco
11.20.08

We are excited to announce our 2009 gala theme: Gala Flamenco. This March 14, prepare for your body and soul to be moved by the rhythms of Spain’s most seductive music and dance: Immerse yourself in the intricacies of Andalusian guitar and follow the fancy footwork to a colorful world of dining, live music and dance, and our famous silent and live auctions. We hope you’ll join us at the Historic Rotunda Building in Downtown Oakland for a vibrant celebration of bold color, vivid art, and delicious flavors. All proceeds go to benefit Cal Shakes' artistic and educational programs.

If you’d like to be added to the invite list (or desire any other information), call 510.548.3422 x125 or email events@calshakes.org.

New Works/New Communities project named NEA Distinguished New Play Development Selection
10.28.08

We are proud to announce that California Shakespeare Theater has been chosen by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as one of the inaugural selections in the NEA New Play Development Program. As one of five recipients of Arts Endowment support for a NEA Distinguished New Play Development Project, Cal Shakes will receive $20,000 toward early development activities, such as read-throughs, public readings, and workshop productions, for The Steinbeck Project. The play will be written by Octavio Solis, based on The Pastures of Heaven, a collection of interlinking short stories by John Steinbeck, and developed in partnership with San Francisco’s Word for Word Performing Arts Company. Administered by Arena Stage, the New Play Development Program is intended to help the nation’s nonprofit theaters bring more new plays to full production.

“We are extraordinarily grateful to the NEA for selecting us for this prestigious program,” commented Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone. ”The Steinbeck Project marks the first commissioned world premiere play for our Main Stage in our 35-year history.  I hope that our unique collaboration with Octavio, Word for Word and community members in the Salinas Valley and Bay Area will create a significant cultural impact on communities new to us, and perhaps to theater itself, as well as to the field at large.”

John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven, by Octavio Solis is the third play to be developed under Cal Shakes’ New Works/New Communities program, which brings people of diverse backgrounds together around the creation of a new work of theater inspired by classic literature. For The Steinbeck Project, Cal Shakes is collaborating with nationally renowned playwright Octavio Solis, San Francisco’s Word for Word (a program of Z Space Studio), and disparate community members in Salinas and the Bay Area.  Based upon Steinbeck’s little-known 1932 novel of interconnected short stories, the play will depict the heartbreaking destruction of dreams within a fragile farming community in Northern California’s Salinas Valley. Over two-plus years, the project allows for an organic interplay between his writing, and the voices of his creative partners: two vastly different theater companies, their artists, and urban and rural Northern Californians. The direct participation of these communities offers them deeper access into and investment in the work. The play is slated to premiere on Cal Shakes Main Stage in 2010, directed by Moscone.

The following theaters also will receive support for NEA Distinguished New Play Development Projects: The Children’s Theatre Company (Minneapolis, MN), The Foundry Theatre (New York, NY), Lark Play Development Center (New York, NY), and Rude Mechanicals (Austin, TX).

“Every year the NEA supports about 135 new theatrical premieres, but the NEA New Play Development Program, in partnership with Arena Stage, is something special. It creates a small but superb national network to develop new works from across the country,” said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia.

“Arena Stage fiercely believes American playwrights are the lifeblood of our American theater. Therefore, a big part of Arena’s mission is focused on finding ways to further the development of these voices,” said Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith.

For more information about the NEA New Play Development Program, please visit http://npdp.arenastage.org/

For national news outlets’ coverage of this story, go to http://www.playbill.com/news/article/122754.html and http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117994687.html?categoryid=15&cs=1.



Cal Shakes Students Take Bay Area Stages by Storm
10.20.08

noah and zenayaThis December, Cal Shakes Summer Theater Program student Noah St. John will portray Young Scrooge in A.C.T.'s ever-popular production of A Christmas Carol. Noah will be appearing alongside Associate Artist Jim Carpenter—reprising his role as “grown” Scrooge—and they’ll both be directed by Jim’s fellow Associate Artist Domenique Lozano.

Noah has been a student in Cal Shakes acting programs for four years. In our Summer Theater Program performances, he has played the major parts of Touchstone in As You Like It (pictured here), the titular role in Richard III, and Malvolio in Twelfth Night, among others.

In other Cal Shakes youth news, Sam Gouldthorpe performed this weekend at the Berkwood Hedge School’s Telling Tales 2: Storytelling Festival 2008. Sam performed with his dad, James, in a story called “KnightTime,” written by the elder Gouldthorpe and featuring costumes borrowed from the Cal Shakes costume shop. Sam played Simonides and Second Fisherman in this year’s Five-Week Summer Theater Program production of Pericles and, in our Playshop classes, has portrayed Baptista in Taming of the Shrew and Sir Toby and Antonio in Twelfth Night.

And of course, let’s not forget longtime Cal Shakes camper (and daughter of our House Manager) Zendaya Coleman, who performed in TheaterWorks' production of Caroline, or Change this past spring, and is pictured here with Noah in 2006’s Summer Theater Program production of As You Like It.

Photo by Jay Yamada.


Associate Artist Round-up
10.14.08
Our artistic family is busy making us proud all over the globe. Locally, L. Peter Callender is starring alongside Aldo Billingslea and Anthony J. Haney in the Bay Area premiere of August Wilson’s award-winning Radio Golf. The man we like to call LPC was called “invaluable” in a recent Chronicle review, which runs through Nov 2 at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. And later this month, Stephen Barker Turner will be appearing in Center Rep’s production of Doubt, directed by Timothy Near. Andy Murray is starting rehearsals for The Seafarer at Marin Theatre Company, which opens November 13. Janet Foster is busy, busy, busy: casting In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) and Lieutenant of Inishmore at Berkeley Rep, three shows at CenterStage in Baltimore, and a new off-Broadway play called Dust, plus teaching at Fordham University.

Elsewhere in the nation, Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone recently directed Associate Artists Ron Campbell and Susannah Schulman is a world premiere of Richard Nelson’s How Shakespeare Won the West at Boston’s Huntington Theatre. The well-received show also featured Cal Shakes regular Sarah Nealis. Ms. Schulman is currently appearing in Tom Stoppard's Rough Crossing at Yale Rep, directed by fellow Associate Artist Mark Rucker. Director Daniel Fish is currently making a new piece entitled Kock Fight Club at The Fisher Center at Bard College; it opens this week and will tour internationally in 2009.

And on the other side of the world, Joan Mankin has been in Nanjing, China for three weeks teaching Western clowning and acting to Chinese acrobats and a few magicians. Read about it in her own words on the Cal Shakes Blog. Elsehwre in Asia, Fox Fellowship recipient Ron Campbell leaves November 12 for Japan. “The plan there is to work in three distinct avenues,” he writes. “I'll be working with Mugensha Theatre Company on Kyogen and Mask Technique, workshopping with Tetsuro Shimaguchi (Swordmaster of the Kill Bill movies) at Kamui International, and, finally, I'll be testing for Nidan (second degree black belt) in Iaido on November 23 (wish me luck) with Esaka Sensei at Esaka Dojo in Tokyo.” Ron’s next acting gig will be the role of Louis du Rougemont in Donald Margulies' Shipwrecked! The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont in December at North Coast Rep in San Diego.


2008 Season Getaway Raffle Winners
10.13.08
Today at noon Beth Sandefur, Special Events and Membership Manager, drew winners for all nine prize tiers of this season’s raffle. She also drew alternates, in case the winners don’t respond, which would be foolish of them, as this year’s prizes (and winners) are as follows:

The GRAND PRIZE of two round-trip Business Elite class tickets to Europe on Delta Airlines goes to: Jane Barrett!

1st prize, package of four subscriptions to Cal Shakes’ 2009 season: Melissa Hamilton

2nd prize, private tour of Artworks Foundry (including a viewing of a bronze pour) and lunch for two at Riva Cucina: Matthew Thurlow

3rd prize, two Producer’s Row seats to Beach Blanket Babylon, San Francisco (plus commemorative book): Sarah Clark

4th prize, Joanne Weir DVD set and ceramic bakeware: Anna Schneiderman

5th prize, a one-year supply of Peet’s Coffee & Tea: Helga Spickhoff

6th prize, two tickets to any show at A.C.T., San Francisco: Steven Schaffer

7th prize, two tickets to any show at Berkeley Repertory Theatre: John and Michelle Ruskin

8th prize, two tickets to any show at Aurora Theater, Berkeley: Drew Green

In addition, the top raffle sellers among our staff and volunteers, and their respective prizes, are as follows:

Highest overall sales, Cal Shakes VIP theater package for four (tickets, picnic dinners, reserved parking and picnic table): June Hunt and Cal Zamansky

2nd highest overall sales, East Bay theater tour (tickets to Willows Theatre Company, Town Hall Theatre Company, and Diablo Actors Ensemble): Elaine Borden Chandler

Best single night of sales, two Producer’s Row seats to beach Blanket Babylon with commemorative book: June Hunt and Cal Zamansky.

Congratulations to everyone. Raffle winners, you’ll be contacted soon!


What if it rains? 10.03.08
We will only cancel a performance due to rain if the weather is causing unsafe conditions for our artists and/or patrons. This decision won’t be made in advance, and we may delay the performance by as much as 45 minutes in order to proceed with the performance. If after that time, the conditions remain unsafe, we will cancel the show. Performances cancelled prior to the first intermission entitle ticket holders to a rain check for another performance of Twelfth Night, or a performance during the 2009 season (for an equivalent series/seat section). Ticket stubs must be returned within 7 days of the cancelled performance in order to reschedule.

Last chance to buy season raffle tickets.
10.06.08
Performances may be finished for our 2008 season, but you can still get raffle tickets for the October 13 drawing. Simply call 510.548.3422 x107 or stop by our West Berkeley office at 701 Heinz Ave. for your chance to score two round-trip Business Elite class tickets to Europe on Delta Airlines; a package of four subscriptions to Cal Shakes’ 2009 season; a private tour of Artworks Foundry for four (including a viewing of a bronze pour and lunch at Riva Cucina; performance tickets to Beach Blanket Babylon, A.C.T., or Berkeley Rep; and much more. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm. Tickets cost $10 for one, $20 for three, and $100 for 15. Watch this space to find out who the lucky raffle winners are!

"Take-no-prisoners hilarity!..."
9.22.08
The complex scheme of gender bending, and the carefully contrived Studio 54-era setting readily drop into the background of Cal Shakes' Twelfth Night, mightily overshadowed by the take-no-prisoners hilarity of the piece.

This Twelfth Night, which opened Saturday, offers career highlight performances by several of the actors and enough comedy business to fill a dozen normal plays, making director Mark Rucker's keynote features become more tasty frosting to an already calorie-laden cake.

Twelfth Night, is certainly Shakespeare's best gender-bending and mistaken identity play, and could easily be his best comedy. So Rucker had plenty of raw material to start with in this tale of love and confusion. Count Orsino (Stephen Barker Turner) is smitten with Olivia (Dana Green), but she is in mourning and wants no part of him. -Contra Costa Times
Read the complete review.

Cal Shakes welcomes Trish Tillman, our new Director of Artistic Learning
9.03.08
We are very happy to welcome Cal Shakes Associate Artist and long-time Teaching Artist Trish Tillman to our full-time staff. Trish has been teaching with Cal Shakes for several years, and will assume full-time leadership of the program in November 2008. In addition to her roles leading school-based residencies and as a teacher and director for our summer conservatory programs, Trish has been a lead developer of our Student Discovery Teacher’s Guides and has developed curriculum for and led professional development workshops for Cal Shakes with local teachers and artists. Trish is also a teaching artist-in-residence for the San Francisco Arts Project and Longfellow Middle School. Other arts education credits include teaching for Marin Theater Company's Theater School, New Conservatory Theater in the School Program (San Francisco), and the 1995 and 1996 seasons with our company's Shakespeare in the Schools program. Previously, Trish was Development Associate for the Berkeley Public Library Foundation and in administrative positions for Cazadero Performing Arts Camp, Children's Theatre Workshop in Pleasanton, and New Actors Workshop in New York City. She received her B.S. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, and her M.A. in Dramatic Performance, with emphasis on teaching and group dynamics, at Antioch University in Ohio. Currently, she is affiliated with the American Association of Theater Educators, the National Association of Storytelling, and the California Educational Theater Alliance.

Near… delivers a beautifully orchestrated Vanya… Flawless cast.
8.11.08
“Near, the outgoing head of San Jose Repertory Theatre, delivers a beautifully orchestrated "Vanya" in her California Shakespeare Theater debut. Working with a gently pruned, graceful adaptation by playwright Emily Mann and a flawless cast, she does full justice to the cosmic comedy Chekhov mined from self-involved, wasted lives without stinting the pathos of their dashed hopes.” – SF Chronicle
Read the review

Clive Worsley Named Artistic Director of Town Hall Theatre
8.6.08
We’re pleased to learn that Cal Shakes Associate Artist Clive Worsley was recently named Artistic Director of the Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette. This is Clive’s sixth year as a California Shakespeare Theater Teaching Artist, wherein he teaches acting and directs student productions for our in-house training programs and summer acting camps. He is also the moderator of our popular Student Discovery Matinee program, delivering his own unique brand of pre-show synopses to student audiences, among other duties. As part of the Artistic Learning Department’s Integrated Curriculum program, he has been a Teaching Artist in Residence in elementary, middle and high School classrooms; during these residencies, Mr. Worsley uses theater arts to bring history, social studies, and language arts to life for students from a variety of cultural, economic, and social backgrounds. Congratulations, Clive!

Box Office Associates needed at our West Berkeley and Orinda locations
7.31.08
California Shakespeare Theater is seeking courteous, detail-oriented, speedy, and flexible individuals to work in our West Berkeley and Orinda box office locations through October 5 (the end of our summer season).

RESPONSIBILITIES: Process walk-up purchases. Assist patrons with information about the plays, box office policies, amenities and the Bruns site. Use the box office computer system. Handle customer service issues at point of contact when possible. Work independently and without direct supervision.

QUALIFICATIONS: Box office or customer service experience is preferred. Working knowledge of box office ticketing desired; sound computer skills required. Must be able to make decisions during high-pressure situations. Advanced diplomatic and communications skills. Working well with the public; must have strong interpersonal skills. Attention to detail and highly organized with cash handling, reconciliation and accounting experience. Ability to work a flexible schedule including nights, weekends, and holidays. Responsibly handling competing priorities and very tight deadlines is necessary.

WORKING CONDITIONS/ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS: Frequent night and weekend hours, particularly during the season. The organization has two workplaces: offices in Berkeley and the Bruns Amphitheater in Orinda. Efficient execution of the job during the season require that the incumbent have access to, and operate an automobile, in order to work at the Theater site when required. At the Theater: extended standing, walking on uneven ground (hills, gravel, and rocks)
Compensation is $9.50/hr. Please have interested parties contact Robin at 510.548.9666 or rdolan@calshakes.org.

An Ideal Husband breaks box office records
7.29.08
Our recent production of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, directed by Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone, proved to be the biggest grossing box office in our 35-year history, breaking the previous record held by Moscone’s production of Shaw’s Man and Superman last season. Wilde’s play broke previous revenue records held for gross sales, single tickets, and group sales, and performed to an average 93% capacity during its 24 performance run (July 2-27) at the Bruns Memorial Amphitheater in Orinda.

Directed by Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone, An Ideal Husband was widely hailed by the critics as an “ideal” production. Pat Craig in the Contra Costa Times wrote, “Moscone, who continues to prove himself one of the finest comedy directors going, has polished this jewel of a political and romantic comedy to a high gloss.” Charles Brousse in the Marin Independent Journal commented that, “the production reinforces a growing realization that, in a few short years, this East Bay company has become one of the most exciting, talented and entertaining groups around.” Robert Hurwitt in the San Francisco Chronicle described the production as “crisp, handsome and very funny.” And Chad Jones wrote on sfexaminer.com, “The combination of Wilde and director Jonathan Moscone … is a potent one, and the marriage makes for an ideal Husband."

Cal Shakes Season Sponsor Peet’s offers up free beverages for all this weekend
7.09.08
This Saturday afternoon, July 26, from noon-2pm, our good friends at Peet’s Coffee & Tea will be hosting a special Tasting event of their iced beverages before the matinee performance of An Ideal Husband. On tap in the Bruns Amphitheater lobby area will be all kinds of iced treats, including caffeine-free, kid-friendly offerings.

An ideal Husband provides “one Wilde, magical night."
7.09.08
The press accolades are rolling in for Jonathan Moscone’s production of An Ideal Husband, Oscar Wilde’s scathing comedy of marriage an politics, playing now through July 27 at the Bruns Amphitheater. “Moscone, who continues to prove himself one of the finest comedy directors going,” writes Pat Craig in the Contra Costa Times has polished this jewel of a political and romantic comedy to a high gloss.” In the East Bay Express, Sam Hurwitt commends almost every single element of this “delightful production of a diverting comedy”: “Stacy Ross is superb as the villainous Mrs. Cheveley … Elijah Alexander plays up his function as a stand-in for Wilde … Meg Neville's costumes are bright and playful,” et cetera. And SFExaminer.com calls the production “ideal Wilde,” declaring that “you’ll be hard pressed to leave California Shakespeare Theater’s production and not be happy for at least a few hours.” “The combination of Wilde and director Jonathan Moscone, as we saw in the 2004 Cal Shakes production of The Importance of Being Earnest, is a potent one,” writes the Examiner’s Georgia Rowe, “and the marriage makes for an ideal Husband.

Cal Shakes at Orinda’s 4th of July celebration
7.02.08
Once again, we’ll have a festive presence at Orinda's 4th of July celebration, only this time it’s the event’s 25th anniversary. The Friday event at Community Center Park (Orinda Way, Orinda) kicks off at 7:30am with a pancake breakfast till 10, and continues on till 3pm with a fun run, book sale, music, food, games, crafts, a car show, and more. Cal Shakes will be on hand from 11am to 3pm. More info here.

Congratulations to Stacy Ross
and Melpomene Katakalos!
7.01.08
In this year’s East Bay Express “Best of the East Bay” issue—just out last Wednesday—two of this season’s Cal Shakes luminaries were awarded top honors by the paper’s critics. Stacy Ross, who plays Mrs. Cheveley in July’s An Ideal Husband (and who breathed life into the conniving Princess Léonide in 2007’s The Triumph of Love) was named Best Actor “Whatever's actually going on in Ross's head as she performs,” they write, “the effect created is an illusion of seeing the wheels turning in her character's head as she tries to untangle whatever fix she's in.” And Melpomene Katakalos, who created the stunning Pericles set, was named Best Set Designer, lauded, specifically, for “constructing evocative stage pictures out of a few discrete elements.”
Mazel tov, ladies!

Cal Shakes at SF Pride for the very first time
6.25.08
We’ll be making our debut at the 38th Annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebrationthis Sunday, June 29. The California Shakespeare Theater booth will be at the corner of Larkin and McAllister Sts. from 10am till 6pm, offering special deals for our LGBT friends, dog treats for their canine companions, and information on our next production, Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, and on our unique theater experience. If you’re at the festival, please stop by and say hello!

Student Discovery Matinee Program for King Lear Spotlighted on NEA Website
6.17.08
If you click on over to the NEA's Shakespeare in American Communities website right now, you can read all about the activities they helped make possible surrounding our 2007 King Lear student matinees—extended residencies, expanded pre-performance activities (including the popular 32-Second Shakespeare competition), and a new professional development workshop for teachers. We've also received renewed funding for the Student Discovery programming for final production of our 2008 performance season, Twelfth Night, which will support complimentary tickets and public transportation vouchers for low-income students, pre- and post-show workshops, more teacher training, school workshops and residencies, our extensive Teacher's Guide, and the return of 32-Second Shakespeare. At least 2,500 students from 47 schools will attend our Student Discovery matinee performances, including 1,150 students from inner-city schools serving low-income communities.

Pericles opens to rave reviews
6.02.08
SF Chronicle: Pitch-perfect Pericles by Cal Shakes - Robert Hurwitt
Contra Costa Times
:
Cal Shakes turn oft-dismissed Bard play into gold - Pat Craig
Mercury News
:
Cal Shakespeare opens summer season with fantastical Pericles “The air of devotion at Cal Shakes, where celebrating the Bard is well worth facing the elements, is one of the chief pleasures of the outdoor theater experience at the stately Bruns.” - Karen D'Souza
Theater Dogs: "Presented as a gorgeous fairy tale for grown-ups, California Shakespeare Theater’s first show of the season, Pericles, reminds us that in a seemingly horrible world, faith, love and integrity will receive its just reward." - Chad Jones
An interview with director and adapter Joel Sass in the Contra Costa Times


Cal Shakes Managing Director Debbie Chinn Named Managing Director of Baltimore’s Centerstage 5.28.08
CENTERSTAGE, Baltimore’s leading professional producing theater, has named Debbie Chinn its new Managing Director. Chinn, who has served as California Shakespeare Theater’s Managing Director since 2001, will remain at Cal Shakes through August 2008, after which time she will move to Baltimore to transition into her new position. Cal Shakes will be conducting a national search for her replacement. “My time at Cal Shakes has been the most rewarding of my professional career,” commented Chinn, “yet the opportunity to guide such a prestigious organization as CENTERSTAGE to its next phase of growth was one I just couldn’t pass up. I know that Cal Shakes is well positioned to undergo a smooth transition under Jonathan Moscone’s visionary artistic leadership, and the strong stewardship of the board. I leave with wonderful memories and a sense of immeasurable satisfaction at what we have been able to accomplish together.”

“I could not have been any luckier than to have had Debbie as my partner for these past seven years,” commented Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone. “I am going to miss her terribly. She’s brought this theater to where it is today, and for that I will always be grateful to her. The people of Baltimore are extremely lucky to have her.” During Chinn’s Cal Shakes tenure, she has overseen the organization’s growth from a $2.5 million organization to $3.8 million in the current fiscal year. She has been responsible for significantly increasing corporate sponsorships, more than doubling contributed revenue, and increasing earned revenue by 44%, all of which helped the theater expand its artistic and education programs.

She has also worked in close partnership with Moscone to raise the Cal Shakes profile from that of a community Shakespeare festival to a theater of national prominence (named “Best Classic Theater” by San Francisco magazine in 2007), evidenced by the organization’s move from a LORT D to LORT B theater. They have worked together establishing school residencies and an arts integration/humanities series; engaged under-represented communities; and created a campaign to integrate younger audiences into the organization. Chinn has also been responsible for broadening the geographic, ethnic, age, and gender diversity of the theater’s Board of Trustees, as well as strengthening the theater’s strategic planning process to guide Cal Shakes through the next five years.

“We’re of course saddened to see Debbie go,” commented David Goldsmith, president of Cal Shakes Board of Directors. “She’s a consummate professional, a savvy businesswoman, and a wonderful colleague. Yet I know the rest of the board joins me in wishing her well as she embarks on this next chapter in her professional career.”

Chinn was previously Managing Director of the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, where she developed fundraising, financial, education, and marketing campaigns. Over the past two decades, she has held leadership positions with the San Francisco Symphony, the University of San Francisco, the Center Theatre Group of the Music Center of Los Angeles, and the American Conservatory Theater.

Running the Numbers
on Our Education Programs
5.20.08
Our Artistic Learning department is experiencing growth on every front—extremely significant giving the state of arts education in California schools. Here are some facts and figures regarding our efforts to keeping regional students in the creative loop!
In-School Residencies
• 56 in 2007 with 32 classroom teachers in 19 schools plus Girls Inc.
• 1546 students
Student Discovery Matinee Program
• More than 2720 students attended a matinee in 2007 for either Richard III or King Lear
• 1191 Underserved students attended in 2007
Summer Theater Programs
• Summer Camp attendance grew from 97 students in 2005, 126 in 2006 to 186 in 2007. We are expanding to 4 sessions in 2008 with the potential to serve 280 students.
After-school classes
• In the 06-07 school year, we worked with 106 students in 7 schools spread out from Martinez to San Leandro, and we have already expanded by two schools in 2008.
Number of Employees for 2007
• Hired 44 people to teach for Cal Shakes (numbers do not add up because some people taught in multiple categories)
- 1 SMAT moderator
- 3 camp administrators
- 7 grove talk speakers
- 17 class teachers
- 14 residency TAs
- 16 interns (including 3 who became ECTA’s)
- 6 SMAT workshop teachers
- 34 summer camp directors and teachers
• All in all for 237 individual positions • Over 6445 youth served
• Over 7818 adults
• total of 14,263 people served by AL and audience enrichment programs

Cal Shakes in Orinda Friday
5.16.08
If you’re anywhere near Orinda on Friday evening (May 16), stop by the second annual Orinda Salutes Cal Shakes, where, between 5:30 and 7pm in Theatre Square, the City of Orinda and the Orinda Chamber of Commerce will celebrate the opening of our 34th anniversary season. Featuring Cal Shakes Associate Artist L. Peter Callender as our emcee for the evening, performances by students from Orinda Intermediate School, music by Bob Athayde and Friends, and food and drink, the event is free and open to the public.

The blogs, they are a-changin’
3.25.08
The Cal Shakes Bullpen Blog—begun last year as a window into the works of Cal Shakes in the off-season—has become the Cal Shakes Blog. This is where you’ll find our popular actors’ blogs during the Main Stage season, but that’s not all: This new, all-company blog is a place where the many voices of California Shakespeare Theater—teaching artists, dramaturgs, New Works/New Communities collaborators, office staff—can e-harmonize.

This week, look for various perspectives on our second Steinbeck Project Workshop, from playwright Octavio Solis, Word for Word company member Amy Kossow, and Cal Shakes marketing staffer Stefanie Kalem.

Cal Shakes named “best of ’07”
in every major local paper
1.08.08
For those of you who were away from your newspapers over the holidays, Cal Shakes production of Man and Superman, directed by Jonathan Moscone, was named as one of the top productions of the year by the Chronicle, Contra Costa Times, East Bay Express, Marin Independent Journal, and Oakland Tribune.

Here's what they had to say:

“The ever-penetrating wit of George Bernard Shaw seemed freshly burnished in Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone's smartly pared (from five hours to three) California Shakespeare Theater production of the unwieldy masterpiece about sexual politics. With Susannah Livingston and Elijah Alexander heading an exceptionally strong cast, Moscone integrated Shaw's vibrant play of ideas with its surrounding comedy into a whole greater than the sum of its parts.”
- SF Chronicle, 12/30/07

“A three-hour production of a century-old work is risky, even if the playwright is George Bernard Shaw. That's particularly so when it is performed outdoors on often-chilly summer nights in the Orinda hills. But the gamble paid off big for Jonathan Moscone and his Shakespeare Theater. The production, which included the often-omitted "Don Juan in Hell" portion, was a flawless masterpiece of theater.” [listed as top production of the year]
- Contra Costa Times, 12/23/07

“Jonathan Moscone's sharp staging of Shaw's antiromantic romance was an absolute delight from the ruthless machinations of well-bred ladies down to an impishly anachronistic "Don Juan in Hell" sequence.”
- East Bay Express, 12/26/07

"Shaw's long-winded masterpiece was given an audience-friendly production that even Orinda's famous chill couldn't dampen.”
- Marin IJ, 12/27/07

“This unbelievably vivid version of George Bernard Shaw’s massive existentialist comedy benefited from superior direction by Jonathan Moscone and an impeccable cast headed by Elijah Alexander and Susannah Livingston.”
Oakland Tribune, 12/27/07

Grant News
11.21.07
The Steinbeck Project, our third New Works/New Communities undertaking, is continuing to attract new funding: The Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation has made a first-time grant of $50,000 over two years, and the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded Cal Shakes a grant of $15,000 over two years.

Ron Campbell receives Fox Actors Fellowship
11.20.07cal shakes camp spotligh
We recently received word that Cal Shakes Associate Artist Ron Campbell (with the help of our Artistic Administrator Daunielle Rasmussen) was awarded a Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship recognizing Distinguished Achievement. The award—which was given last year to, among others, Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham—gives the recipient $25,000 to further artistic and professional development, deepen and enrich his/her relationship with a not-for-profit theater, and ensure his/her continued professional commitment to live theater. Mr. Campbell, most recently seen at Cal Shakes as the gardener Dimas in The Triumph of Love (and previously in Restoration Comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Tempest, The Comedy of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing, and Henry IV) will use his Fox Fellowship to study techniques with theater companies in Greece, Italy, Japan and finally, Sweden in three specific stages: Mask in Greece and Italy, Body in Japan, and Voice in Sweden. He envisions this Fellowship as a "comprehensive exploration into combining mask work, movement and voice and applying these techniques to classical texts.” Mr. Campbell—whose performance accolades include the Los Angeles and Bay Area Critics Circle Awards, the Helen Hayes and Jeff Award nominations, and four Backstage West Garland Awards—then plans to hold workshops for California Shakespeare Theater's associate artists to share his findings with the possibility of developing a performance piece marrying Mr. Campbell's physical work with aspects of Shakespeare.

What a Grand Prize Winner Looks Like
11.14.07cal shakes camp spotligh
This is Special Events and Marketing Manager Dana Mathes (left) awarding Mary Durbin of Pleasanton our 2007 season raffle's Grand Prize: A Pair of Roundtrip Business Elite Class Tickets to Europe on Delta Air Lines. This year's raffle made a record $25,000 to help support Cal Shakes Artistic Learning programs. Thank you to everyone who purchased a ticket and helped bring Cal Shakes into the classroom. And congratulations to Mary and all the other winners!


Cal Shakes Camp Spotlight
11.7.07cal shakes camp spotligh
If your child (or you!) attended a Cal Shakes summer camp this year, be on the lookout for the inaugural issue of the Spotlight, arriving in your mailbox later this month. The Spotlight is our brand-new summer camp newsletter, and this first issue is packed full of news about campers, teachers, and more—plus loads of fun pictures from camp and camp productions.


Cal Shakes Annual Gala
11.7.07
Our Annual Gala has become a March tradition in the East Bay—a night of glamour, fun, and excitement that celebrates and supports California Shakespeare Theater’s bold work onstage, and our meaningful programs that benefit communities and schools throughout the Bay Area. Of course, every year we outdo ourselves, and this year is no different! Our 2008 Gala—Passage to India, to be held Saturday, March 8, 2008 at the historic Rotunda Building in downtown Oakland—will be a splendid evening of dining, live music and dance, and our ever-popular silent and live auctions, capturing the mystery, opulence, and allure of old-world India.

Cal Shakes Launches the Steinbeck Project with Inaugural Workshop
11.1.07
From Tuesday, Oct. 23 to Saturday, Oct. 27, Cal Shakes hosted the first workshop for our third New Works/New Communities venture, the Steinbeck Project. For this project, we’re collaborating with playwright Octavio Solis, Word for Word Performing Arts Company to adapt John Steinbeck’s 1932 novel of interconnected short stories, The Pastures of Heaven. Drawing from Word for Word’s practice and inspired by the Royal Shakespeare Company’s development of Nicholas Nickleby, Solis, Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone, and members of Cal Shakes’s and Word for Word’s acting companies spent five days exploring one of the stories from Pastures through a combination of performance and research to better understand characters like a found child named Turalecito (little frog). Workshop participants included Cal Shakesactors Ron Campbell, Nancy Carlin, Catherine Castellanos, Dan Hiatt, and Joan Mankin, along with Word for Word artists and co-directors, Susan Harloe and JoAnne Winter.

Grant News 11.1.07
Last week, we received our first project grant to support our development of The Pastures of Heaven: The Zellerbach Family Foundation awarded us a grant of $2,000, which is the third grant for one of our New Works/New Communities projects (the first two supported Hamlet: Blood in the Brain). The following week we received word of a first-time, $10,000 grant from the Fleishhacker Foundation, also for the Steinbeck Project.