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WATCH A SPECIAL PREVIEW OF A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER!




IBSEN IN AMERICA

(4/4/13) • Henrik Ibsen was Norwegian by birth, but the American theatre quickly claimed him as one of its own. Ibsen's work began to appear on U.S. stages in the 1800s, and he swiftly went from controversial to canonical, from rule-breaking to rule-making. His nuanced, psychological realism broke new theatrical ground and had a profound influence on the great American playwrights of the 20th century, including Arthur Miller and Eugene O'Neill.

Americans have tended to focus on the social issues in Ibsen's work, and as a result, his plays have flourished in the U.S. during times of social change and upheaval. The rise and fall of Ibsen's popularity on the American stage is a fascinating barometer of our national focus on issues like women's rights, political corruption and economic injustice.

In the late 19th century, Ibsen's work came to the U.S. partly through the large Scandinavian immigrant community, which was quick to embrace Ibsen's plays even when they proved too controversial to be staged elsewhere. Ghosts, for instance, which was published in 1881, provoked a public outcry with its frank portrayal of illness, incest and assisted suicide. European theatres refused to produce the play, so Ghosts had its 1882 world premiere not in Copenhagen or Berlin but in Chicago, performed by progressive Danish and Norwegian immigrants (only Mrs. Alving was played by a professional actor) for an audience of fellow Scandinavians. (London audiences would not see the play for another 10 years.)

That same year, American audiences became the first in the English-language world to see A Doll's House. The play — in slightly adjusted versions, one of them titled The Child Wife — had two American productions before it made its bow in England, and it has remained the best-known and most revived Ibsen play in the American theatre.

In the early years of the 20th century, amid national debates over women's rights, Ibsen became one of the most popular playwrights in America, and A Doll's House became a lightning rod for conversation about "the woman question." From its 1882 American premiere through the end of World War I, A Doll's House was performed twice as often as any other Ibsen play in the U.S. (the next frequent being Hedda Gabler). It is not surprising, then, that some of Ibsen's most passionate champions in this country have been women, from reformers like Annie Nathan Meyer to actresses like Mary Shaw and Eva Le Gallienne. Le Gallienne, who not only acted in Ibsen's plays but also translated and directed them, once wrote, "I would rather play Ibsen than eat — and that's often just what it amounts to."

During the middle of the 20th century, Ibsen's work faded from American stages as the issues raised in his plays came to feel less pressing. But in 1938, an adaptation of A Doll's House became the first Broadway success for a playwright who would soon see many more: Thornton Wilder. Wilder cut Ibsen's text significantly, renaming characters, updating the setting and making the play "more American." (Nora's tarantella was choreographed by the great Martha Graham.) Wilder's Americanized adaptation became the longest-running Ibsen play ever on Broadway, a record that stood until 1997.

Ibsen's work saw a major American revival during the 1960s and 1970s, another period of rapid social change. This rediscovery of Ibsen's work coincided with the growth of the feminist movement, a widespread distrust of authority and a focus on sexual liberation.

Again, A Doll's House became a symbol of the times. In 1973, not one but two film adaptations of the play appeared, one starring Jane Fonda in a performance as polarizing as the actress herself.

As we move into the second decade of the 21st century, our national dialogue returns to many of the issues Ibsen tackled with such compelling intensity in his plays. Ibsen's characters struggle in a climate of economic uncertainty, fighting with a familiar desperation to get and keep jobs that are few and far between. "The woman question" is far from settled in our own time, as politicians battle over legislation on equal pay, violence against women and reproductive rights. The time feels ripe for a resurgence of Ibsen on stages across the United States. As we return to A Doll's House in 2013, we find in the play a surprising mirror for the struggles and concerns of the day — not only a powerful story but also a fascinating lens with which to examine our own cultural moment.

—Danielle Mages Amato

(Top photo: Ruth Gordon and Dennis King in Thorton Wilder's adaptation of A Doll's House, 1937. Photo by Billy Rose, courtesy of the Theatre Collection, Museum of the City of New York. Bottom photo: Jane Fonda and Edward Fox in A Doll's House directed by Joseph Losey, 1973.)



BUILDING A NEW HOUSE

(4/1/13) • Director Kirsten Brandt and translator Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey talk about the process of adapting Henrik Ibsen's A Doll’s House.

Anne-Charlotte, tell us a bit about your process as a translator.

Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey: The first step is for me to create a working script, a platform, for the subsequent work. The platform text is necessarily long and unwieldy since it includes word choices, explanations, comments, questions, footnotes and the original punctuation. I strive to leave as many doors as possible open for the theatre practitioners to choose from. A platform translation opens a script for production.

What elements of Ibsen's work are challenging to translate?

Anne-Charlotte: There are some issues that come with the Norwegian language, like the difference between the formal and informal address. There are also the unstressed modifiers: the tiny words that Norwegians use to soften a sentence by anticipating a rejection or inviting agreement. Those words lighten up the speech because they give a flow or a lilt to it. If you take them all away you end up with a very clunky text, but they are so small that when you translate them with “perhaps” or “I suppose” or something else it becomes a bit too heavy.

Then there are the Ibsen specific challenges. Ibsen was inventive. He was creative. He did not write standard Dano-Norwegian, but created a language that was almost as fresh as Shakespeare was in his day. We don't recognize that. We may think: old fashioned, stuffy. But that's not right. His language is direct and deceptively simple, his characters each have different voices, and there is also sly humor. The humor is often completely overlooked. It isn't verbal; it isn't jokes. It's a matter of very subtly coloring characters, and that's tricky.

It seems like there are several levels that have to be conveyed: the meaning of the words, the flow or feel of the language and then the action of the lines.

Kirsten Brandt: Since I'm directing it, it's important to come at it from the standpoint of action. The language needs to move the text along and do what Ibsen wanted it to do. Sometimes the tactics a character is trying to play require the line to be longer or shorter depending on what goal they are trying to achieve. Looking at this play from an acting perspective as well as a literary perspective — that's where the fun has been in this process.

What have you learned from the adaptation process that you were able to bring into rehearsal?

Kirsten: I feel emotionally tied to this text now, and I feel like I've really been inside it. I know what every line means and what's happening subtextually with it. Anne-Charlotte shared with me something Paul Whitworth said about an actor's process: that an actor starts on the surface, then they dive down deep into a well and come back up. The audience might not see that well, but they see the results.

What do you love most about this play?

Anne-Charlotte: The more I work on it, the more I appreciate it: the structure, the word choice — it's like getting closer to Ibsen through one of his works. And I can visualize it. Christmas in Norway at that time is very vivid to me. The children coming in from outside with the snow and their wet socks — that to me is very much alive. It has a kind of homey feel.

Kirsten: For me, I love that it's not easy: that each one of these characters constantly surprises you, that you can't label them. The characters are so multi-dimensional that there is a richness and a lushness to the play that makes you want to explore it with actors. I think that's why it's still done — that's what makes it a classic.

(Photo: (from left) Translator and adaptor Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey and adaptor and director Kirsten Brandt. Photo by Henry DiRocco.)



AN OPENING NIGHT CELEBRATION FOR A DOLL'S HOUSE!

(3/29/13) • The cast and creative team of A Doll’s House celebrated their opening night in Hattox Hall on Thursday, March 28. They joined up with friends and family, and there was a reunion with Kirsten Brandt and her former Sledgehammer Theatre team. Though no one did the tarantella, everyone had a great time, and on the way they stopped by the red carpet for some photos. To see more from the opening night party, visit our Facebook page!


Cast members Gretchen Hall and Fred Arsenault.


(from left) Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, adaptor and director Kirsten Brandt and translator, adaptor Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey and Managing Director Michael G. Murphy.


The cast and creative team of A Doll's House at the opening night party on March 28, 2013: (from left) cast members Nisi Sturgis, Amanda Naughton and Richard Baird, adaptor and director Kirsten Brandt, assistant director Alex Bezdeka, cast members Jack Koenig and Katie Whalley, translator and adaptor Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey and cast members Fred Arsenault and Gretchen Hall. Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, translated and adapted by Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey and adapted and directed by Kirsten Brandt, runs March 23 - April 21, 2013 at The Old Globe. PhotoS by Doug Gates.


Members of San Diego's Sledgehammer Theatre: (from left) Lisel Gorell-Getz, Walter Murray, Elizabeth Yager, Elaine Gingery, Kirsten Brandt, Paul Peterson, Laura Lee Juliano and Janet Hayatshahi.


(from left) Cast members Gretchen Hall and Nisi Sturgis, stage manager Jess Slocum and production assistant Sarah Kolman.


FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: A DOLL'S HOUSE

(3/26/13) • I've been on a steep learning curve since my appointment as Artistic Director of The Old Globe in November of last year. However, many things have helped flatten that curve and ease my transition into my new post, none more exciting than that I am presiding over the rich and fascinating season of work that the theatre put in place prior to my arrival. And of the plays in this season, none gets my heart racing like A Doll's House.

That's because, next to William Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen is my favorite playwright. The so-called "Father of Modern Drama" is as seminal to today's theatre as the Bard himself. The great Norwegian's great innovation was to see morality as inherently dramatic. World drama before him had spawned plenty of playwrights who could place characters in untenable situations and create drama as they tried or failed to work their way out. But Ibsen understood how much more wrenching these terrible circumstances are when they are created not by outside forces like the gods or fate or history or the social order or the King, but instead by a character's own previous moral failings. For Ibsen, the past is a trap that waits around every corner, a time bomb sure to explode. No past misdeed can be outrun, no family secret can be erased, no bad decision can remain hidden for long. And when the past bursts back into the present, it does so with a fury — a fury that is precisely what makes Ibsen, Ibsen; a fury that is the very stuff of exhilarating theatre.

Ibsen's influence can be seen on a wildly diverse range of writers. Witness two who happen to be in this very season at the Globe. George Bernard Shaw worshipped Ibsen and aspired to create works that functioned as his did, as can be seen in Pygmalion, a play that is in many ways Shaw's own version of A Doll's House. And later this season we will see in Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities a modern Ibsenite, a dramatist exploring festering family secrets and moral failings whose consequences shatter personalities across the span of decades.

Like Ibsen's other masterpiece, Hedda Gabler, A Doll's House ends with a bang. I won't spoil it, other than to say that you will feel its resonance with special force. The Globe's Classics Up Close series uses the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in a brilliant way, placing the greatest drama in world history within five rows of the furthest seat. I hope to continue producing classics here, because the intimate experience of proximity to writing this good in a space this size is one of the treasures of theatregoing in San Diego. I know you will find the production, staged by hometown favorite Kirsten Brandt, a bracing new look at one of the world's great plays. My job is to bring you more events like this.

(Photo: Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. Photo by Joseph Moran.)



MUSIC HALL: A LOOK AT THE STYLE OF A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER

(3/26/13) • In Edwardian London, nightly crowds packed the city's music halls, eager to lift a pint, have a laugh and sing along with the performers of the day. An evening of music hall entertainment included a wide range of acts, everything from song and dance to acrobats, jugglers, animal acts and clowns. An Edwardian music hall audience might have seen Harry Houdini escaping from impossible silver handcuffs, or they might have caught Little Tich performing his famous Big Boot Dance, an incredible piece of clowning that inspired the style of Charlie Chaplin and other silent film comedians.

Despite the variety of acts, the main draw of music hall remained the music, particularly the energy and vigor of its comic songs and the personalities of its headline singers. Audiences could not get enough of Harry Champion's rapid-fire patter songs about food and drink, like "Boiled Beef and Carrots" and "A Little Bit of Cucumber." The Queen of Music Hall, Marie Lloyd, made a career of double entendre, filling innocent songs with innuendo, like the popular "She'd Never Had Her Ticket Punched Before." Music hall was a working class entertainment — Cockney songs were especially beloved — and its ditties were picked up and sung all over London by bootblacks and taxi drivers. The music developed its own distinctive style, and some of its songs remain in the popular consciousness even today, like "Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay," "I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am" and "It's a Long Way to Tipperary."

In the early 1900s, music halls changed. Food and drink disappeared from the performance space, replaced by velvet curtains and marble walls. Formal manners were now expected, and singing along was discouraged. Music hall in its original form ceased to exist, giving way to variety shows and other forms of entertainment.

—Danielle Mages Amato



The Empire, Leeds.


THE OLD GLOBE WILL TOUR ONE-HOUR VERSION OF TWELFTH NIGHT TO SAN DIEGO SCHOOLS

(3/25/13) • Recognizing the importance of exposure to the arts in the development and education of young people, The Old Globe today announced a special hour-long production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night that will tour San Diego County middle and high schools. This imaginative, fun and accessible production is an ideal introduction to the wonders of Shakespeare. The production, which will tour from April 22 through May 17, 2013, is now available for booking and will cost schools $500 for one performance and $400 for a second performance at the same school on the same day. Discounts and scholarships are available to Title One schools. The Globe’s tour of Twelfth Night, directed by Nelson Eusebio III, is part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Shakespeare’s tale of unrequited love and hidden identities will delight students and teachers alike and introduce students to theater with a top-quality production right in their own schools. The production does not require a traditional stage so the show can be performed at any school regardless of the size of its performance space. In-classroom workshops are also available for schools wishing to help students explore the play more deeply and enhance the theater experience.

The Old Globe is one of 42 professional theater companies selected to participate in Shakespeare for a New Generation, bringing the finest productions of Shakespeare to middle and high school students in communities across the United States. This is the tenth year of Shakespeare for a New Generation, the largest tour of Shakespeare in American history.

The cast of Twelfth Night features Jason Frank (Sebastian, Maria, Officer), Jason Heil (Orsino, Sir Toby), Caroline Kinsolving (Olivia, Sir Andrew), Jason Maddy (Malvolio, Antonio, Priest), David McBean (Feste, Sea Captain) and Allison Spratt Pearce (Viola). The creative team includes Sean Fanning (Scenic Design), Shelly Williams (Costume Design), Kevin Anthenill (Sound Design) and Leighann Enos (Stage Manager).

Schools interesting in booking a performance can email GlobeLearning@TheOldGlobe.org.



CRITICS CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER!

(3/22/13) • The Old Globe's world premiere musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder has endeared audiences and critics with its tour-de-force performances, beautiful music and hilarious book. Performances run through April 14 at The Old Globe. Don't miss your chance to join in on the fun!

CRITIC'S CHOICE
“Velvety visuals, and a story that sparkles!
Most of all it has a virtuoso performance from Jefferson Mays.”
-U-T San Diego

“A hugely entertaining evening of ingenuity and inspiration!”
-KSDS Jazz 88

“It's fun and funny, encompassing the best of what a Broadway musical
has to offer: catchy tunes, beautiful costumes, and a clever script.”
-San Diego Magazine

“A clever new musical comedy pastiche that seems to be
wending its Edwardian way to Broadway.”
-Los Angeles Times

To view additional photos from A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, visit our Facebook page!


Jefferson Mays.


Ken Barnett and Chilina Kennedy.


(from left) Heather Ayers, Ken Barnett and Jefferson Mays in the world premiere of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, with book by Robert L. Freedman, music by Steven Lutvak, lyrics by Freedman and Lutvak, based on the novel Israel Rank by Roy Horniman and directed by Darko Tresnjak, March 8 - April 14, 2013 at The Old Globe. Photos by Henry DiRocco.


Lisa O'Hare.


Jefferson Mays and Ken Barnett.


A DOLL'S HOUSE PERFORMANCES BEGIN ON SATURDAY!

(3/21/13) • Preview performances of A Doll’s House begin Saturday night, March 23, at The Old Globe. The cast and creative team of this world premiere adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's landmark play have been hard at work readying the show for Globe audiences. Below are a few photos from a recent rehearsal; to see more, visit our Facebook page!


Gretchen Hall.


(from left) Jack Koenig, Fred Arsenault, Gretchen Hall and director Kirsten Brandt.


(from left) Jack Koenig and Fred Arsenault.


(from left) Gretchen Hall and Nisi Sturgis.


BIG WICKED SMILES

(3/19/13) • Book writer and lyricist Robert L. Freedman, composer and lyricist Steven Lutvak and director Darko Tresnjak talk about bringing A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder to the stage. (Interview by Danielle Mages Amato)

What about this project captured your imagination and made you want to work on it?

Robert: What first drew me to the work was the wry and elegant wit. And I fell in love with the contradiction of someone to whom behaving as a perfect gentleman is as important as breathing, and yet he was committing something as distasteful as murder...not once, but over and over again. I loved the hypocrisy of the Edwardian era. Everything one did in the name of propriety was contradicted by rampant impropriety...in love, in sex, in business, in society.

The show is very much the story of the class system in British society. If you weren't born into the upper classes, there was virtually no hope of climbing the ladder to success. And here is someone who actually was born with all the advantages, but had it all taken away from him. He has to fight his way back to the top any way he can. I was drawn to that struggle, a fight against injustice, a fight against the system. But even more to the emotional factors that drive Monty to accomplish his goal of becoming Earl, to seeking revenge against the people who destroyed his mother's life and threaten to destroy his by keeping him from marrying the woman he loves.

Steven: For me, one of the great elements of this story is that Monty is the ultimate outsider, and as is so often the case of a member of any disenfranchised group, he can speak the language of the less-thans as well as the language of the in-group. And in the show, Monty out-D'Ysquiths the D'Ysquiths, if you will. I think we all relate to an underdog like that.

The challenge of that, in this particular piece, of course, is that he moves up the food chain by murdering, and the question was, "Can an audience love a serial killer?" I hope — and think — the answer is yes, particularly since what we've written is a comedy.

And I've often said that by having one actor play all of his victims, all members of the rich and titled D'Ysquith family, we get to have our cake and eat it, too. Intrapsychically, I believe we all want to kill our families to one degree or another; here we get to have the cathartic experience of watching Monty kill them, but because we know that the same actor — in this case, the brilliant Jefferson Mays — will keep coming back, we don't ever really take the murders seriously.

Robert: Like Steve, I loved the challenge of making a murderer not only likable, but someone you actually care about — which is essential for any dramatic work to succeed with an audience. That such an antihero can be the protagonist in a musical is what makes it so contemporary, and that was exciting to me.

And I was excited by the inherent theatricality of having one actor playing all the murder victims. I love it any time I go to the theatre and see an actor display his or her versatility playing a variety of characters. Usually, they are small, incidental roles.

But in our show, it's the star doing it, and what could be more fun than that? We are tremendously lucky to have the extraordinary Jefferson Mays. It's as if he were born to play this part...or I should say, these parts. And with Ken Barnett as Monty, we have two leading men for the audience to fall in love with, and they do.

Darko: From the start, this show put a big wicked smile on my face. I thought of it as the comic version of The Talented Mr. Ripley, another story about an insecure yet ambitious underdog who goes a little bit further than most of us would in the pursuit of his goals. But there is a little bit of Monty in all of us. I think that with a show like A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder we get to acknowledge and laugh at some of our less savory impulses. This is the basis of many Oscar Wilde and Noël Coward plays, and this musical is a variation on that theme.

How would you describe the style of A Gentleman's Guide, in terms of music, storytelling and theatricality? What were your stylistic influences as you created the piece?

Darko: I looked at Victorian toy theatres, English music halls, Edwardian greeting cards, pop-up books and especially advent calendars. I thought that each scene should feel like opening a new window in the advent calendar — with occasional drops of blood on the holly and ivy. Lately, I also started watching "Downton Abbey." I enjoy it, but let's face it — you really want to strangle some of those characters. Well, in our musical, we get to do precisely that.

Steven: Musically, I've been very aware from the start that since the show takes place in England in 1907, I've wanted the musical palette to reflect that period of time and style, so the influences are drawn from classical music (lots of Mozart, with his duets, trios and ensemble numbers, with the occasional Schubertian melodic turn thrown in for good measure), Noël Coward (with his delicious pastiche songs, send-ups in and of themselves), Gilbert and Sullivan patter songs and music hall ditties from the time. Those are some of the things I've consciously tried to emulate in creating this score.

Robert: As Steve says, we loved getting to play in the Noël Coward, Oscar Wilde and Gilbert and Sullivan vein. In fact, Roy Horniman, the author of the novel that our show is based on, was part of Oscar Wilde's circle. Words were so important in the works of all these artists, not just the witty epigrams, but also the juxtaposition between what people say and what they really mean. And that's just plain fun to try to emulate.

At the same time, there's a lot of physical comedy in our show. We set out to write a musical comedy, not just a musical. In fact, the novel is quite a bit darker than the show, and our murders are quite a bit more theatrical and comic. Of course, anytime you adapt a work from one medium to another, the piece changes quite a bit. As Steve started writing the music, I was heavily influenced by his inventive mind, and that's when the style really started to take shape and expand for me.

And then to have Darko Tresnjak's stunning visual sense and theatrical skill added to all that, it's really a perfect marriage. Aided, of course, by Peggy Hickey's choreography. And the design team that Darko has assembled — Linda Cho, Alexander Dodge, Philip Rosenberg, Dan Moses Schreier, Aaron Rhyne, not to mention Jonathan Tunick's perfect orchestrations — suddenly a whole world of style sprang from the page to the stage! I can't tell you how exciting that is for writers who have been sitting in a room working, only imagining it in their heads. This production has exceeded our expectations on every level.

(Top photo: Composer and lyricist Steven Lutvak and book writer and lyricist Robert L. Freedman. Photo by Henry DiRocco. Bottom photo: Director Darko Tresnjak. Photo by The Defining Photo.)



A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER CELEBRATES OPENING NIGHT!

(3/18/13) • The cast and creative team of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder gathered in Hattox Hall to celebrate their opening night on Wednesday, March 13. Despite playing a multitude of characters on stage, Jefferson Mays came dressed as himself and joined costar Ken Barnett and the whole cast of the world premiere musical, plus their friends and family. The team also stopped by the red carpet for some photos. To see more from the opening night party, visit our Facebook page!


(from left) Book writer and lyricist Robert L. Freedman and composer and lyricist Steven Lutvak.


(from left) Cast members Ken Barnett and Jefferson Mays.


(from left) Director Darko Tresnjak, cast members Ken Barnett and Lisa O'Hare, Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, cast members Chilina Kennedy and Jefferson Mays and Old Globe Managing Director Michael G. Murphy at the opening night party for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder on March 13, 2013. The world premiere of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, with book by Robert L. Freedman, music by Steven Lutvak, lyrics by Freedman and Lutvak, based on the novel Israel Rank by Roy Horniman and directed by Tresnjak, runs March 8 - April 14, 2013 at The Old Globe. Photos by Doug Gates.


(from left) Director Darko Tresnjak, Old Globe Board Chair Harold W. Fuson, Jr., Pam Fuson and Old Globe Managing Director Michael G. Murphy.


(from left) Cast members Chilina Kennedy, Catherine Walker, Rachel Izen, Heather Ayers and Lisa O'Hare and choroegrapher Peggy Hickey.


FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER

(3/17/13) • Two stories weave together to make the splendiferous crazy-quilt that is A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, one silly and one rather more serious. I’ll start with the silly.

Years ago I was in rehearsal with the great Bill Irwin, the California-bred circus clown who founded the New Vaudeville and would later go on to acclaim as a MacArthur "Genius" grantee and a Tony Award-winning actor. While we were struggling with a tricky moment in some scene, Bill said, "Sometimes you just need the dumb guy to fall down." He then executed a wild pratfall that sent the room into hysterics. Scene solved. Silliness, Bill knew, has its virtues. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder knows this too.

This witty and giddy new musical is unafraid to go for the silly. Like the Victorian British music hall tradition that so thoroughly informs it — and whose spirit it so fully captures — A Gentleman’s Guide trades in broad strokes, bright colors, outsized characters and a complete inability to resist a pun when the opportunity for one arises.

It takes skill to craft silliness this beguiling, though, and the show’s creators, in their own Bill Irwin-esque mode, have set their sharp and capacious brains to the task. Indeed, for me, the specialness of A Gentleman’s Guide, and the reason I’m so proud to have it at the Globe, is just how smart its silliness is. The language dazzles and the music transports: We can hear in the script the ravishing epigrams of Oscar Wilde even as we hear in the score the tonic complexity of Stephen Sondheim. It’s a rich brew of sophistication and folly, as sparkly and gilt as the proscenium arch in a 19th-century theatre and as jiggly as a bowl of Jell-O fresh out of the fridge.

But the smarts of the show’s creators extend beyond the piece they’ve made, and that’s where the story turns serious. The director, The Old Globe’s old pal Darko Tresnjak, and the show’s writer-composer team, Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak, were insightful enough to know that intelligent silliness takes time to gestate. And so, simultaneous with the writing and shaping and crafting of their show, they carefully crafted a path of artistic development that would guide it to a healthy birth. Their masterstroke was to put baby in the care of the best midwives in the musical-making business: three, significant not-for-profit theatre institutions spread across the United States. Utah’s Sundance Institute, Connecticut’s Hartford Stage, and now The Old Globe.

A triumvirate of major institutions in three states, harnessing their efforts behind the success of one new musical over the course of eight years: this is as good an image as I can conjure of what the American National Theatre really looks like. Each institution added value: its time, its dramaturgical expertise, its production budget, and — most crucially of all — its audience. The burden of making a new musical isn’t small, but in a process like the one A Gentleman’s Guide enjoyed, that burden is shared and its logistical challenges spread around. The result enables greater artistic ambition to achieve higher standards of accomplishment. As you will see, that makes for some very serious silliness.

(Photo: Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. Photo by Joseph Moran.)



A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE AUDIENCES HEAD OUT AT THE GLOBE

(3/15/13) • LGBT theatre lovers and their friends joined each other on March 14 for OUT at the Globe, a pre-show event featuring food, drinks, raffle prizes and music from DJ John Joseph. And in the spirit of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which guests enjoyed after the event, everyone donned fun mustaches to have their photo taken.

There is one more OUT event scheduled for this season: May 9 for Other Desert Cities, and everyone is welcome to attend.

For more information and to buy tickets to this special event, click here, and to see more photos, check out our Facebook page!










THE DESIGNS OF A DOLL'S HOUSE

(3/8/13) • The cast of A Doll’s House recently gathered with Globe staff for a presentation by the show's team of designers. Scenic designer Sean Fanning, costume designer Alina Bokovikova and sound designer Paul Peterson were on hand to share their design concepts, and adaptor and director Kirsten Brandt and translator and adaptor Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey discussed their thoughts on Ibsen's play and their ideas for the Globe production, which begins performances on March 23. To see more photos from the design presentation for A Doll's House, visit our Facebook page!


Scenic designer Sean Fanning.


Sean Fanning's set model for A Doll's House.


Costume designer Alina Bokovikova.


The cast of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.
(Photos by Jeffrey Weiser.)


A PEEK INSIDE REHEARSALS FOR A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER

(3/6/13) • Previews begin for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder this Friday, March 8, and the cast and creative team are busy getting the show ready for its first performance. Below are just a few photos of the cast working with director Darko Tresnjak at a recent rehearsal for the musical comedy. To see more, visit our Facebook page!


Director Darko Tresnjak and the cast.


The cast of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.


Jefferson Mays.


(from left) Ken Barnett and Rachel Izen
with director Darko Tresnjak.


MEET THE CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM OF A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER!




MEET THE TEAM OF A DOLL'S HOUSE!




CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM ANNOUNCED FOR A DOLL'S HOUSE

(3/4/13) • The Old Globe today announced the complete cast and creative team for the Globe’s world premiere adaptation of A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen’s masterful exploration of society, money, gender roles and marriage. Translated and adapted by Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey and adapted and directed by Kirsten Brandt, A Doll’s House will run March 23 – April 21, 2013 in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.

Written in 1879, Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is a landmark of modern drama. In a time of financial desperation, a young wife makes a dangerous decision, taking an illegal risk to save her husband’s life. Years later, her secret comes back to haunt her, and its revelation shakes the foundations of her entire world. A Doll’s House continues the Globe’s Classics Up Close series, which takes dramatic masterworks out from behind the proscenium arch, allowing audiences to experience great drama in new and often unexpected ways.

“Next to Shakespeare, Ibsen is my favorite playwright,” said Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “His plays find a vivid theatrical language for basic human questions of morality and our responsibility to each other. A Doll’s House is one of his masterpieces, a story about marriage, truth and lies. Watching this famously explosive play in the intimate surroundings of the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre will be a visceral thrill. Kirsten Brandt and Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey have a wonderful and fresh approach to the play, and I look forward to sharing it with our audience.”

Real-life married couple Gretchen Hall and Fred Arsenault will make their Globe debuts as the imperiled central couple Nora and Torvald Helmer. The cast of A Doll’s House also features Richard Baird (Nils Krogstad, Porter), Jack Koenig (Dr. Rank), Amanda Naughton (Anne-Marie), Nisi Sturgis (Mrs. Kristine Linde) and Katie Whalley (Helene).

To view more photos of the team from A Doll's House, visit our Facebook page!


(from left) Translator and adaptor Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey, Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and adaptor and director Kirsten Brandt.


Gretchen Hall.


Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein (center) with the cast and creative team of A Doll's House: (from left) cast members Fred Arsenault, Amanda Naughton and Gretchen Hall, translator and adaptor Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey, adaptor and director Kirsten Brandt and cast members Richard Baird, Nisi Sturgis, Jack Koenig and Katie Whalley. Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, translated and adapted by Harvey and adapted and directed by Brandt, runs March 23 - April 21, 2013 at The Old Globe. Photos by Henry DiRocco.


Fred Arsenault.


The stage management team:
Jess Slocum, Sarah Kolman and Alannah Estrada.


TWO SUMMER ACTING PROGRAMS KICK OFF IN MARCH

(2/26/13) • The Globe’s two signature summer acting programs begin in the next two weeks. Auditions for the 2013 Summer Shakespeare Intensive for San Diego County high school students will be held on Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 10 on the Globe campus. The four-week program is a unique opportunity for high school actors and actresses to refine their skills as performers in a professional setting.  Students in the Summer Shakespeare Intensive study classical theater technique, voice, movement and stage combat led by theater professionals while rehearsing for two productions of Shakespeare’s plays. The program will culminate with a performance in the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre on Monday, August 12.

Registration begins on March 4 for the Middle School Summer Conservatory, a three-week program of intense acting study with professional teaching staff and actors from the Shakespeare Festival’s repertory company. Students will explore scene study, stage combat, theatre games, improvisation, movement and specialty workshops. The program does not require an audition, though a passion for theater and acting is important.

For more information about the Summer Shakespeare Intensive and the Middle School Conservatory, click here!


The Old Globe's 2012 Summer Shakespeare Intensive for high school students presented one-hour versions of Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre on Aug. 13, 2012. Photo by Henry DiRocco.


THE CAST OF A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE GEARS UP FOR PERFORMANCES

(2/21/13) • There are only two weeks until the The Old Globe's world premiere of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder begins previews, and the cast and creative team recently got together for a photo shoot in preparation for their first performance at the Globe. Creators Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak, director Darko Tresnjak, choreographer Peggy Hickey and the whole cast were on hand, and Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein stopped by for a photo as well.

To view more photos of the Gentleman's Guide team, visit our Facebook page!


(from left) Composer and lyricist Steven Lutvak, director Darko Tresnjak and book writer and lyricist Robert L. Freedman.


Jefferson Mays.


The cast and creative team of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder: (from left) cast members Catherine Walker, Kendal Sparks, Heather Ayers, Chilina Kennedy and Kevin Ligon, composer and lyricist Steven Lutvak, book writer and lyricist Robert L. Freedman, Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, cast member Jefferson Mays, director Darko Tresnjak, cast members Ken Barnett, Lisa O'Hare, Price Waldman and Rachel Izen and choreographer Peggy Hickey. The world premiere of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, with book by Freedman, music by Lutvak, lyrics by Freedman and Lutvak, based on the novel Israel Rank by Roy Horniman and directed by Tresnjak, runs March 8 - April 14, 2013 at The Old Globe. Photos by Henry DiRocco.


Ken Barnett.


(from left) Chilina Kennedy and Lisa O'Hare.


A NIGHT OUT AT PYGMALION

(2/19/12) • LGBT theatre lovers and their friends headed to the Globe on Jan. 24 for OUT at the Globe, a pre-show event in Hattox Hall that featured food, drinks, raffle prizes and music from DJ John Joseph. The event was followed by a performance of the Globe's 100th Anniversary production of Pygmalion. Two more OUT events are scheduled for this season: March 14 for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder and May 9 for Other Desert Cities, and everyone is welcome to attend.

For more information and to buy tickets to this special event, click here, and to see more photos, check out our Facebook page!










CHECK OUT SCENES AND MUSIC FROM THE BROTHERS SIZE!




CRITICS ARE SPELLBOUND OVER THE BROTHERS SIZE!

(2/11/13) • The poetry and power of Tarell Alvin McCraney's The Brothers Size have cast their spell over audiences and critics alike. The Brothers Size, which tells the story of two brothers in Louisiana through music and myth, runs through Feb. 24 at The Old Globe.

Directed with sensitive clarity by Tea Alagić, this production of The Brothers Size
has a simplicity that quietly ripples outward into an emotional grandness.
McCraney makes poetry not just out of words but out of rhythm, gesture and breath.”
-Los Angeles Times

CRITIC'S CHOICE
“Gripping, edge-of-the-seat drama. The cast is superb!”
-U-T San Diego

“A beautifully intense, hauntingly powerful exploration of fraternal bonds,
with three consummate actors under the expert and meticulous direction of Tea Alagić.”
-KSDS Jazz 88

“The Old Globe is to be congratulated for introducing San Diego audiences to McCraney's work.
Leaves the audience breathless, unsettled and aching for more!”
-La Jolla Light

To view additional photos from The Brothers Size, visit our Facebook page!


(from left) Okieriete Onaodowan as Oshoosi Size
and Antwayn Hopper as Elegba.


(foreground, from left) Joshua Elijah Reese as Ogun Henri Size and Okieriete Onaodowan as Oshoosi Size with Jonathan Melville Pratt.


(from left) Joshua Elijah Reese as Ogun Henri Size, Okieriete Onaodowan as Oshoosi Size and Antwayn Hopper as Elegba in the Southern California premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney's The Brothers Size, directed by Tea Alagić, Jan. 26 - Feb. 24, 2013 at The Old Globe.
Photos by Henry DiRocco.


Percussionist and composer Jonathan Melville Pratt.


(from left) Okieriete Onaodowan as Oshoosi Size, Joshua Elijah Reese as Ogun Henri Size and Antwayn Hopper as Elegba.


TAKE A PEEK AT SCENES FROM PYGMALION!




THE OLD GLOBE WINS 10 CRAIG NOEL AWARDS!

(2/6/13) • The Old Globe received 10 San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Craig Noel Awards honoring excellence in 2012 San Diego County theater, the most wins of any theater company, at a ceremony held at the Museum of Modern Art San Diego on Feb. 4. The world premiere of Allegiance – A New American Musical garnered three awards, for Outstanding New Musical, Orchestrations and Featured Performance in a Musical for Michael K. Lee. The Scottsboro Boys also earned three awards, including Outstanding Resident Musical as well as Direction of a Musical and Choreography for Susan Stroman. Jonathan Caren’s The Recommendation was named Outstanding New Play. The Globe’s productions of Nobody Loves You, Inherit the Wind and As You Like It each received one award.

“All of us at The Old Globe are truly honored by this recognition from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle,” said Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “I am so proud to join a great institution that brings so much exciting work to San Diego audiences, and I am genuinely happy to see up close the passion and vibrancy of this city’s wonderful and diverse theater community.”

“We are grateful to the Critics Circle for the awards and for recognizing these productions, of which we are particularly proud,” added Managing Director Michael G. Murphy. “Allegiance and The Scottsboro Boys both shed light on dark periods of American history, and through the lens of theater we were able to entertain and educate Southern California audiences. Each year we strive to produce powerful, important work that generates conversations in our community. We are thankful for the Critics Circle’s ongoing support of excellence in local theater.”

The complete list of Craig Noel Awards received by The Old Globe:

  • Outstanding Resident Musical The Scottsboro Boys
  • Outstanding Direction of a Musical – Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys
  • Outstanding Choreography – Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys
  • Outstanding New Musical Allegiance – A New American Musical
  • Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical, Male – Michael K. Lee, Allegiance – A New American Musical
  • Outstanding Orchestrations – Lynne Shankel, Allegiance – A New American Musical
  • Outstanding New Play – Jonathan Caren, The Recommendation
  • Outstanding New Score – Gaby Alter and Itamar Moses, Nobody Loves You
  • Outstanding Costume Design – Deirdre Clancy, Inherit the Wind
  • Outstanding Musical Direction – Elan McMahan, As You Like It (as part of McMahan’s award recognizing her 2012 body of work)


Michael K. Lee and Lea Salonga in
Allegiance – A New American Musical.


(from left) Jimonn Cole and Evan Todd
in The Recommendation.


The cast of The Scottsboro Boys. Photos by Henry DiRocco.


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