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FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: DOUBLE INDEMNITY

(7/26/13) • Transformation is the stuff of theater. Onstage, an actor, mortal and human, transforms into a king or a saint or even a god. A bare platform transforms into the deck of a ship or the side of a mountain or the moat of a castle. A wooden chair transforms into a throne or the pilot’s seat in an airplane cockpit. These transformations happen not in the things themselves—sometimes a chair is only a chair—but instead in the minds of the audience. “Let us on your imaginary forces work,” Shakespeare urges us at the beginning of Henry V, articulating the basic principle of transformation in the theater: the crucial work of creativity happens in the audience’s imagination. “Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts,” he continues, reminding us that we who sit in the dark supply what theater artists in the light cannot. “Think, when we speak of horses, that you see them.” We think, and so we see.

Film handles transformation differently. On the silver screen, transformation is a literal matter. You want to see a horse? We’ll wrangle a real one, breath visible on the nostrils and sweat on the coat. Film takes us for real to the deck of a ship or the cockpit of a plane by sending a camera into an actual place, or a scrupulously exact replica of one. It’s a thing we love about the movies: the medium transports us to places we’ve never been and time periods in which we do not live, and we visit them not in our imaginations but in photographic actuality.

James M. Cain’s pulp fiction novella Double Indemnity gives Globe audiences a rare opportunity to ponder the differences between stage and film. Adapted for the screen by the giants Billy Wilder and (sometime San Diegan) Raymond Chandler, Double Indemnity is cherished as a cinematic classic and the best-ever example of the film noir. The movie takes us to fancy homes in Los Feliz, ornate downtown offices, train cars, desert wildernesses, and the bustling streets of early 40s Los Angeles. Wilder’s canted camera angles and shadowy atmosphere, together with performances that are perfect exemplars of the term “hard-boiled,” tell a story that is nothing if not highly stylized, but the realism of the film medium itself makes us experience every second of it as though it were all as real as our own real lives.

The stage can make us believe in make believe, too. In their barnstorming stage adaptation of Cain’s novella, David Pichette and R. Hamilton Wright have had the intrepidity to up the ante on Wilder and Chandler, fashioning Double Indemnity into a work that is as essentially theatrical as MacMurray, Stanwyck, and Robinson are cinematic. But onstage, Double Indemnity has no trains, cars, seedy apartments, or Wilshire Boulevards. Not literal ones, anyway. Pichette and Wright deal in essence, not actuality. In the theater, the things they need are conjured through fragments and suggestions. A Bakelite telephone gives us a 40s office, a lonely train whistle brings us to Union Station, and most of all, a turn of phrase—the artful deployment of language itself—transforms time, place, and person.

In both its adaptations, Double Indemnity is a great yarn. From its first moments we are riveted to Huff and Phyllis and their inevitable—but hugely, voyeuristically enjoyable—slide from ill intent to evil outcome. Cinematic wizards spun that yarn in the 40s; today at the Globe, stage wizards spin it anew. The innovative and daring director John Gould Rubin makes his Globe debut at the helm of an A-list creative team who exploit the suggestive powers of theater for all they are worth. They understand that if film is concrete, then theater is metaphoric. And they make of Double Indemnity a ripping summer entertainment even as they remind us that our “imaginary forces” are capable of limitless power and pleasure.

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



THE RAINMAKER OPENS AT THE OLD GLOBE

(7/25/13) • The skies in San Diego were clear as the cast and creative team of The Rainmaker celebrated their opening night on Thursday, July 18. They joined friends and family in the Globe's Hattox Hall, along with Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and Managing Director Michael G. Murphy, to mark the official opening of the Globe's revival of N. Richard Nash's classic play. And on their way into the party, director Maria Mileaf and the cast stopped by the red carpet for some photos.

Below are just a few of the photos from opening night. To see more, visit our Facebook page!


Cast members Danielle Skraastad and Gbenga Akinnagbe.


Director Maria Mileaf.


Director Maria Mileaf (center) with the cast of The Rainmaker at the show's opening night party on July 18, 2013: (from left) Kyle Harris, Herbert Siguenza, Peter Douglas, Tug Coker, Danielle Skraastad, John Judd and Gbenga Akinnagbe. N. Richard Nash's The Rainmaker, directed by Mileaf, runs July 13 - Aug. 11, 2013 at The Old Globe. Photo by Doug Gates.


(from left) Cast members Kyle Harris and Tug Coker.


Cast member Herbert Siguenza.


DOUBLE INDEMNITY EXTENDS ONE WEEK

(7/24/13) • The Old Globe has announced that the San Diego Premiere of the crime classic Double Indemnity will receive an additional week of performances and will now run through Sept. 1. The production begins previews on July 27 and was originally set to close on Aug. 25. Opening night is Aug. 1. Double Indemnity is adapted by David Pichette and R. Hamilton Wright from the book by James M. Cain and is directed by John Gould Rubin.

The classic crime novel and film noir masterpiece Double Indemnity has been reinvented for the stage. When small-time insurance agent Walter Huff falls under the spell of Phyllis, a gorgeous femme fatale, the two conspire to murder her husband for the insurance money. It seems like the perfect crime — until it all starts to unravel. Sexy, fun and wildly theatrical, Double Indemnity is a riveting summer thriller.

As previously announced, the cast of Double Indemnity alsofeatures Angel Desai (Phyllis Nirlinger), Michael Hayden (Walter Huff), Murphy Guyer (Keyes, Herbert Nirlinger), Megan Ketch (Lola Nirlinger, Nettie, Nurse) and Vayu O’Donnell (Sachetti, Jackson, Norton).

The creative team includes Christopher Barreca (Scenic Design), David Israel Reynoso (Costume Design), Stephen Strawbridge (Lighting Design), Elizabeth Rhodes (Sound Design), Keith Skretch (Projection Design), Kwan-Fai Lam (Original Music), Caparelliotis Casting (Casting) and Peter Van Dyke (Stage Manager).

For more information and tickets to Double Indemnity, click here!

(Photo: Angel Desai and Michael Hayden, stars of Double Indemnity. Photo by Jim Cox.)



SCIENCE OR SNAKE-OIL?: THE HISTORY OF RAINMAKING

(7/23/13) • The Hopi had their rain dances; the medieval Europeans rang church bells. In the 1800s and early 1900s, the American West produced a bumper crop of rainmakers: men determined to coax storms from an unforgiving sky.

Some rainmakers operated under the aegis of science, with great public support. In the mid-1800s, James Pollard Espy, a respected pioneer in the science of meteorology, proposed setting huge fires across the central United States to ensure rainfall for the nation’s crops. His assumption: super-heating the air would force raindrops to condense. Espy failed to secure federal funding for this plan, but in 1891, Robert Dyrenforth was more successful. The U.S. Government invested nearly $20,000 in Dyrenforth’s experiments in “rainmaking by explosives.” Dyrenforth believed, as did the ancient Greeks and Romans, that the loud sounds of battle shook water loose from the sky. He traveled across Texas, detonating balloons full of hydrogen and rackarock, a coal mining explosive, expecting the resulting explosions to “squeeze the water out of the air like a sponge.” They did not.

The true stock-in-trade of the American rainmaker was not science but showmanship. A rainmaker rolling into town might not bring storms, but he was guaranteed to draw a crowd, much like a traveling magician or circus troupe. Rainmaker Frank Melbourne, also known as “The Rain Wizard,” was once described as “a kind of cornfield Barnum.” His Australian accent and self-aggrandizing stories were as vital to his success as his secret rainmaking formula, which he kept in a black bag he called “the baby.” Rainmaker Clayton Jewell plied his trade from a specially rigged boxcar lab with the help of a hunchbacked assistant. In the words of historian James Rodger Fleming, Jewell “rode the rails as a kind of traveling fireworks and vaudeville show, detonating dynamite, launching exploding balloons and rockets, and dispensing foul-smelling volatile gases charged with electricity.”

But America’s most famous rainmaker lived right here in San Diego. In late 1915, at the height of the Panama-California Exposition (the event for which Balboa Park was created), the San Diego City Council promised Charles Mallory Hatfield $10,000 if he could make enough rain to fill the Morena Reservoir. Hatfield, who preferred to be called a “moisture accelerator,” built a 12-foot wooden tower, climbed atop it and mixed his rainmaking chemicals — double the dose he would ordinarily have used. Within a week, the rains began. Within a month, the San Diego River had overflowed its banks, Mission Valley was flooded, two major dams had burst and whole communities had been destroyed. The event became known as “Hatfield’s Flood,” but the City Council declared it an Act of God, refusing to pay Hatfield a single penny.

Hatfield’s biographer, Garry Jenkins, called this age of American rainmaking “the era of technology, of practical miracles, of Progress.” As great inventors captured the American imagination — Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell — nothing could better encapsulate the spirit of the West than the rainmaker: a man determined to use his ingenuity to beat nature at her own game, or at least make a good old American dollar in the attempt.

—Danielle Mages Amato

(Top photo: Robert Dyrenforth orders his assistants to speed up. Cartoon by H. Mayer, 1891. Bottom photo: Charles Mallory Hatfield. Courtesy of Special Collections, San Diego Public Library.)



WEATHER WARNING: TALKING WITH THE RAINMAKER DIRECTOR MARIA MILEAF

(7/22/13) • What drew you to The Rainmaker? What made this a project you wanted to direct?

When Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein suggested The Rainmaker to me, I sat down with the script, and I discovered that it’s a page-turner. I’d never seen or read it before, and I hadn’t seen the movie. I had a really strong emotional reaction to the play — I found it compelling, engaging, refreshing. I loved the story, and I loved the characters. And I love the challenge of bringing older plays to life.

What kind of challenges do you think the play presents?

Any time you do a play, there are three time periods at work: when it’s set, when it was written and today — when a group of artists comes together to make a new production for an audience. The challenge is how to place the story in its original time period, acknowledge the issues raised by the period in which it was written and then still keep it alive for an audience today, with their contemporary sensibilities and expectations. In other words, we want to give the play new life while still respecting the heart of the original and the intentions of the writer.

The Rainmaker is set in the 1930s on a ranch somewhere in the West. It takes place right before the Dust Bowl, but the family in the play is wealthy; they’re not poor farmers like the Okies in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. They’re dying in a drought, literally; their cattle are dying, and the characters are worried about their workers and their ranch. We wanted to capture some of that 1930s world in the design: the iconic images of the West, the dryness and the sky. We needed a sense of that place and time — the wealthy ranch house with its verandas and outbuildings and barns — but we didn’t want to burden the audience with pounds and pounds of scenery. I think what scenic designer Neil Patel came up with is very evocative — very beautiful and deceptively simple. And I’m lucky to be working with a fantastic design team. Lighting designer Japhy Weideman has created an amazingly lit sky that is so important to the visual world. Katherine Roth has imagined clothing that places the characters in the ’30s while underscoring their personalities in a fresh way. And Bart Fasbender has located a musical universe. For all of us, the challenge is to bring the world of the 1930s to life without suffocating that world in a museum panorama from another decade.

Even though it’s set in the 1930s, the politics and the family dynamics of the play are very much of the 1950s, when the play was written. The main character, Lizzie, is 27, and she’s very fearful of becoming a “spinster” or an “old maid” — those are the words they use in the play. In 2013, we don’t think that a woman’s sole destiny is to be a wife and mother. We don’t think that’s the only way — or even the best way — for a woman to find fulfillment. However, Lizzie’s dreams — finding love, starting a family, searching for a soulmate — I think they still resonate for us today. And Lizzie is very articulate about what she wants — and how she wants it. She’s not like the other women in town, and she doesn’t want to be like them. She’s strong; she’s smart. She’s capable, and even though she longs for love, she isn’t willing to put on some kind of act, pretend to be something she’s not, to get what she wants. She’s standing by her own sense of authentic self, and that to me feels very contemporary. I’m thrilled that Danielle Skraastad is working with me on this production to bring Lizzie to life.

It’s interesting that Lizzie is the only female character in the play, the only woman in this world of men.

But the offstage characters are so specific. You almost think you see them. If we do our job well, people will know what Jim’s girlfriend looks like and what the girls down the road look like. Playwright N. Richard Nash really gives you a sense of the world offstage. And Lizzie also imitates those women, so you have that trick where you think you’re seeing them. The one person they never talk about is the mother. The absent mother — that’s a common trope in a lot of fairy tales. To me, this whole play is like a great fairy tale: Lizzie is a motherless child on an adventure toward growing up and coming into herself.

Are there particular aspects of the play you wanted to explore in this production?

The family relationships in the Curry family are stunningly beautiful. The bond between the father and his children, the relationship between Lizzie and her brothers — that’s what’s timelessly interesting. And I think the father-daughter relationship, the striking dynamic between H. C. and Lizzie, is absolutely central to the play, and it’s key to understanding how the story works.

Then you have the love triangle: the girl torn between this local guy she has a secret crush on and the sexy stranger who comes into town and blows her world apart. I wanted to make that dynamic really compelling. And when it came to Starbuck — I mean, listen to his name, “Starbuck” — I wanted to find an actor who could be smart and sexy and dangerous and inappropriate, and who was able to make you believe in that character’s fascinating history. I saw a lot of great actors in the audition process, but Gbenga Akinnagbe was the first person who came into the room and gave me not only what I was looking for in Starbuck but more than I even imagined.

I was looking for a company of actors who could bring all the characters’ dreams and relationships to life in an astonishing and dynamic yet completely honest way. I wanted their love and struggles and fears and hopes to be palpable. I’m looking forward to creating the universe of The Rainmaker with this group of artists on the remarkable stage of the Old Globe Theatre!

—Interview by Danielle Mages Amato

(Top photo: The Rainmaker director Maria Mileaf. Photo courtesy of The Old Globe.)



THE OLD GLOBE WILL PRESENT A JEFF BUCKLEY TRIBUTE CONCERT ON AUG. 19

(7/18/13) • The Old Globe will present a one-night-only Jeff Buckley Tribute Concert on Monday, Aug. 19 at 7:00 p.m. that will feature several prominent San Diego artists covering the songs of the legendary musician. The concert coincides with the Globe’s upcoming production of The Last Goodbye, a fusion of Buckley’s music with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The Jeff Buckley Tribute Concert, which will benefit the Globe’s student Shakespeare programs, will take place in the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. Ticket prices start at $20 and can be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park.

The bands scheduled to perform at the Jeff Buckley Tribute Concert include Jeff Berkley, Israel Maldonado and Fernando Apodaca with Todd Hannigan, Veronica May, Eve Selis, Gayle Skidmore, Superunloader and Pete Thurston. The concert will be emceed by Cathryn Beeks, host of KPRi-FM’s “The Homegrown Hour,” and Chris Cantore, U-T San Diego’s Director of Lifestyle & Entertainment.

The Last Goodbye is a musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet featuring the incendiary songs of Jeff Buckley. That light in yonder window is still the east and Juliet is still the sun. . . but the sound in her bedchamber is all new: the sweeping, emotional and extraordinarily beautiful songs of the late rock icon. This unique work of theater is a remarkable fusion of the classic and the modern, melding Shakespeare’s tragedy, in its original text and period, with some of the most passionate rock music of the past 20 years, staged with limitless invention by Alex Timbers, one of the true stage visionaries at work today.

To buy tickets to this one-night-only event, click here!

(Photo: Jeff Buckley. Photo by Niels Van Iperen.)



DON'T MISS BARRY EDELSTEIN IN CONVERSATION WITH JAMES SHAPIRO

(7/15/13) • The Old Globe Artistic Director and noted Shakespearean Barry Edelstein will present Barry Edelstein In Conversation with James Shapiro, the internationally renowned Shakespeare scholar, on Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 6:00 p.m. This special discussion between the two Shakespeare experts will explore themes in the Bard’s canon, current trends in American Shakespeare and the controversies surrounding the play The Merchant of Venice, which is currently running as part of the Globe’s 2013 Shakespeare Festival. Barry Edelstein In Conversation with James Shapiro will take place in the James S. Copley Auditorium at The San Diego Museum of Art.

“Professor James Shapiro is one of the world’s most important Shakespeareans, and it is a high honor to welcome him to The Old Globe and San Diego,” said Edelstein. “The excellence of his scholarly work speaks for itself, but there are two things that I think make Prof. Shapiro unique: he is a deep lover and meaningful supporter of the theater, and he has a rare ability to make complex ideas in Shakespeare accessible and immediate. I cannot wait for the real privilege of being in conversation with him.”

To buy tickets to this event, click here!

(Photo: James Shapiro. Photo courtesy of The Old Globe.)



FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: THE RAINMAKER

(7/12/13) • The Rainmaker is the first production on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in The Old Globe’s 2013 Summer Season, and I’m as excited to share it with you as I am proud of the remarkable year of work that preceded it. When I was appointed Artistic Director, Allegiance — A New American Musical was in this house; its commercial backers just weeks ago announced that it is en route to Broadway. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was next, and the Globe scheduled a special and very important performance that shared this beloved San Diego holiday tradition with an audience that hadn’t had a chance to see it: families with children on the Autism spectrum. The New Year brought me and my family to San Diego and Shaw back to the Globe in Associate Artist Nicholas Martin’s delightful production of Pygmalion, and then another old friend, Darko Tresnjak, returned with the sparkling musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder—also now bound for Broadway. Other Desert Cities, the latest work from the pen of Jon Robin Baitz, one of America’s leading playwrights, set a provocative story of the intersection between private affairs and public events against a southern California backdrop. As all this extraordinary theater unfolded in this room, next door on the Sheryl and Harvey White stage another list of fine productions held sway: God of Carnage, Good People, The Brothers Size, A Doll’s House, and Be a Good Little Widow.

Reviewing these titles I am struck by a major theme and a minor one. The major one is the sheer eclecticism of The Old Globe’s programming. There truly is something here for every taste, and the range of periods, styles, genres, and even stories and characters, is as wide as can be found at any theater in North America. And for me, still the new guy at just over six months in, this breadth of material is a testament less to the Globe’s programming acumen than to San Diego’s sophistication. I don’t mean to flatter when I say that outside the half-dozen cities that are the world’s great theater capitals, I would be hard pressed to name another metropolis with a large and loyal audience for a program as broad as ours (and that’s not to mention the breadth of theater that’s available in dozens of other institutional theaters around San Diego). That this audience is here is a reminder to me—although I rarely need one—that I really am fortunate to be in the position I am.

The minor theme that emerges from our past season is that a majority of the stories the Globe told this year were focused on women. Allegiance was driven by a strong female protagonist; Pygmalion is of course Shaw’s great proto-feminist play; A Doll’s House is the feminist ur-text of the modern theater; both Good People and Other Desert Cities boast female roles that the major actresses on the American stage rejoice in playing; and Be a Good Little Widow is nothing if not a revelatory exploration of two generations of the American female experience. Widow was written by a woman, as was Carnage; Doll’s House and Brothers Size were directed by women.

And that brings me to The Rainmaker. This mid-century American classic was ahead of its time in its sympathetic view of a young woman’s search for self in the context of an overwhelmingly patriarchal culture. Lizzie Curry’s self-discovery may not be the stuff of the countercultural explosion that swept the country a decade after this play’s Broadway premiere, but her core conviction is no less powerful: that the vast expanses of the American west must hold a promise for her as full as that it offers her brothers, and that hers are the terms that matter more than her family’s or her town’s as she decides whether to love, and whom. Thinking about a director for this play I knew that I wanted to find an artist who would illuminate Lizzie and her world in ways I’d not seen in previous productions, and I am thrilled at all the richness that my friend and colleague Maria Mileaf has found in every scene. Maria’s visual sense complements her interpretive powers, and I think you will agree that she and her collaborators have found the beating heart in a play that deserves its place in the pantheon of American classics.

In 1937—coincidentally not long after the time chronicled in The Rainmaker—The Old Globe produced its first non-Shakespearean play. It was called The Distaff Side. The title is a now-antiquated phrase that refers to all things female. The distinguished female playwrights and directors who will feature in our 2013-2014 season and the women-centered stories they will tell attest that these many decades later, the distaff side remains very much on this theater’s mind.

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



THE CRITICS ARE ENCHANTED BY THE 2013 SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL

(7/11/13) • The Globe's 2013 Shakespeare Festival is in full swing, and audiences and critics have fallen under the spell of A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. The Festival runs through September 29 in the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

CRITIC’S CHOICE!
“Captures all the magic of Shakespeare's great romantic fantasy
while also mining the play's comedy in ways both
self-mockingly broad and exquisitely subtle.”
—U-T San Diego

“Director Ian Talbot serves up one of the sexiest, most fascinating,
most musical and magical productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream
ever witnessed in a long experience of the play.”
—San Diego Uptown News


Krystel Lucas as Titania (center) with the cast of
A Midsummer Night's Dream
. Photo by Jim Cox.


Krystel Lucas as Titania and Miles Anderson
as Bottom. Photo by Jim Cox.

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

CRITIC’S CHOICE!
“Director Adrian Noble's approach remains, like the performances of
Miles Anderson, Donald Carrier and others, complex and nuanced.
The show also benefits from a warm, very human performance by
Krystel Lucas, who seems lit from within.”
—U-T San Diego

“Miles Anderson delivers a soaring performance as Shylock.”
—San Diego CityBeat


(from left) Donald Carrier as Antonio and Miles Anderson
as Shylock. Photo by Michael Lamont.


Krystel Lucas as Portia. Photo by Michael Lamont.

ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD

CRITIC’S CHOICE!
“Director Adrian Noble has cast two actors [John Lavelle and Jay Whittaker]
with the wit, insight and sheer endurance to do justice to playwright
Tom Stoppard's masterful postmodern puzzle.”
—U-T San Diego


“This is probably as good a production as Tom Stoppard's comi-tragedy will ever see.
Director Adrian Noble knows the play to its inches and has encouraged excellent
performances from leads Jay Whittaker and John Lavelle.”
—San Diego Reader


(from left) John Lavelle as Rosencrantz and
Jay Whittaker as Guildenstern. Photo by Michael Lamont.


(foreground, from left) John Lavelle as Rosencrantz, Sherman Howard as The Player and Jay Whittaker as Guildenstern with the cast of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Photo by Michael Lamont.

To view additional photos from the 2013 Shakespeare Festival, visit our Facebook page!


CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM ANNOUNCED FOR DOUBLE INDEMNITY

(7/10/13) • The Old Globe has announced the cast and creative team for the San Diego Premiere of the crime classic Double Indemnity, adapted by David Pichette and R. Hamilton Wright from the novel by James M. Cain. Directed by John Gould Rubin, Double Indemnity will run July 27 – August 25, 2013 in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Preview performances run July 27 – July 31.

The classic crime novel and film noir masterpiece Double Indemnity has been reinvented for the stage. When small-time insurance agent Walter Huff falls under the spell of Phyllis, a gorgeous femme fatale, the two conspire to murder her husband for the insurance money. It seems like the perfect crime—until it all starts to unravel. Sexy, fun and wildly theatrical, Double Indemnity is a riveting summer thriller.

Double Indemnity is one great yarn, an edge-of-your-seat, what-will-happen-next thrill ride, and it’s a perfect summer entertainment for San Diego audiences,” said Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “The innovative and imaginative director John Gould Rubin has assembled an A-list team of designers to bring to the Globe a production that I know will excite and delight.”

Michael Hayden (Walter Huff) has appeared on Broadway in Judgment at Nuremberg (Tony Award nomination), Carousel, Cabaret, Enchanted April, Festen and Henry IV, and his Off Broadway credits include All’s Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure (Shakespeare in the Park), The Lady from Dubuque (Signature Theatre Company), Dessa Rose and Far East (Lincoln Center Theater) and All My Sons (Roundabout Theatre Company).

Angel Desai (Phyllis Nirlinger) played Marta in the Tony Award-winning 2006 Broadway revival of Company, and she has been seen Off Broadway in The Winter’s Tale directed by Barry Edelstein and The Tempest (Classic Stage Company), Stop Kiss and Henry VIII (The Public Theater), Manic Flight Reaction and The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Playwrights Horizons) and The Architecture of Loss (New York Theatre Workshop).

The cast of Double Indemnity alsofeatures Murphy Guyer (Keyes, Herbert Nirlinger), Megan Ketch (Lola Nirlinger, Nettie, Nurse) and Vayu O’Donnell (Sachetti, Jackson, Norton).

The creative team includes Christopher Barreca (Scenic Design), David Israel Reynoso (Costume Design), Stephen Strawbridge (Lighting Design), Elizabeth Rhodes (Sound Design), Keith Skretch (Projection Design), Kwan-Fai Lam (Original Music), Caparelliotis Casting (Casting) and Peter Van Dyke (Stage Manager).

To view more photos of the team from Double Indemnity, visit our Facebook page!


Director John Gould Rubin (seated) with the cast of Double Indemnity: (from left) Murphy Guyer, Angel Desai, Michael Hayden, Megan Ketch and Vayu O'Donnell. The San Diego Premiere of Double Indemnity, adapted by David Pichette and R. Hamilton Wright, based on the book by James M. Cain, directed by Rubin, runs July 27 - Aug. 25, 2013 at The Old Globe. Photo by Jim Cox.


BARRY EDELSTEIN WILL OFFER ENCORE PRESENTATION OF THINKING SHAKESPEARE LIVE!

(7/8/13) • Following a sold-out showing in June, The Old Globe will offer an encore presentation of Thinking Shakespeare Live!, a 90-minute exploration of the language of Shakespeare, on Saturday, Aug. 10 at 11:00 a.m. Led by Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and assisted by three professional classical actors, this special program based on Edelstein’s book, Thinking Shakespeare: A How-To Guide for Student Actors, Directors, and Anyone Else Who Wants to Feel More Comfortable with the Bard, reveals a performer’s approach to Shakespearean language so audiences may easily understand the poetry of the Bard. This encore presentation will also feature new material and insights designed especially for Globe audiences. An ideal introduction to Shakespeare for families and young audiences, Thinking Shakespeare Live! will take place on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.

“San Diego boasts a huge and hungry audience for Shakespeare, and one of the Globe’s most important responsibilities is to continue finding innovative ways to serve it,” said Edelstein. “The response to Thinking Shakespeare Live! was extremely gratifying, and I am very happy to be able to present an encore. I’ll do anything I can to spread the Shakespeare love.”

Coinciding with The Old Globe’s 2013 Shakespeare Festival and the upcoming World Premiere of the Romeo and Juliet-inspired musical The Last Goodbye, Thinking Shakespeare Live! is a fast-paced, funny and altogether fascinating guide to the language of the Bard. In this lively 90-minute program, Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, called by NPR “one of the country’s leading Shakespeareans,” provides audiences a unique opportunity to learn the methods he imparts to professional actors in the rehearsal room. As Edelstein and three skilled actors demonstrate these techniques live on stage, this entertaining behind-the-scenes look at the creative process offers a primer on the tools used to hear and understand Shakespeare. With humor and insight, Thinking Shakespeare Live! brings audiences into the intoxicating world of the Bard and shows how his masterful poetry can come to life for everyone.

For tickets to this special events, click here!

(Photo: Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein at Thinking Shakespeare Live! on June 15, 2013. Photo by Doug Gates.)


THE 2013 SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL CELEBRATES OPENING NIGHT

(7/3/13) • The cast and creative team of the 2013 Shakespeare Festival had a magical midsummer night's opening party on July 2. They joined friends, family and Old Globe staff in Hattox Hall to celebrate the official opening performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. They also stopped by the red carpet to pose for a few photos.

To see additional photos from the 2013 Shakespeare Festival opening night, visit our Facebook page!


(from left) Lucas Hall, Krystel Lucas and Jay Whittaker,
the fairies of A Midsummer Night's Dream.


(from left) Jay Whittaker, Sherman Howard and John Lavelle,
the stars of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.


(from left) Adam Gerber, Winslow Corbett, Nic Few and
Ryman Sneed, the four lovers of A Midsummer Night's Dream.


(from left) Miles Anderson, Krystel Lucas and Donald Carrier,
the stars of The Merchant of Venice.


Scenic designer Ralph Funicello and Amanda Naughton.


(from left) Actors Stephanie Roetzel, Whitney Wakimoto and
Danielle O'Farrell. (Photos by Doug Gates.)


ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE OURS

(7/2/13) • In 1961, Polish theatre scholar Jan Kott wrote the revolutionary work Shakespeare Our Contemporary, which passionately argues for the relevance of Shakespeare’s plays to the 20th century and beyond. “Shakespeare is like the world, or life itself,” Kott says. “Every historical period finds in him what it is looking for and what it wants to see.”

What Tom Stoppard found in Shakespeare’s Hamlet were the seeds for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a groundbreaking modern classic that brilliantly reconceives the Shakespearean original. Stoppard recasts two minor characters from Hamlet as the heroes of their own play. As Rosencrantz and Guildenstern try to figure out where they are, what’s going on and which of them is which, their comic interludes are continually interrupted by scenes from the great tragedy, which appears to be taking place just offstage.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern marked Stoppard’s theatrical debut when it appeared at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966. The National Theatre gave the play its professional premiere at The Old Vic in 1967 on the same stage where John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier and Peter O’Toole had all played Hamlet. On the page and on the stage, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is haunted by echoes of Shakespeare’s play.

Before Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Stoppard was a journalist and television writer, but with the play’s premiere, he became the dramatic voice of a generation. He has written more than 30 other plays, including The Coast of Utopia, The Invention of Love, Arcadia and The Real Thing — and all of his writing shows the hallmarks of this earliest work, with its witty verbal gymnastics, strong intellectual underpinning and true theatrical flair. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is not Stoppard’s only play inspired by a previous literary work; his Travesties draws on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, and he has written two other Shakespearean homages: Dogg’s Hamlet and Cahoot’s Macbeth. (Stoppard also won an Academy Award for his work on the screenplay for Shakespeare in Love.)

Hamlet was not Stoppard’s only inspiration for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, however; he also borrows motifs and theatrical elements from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Both plays feature a pair of clowns trapped in a world over which they have no control, performing repetitive bits of comic business as they wait for events around them to unfold. The characters in both plays find themselves at sea (literally, in Stoppard’s case), unable to find solid ground, unable to settle into a truth that might give meaning to their actions. “Beckett gives me more pleasure than I can express,” Stoppard wrote, “because he always ends up with a man surrounded by the wreckage of a proposition he had made in confidence only two minutes before.” But Stoppard’s clowns, unlike Beckett’s, find themselves in a world that is self-consciously theatrical, their fates predetermined by Shakespeare’s pen. Stoppard’s play is less an attempt to analyze Hamlet than to re-examine its significance in the light of the zeitgeist and aesthetics of his own time.

The great Shakespeare critic Harold Bloom once said of Hamlet: “As a meditation on human fragility in confrontation with death, it competes only with the world’s scriptures.” With Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Stoppard has truly made Hamlet and his cohorts our contemporaries, re-imagining Shakespeare for a new generation and creating a landmark work of modern drama.

(Top photo: John Stride and Edward Petherbridge in the first production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at The Old Vic, 1967. Photo by Anthony Crickmay. Bottom photo: Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow in the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love.)



HEAR YOUR VOICE IN AN OLD GLOBE SHOW!

(6/28/13) • The Old Globe will give San Diegans a chance to hear their voices on stage when it holds open voiceover auditions for the World Premiere of Samuel D. Hunter’s comedy The Few on Sunday, July 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The open call will take place on The Old Globe’s Copley Plaza, and auditioners will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. People without prior acting experience are highly encouraged to audition. Those chosen will be notified in August and will receive $150, two tickets to The Few and the opportunity to hear their voices featured in the show throughout its run.

The Old Globe will use voice recordings from 17 members of the public to create a distinct and vibrant storytelling component of The Few. Members of the public who are not professional actors can audition to voice one of the lonely characters who phones the struggling newspaper in the play and places a personal ad via voicemail. These characters are men and women from across America aged 40 and older, and the Globe is looking for authentic voices and accents to represent the nation’s diversity. A short audition script will be provided that day, and no reservation is necessary to audition.

In The Few, QZ keeps her small newspaper going in her northern Idaho town by running personal ads from lovelorn long-haul truckers. When her publisher and former lover returns, QZ’s romantic life jackknifes sharper than a runaway 18-wheeler on the I-90. A funny and bighearted comedy, The Few explores our longing for connection and the barriers we place in our way. Directed by Davis McCallum, the World Premiere of The Few will run Sept. 28 – Oct. 27 in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.

For more information, click here or email Casting@TheOldGlobe.org.

(Top photo: The Few playwright Samuel D. Hunter. Photo by John M. Baker.)



CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM ANNOUNCED FOR THE RAINMAKER

(6/26/13) • The Old Globe today announced the cast and creative team for the Globe’s revival of N. Richard Nash’s classic romantic comedy The Rainmaker. Directed by Maria Mileaf, The Rainmaker will run July 13 – August 11, 2013 on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.

The Rainmaker is set against the sweeping landscape of the American Midwest. On her family’s drought-ridden ranch, Lizzie’s hopes and dreams have run as dry as the barren fields. When the irresistible Starbuck arrives in town, selling the promise of rain, Lizzie must decide: is he a con man, or does he hold the key to everything she desires?

“It’s the Globe’s pleasure to add a sweet note of romance to the beautiful San Diego summer,” said Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “The Rainmaker’s story of a young woman’s search for love and for self in the vast open spaces of the American plains continues to resonate. The Old Globe’s production, under the visionary direction of Maria Mileaf, finds the beating heart in a gorgeous play that deserves its place in the pantheon of American classics.”

Danielle Skraastad makes her Globe debut as Lizzie. Her Broadway credits include All My Sons, and her Off Broadway credits include The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures (Signature Theatre Company/The Public Theater), In the Wake (The Public Theater), The Pain and the Itch (Playwrights Horizons), Anon (Atlantic Theater Company) and The Mound Builders (Signature Theatre Company).

Gbenga Akinnagbe plays the mysterious Starbuck. His theater credits include The Oedipus Cycle (The Shakespeare Theatre Company), Henry V (The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park) and The Thin Place (Intiman Theatre). He is also known for his leading role on the HBO series “The Wire” as well as recurring roles on “The Good Wife,” “Nurse Jackie” and the new USA series “Graceland.”

The cast of The Rainmaker also features Tug Coker (File), Peter Douglas (Noah Curry), Kyle Harris (Jim Curry), John Judd (H. C. Curry) and Herbert Siguenza (Sheriff Thomas).

The creative team includes Neil Patel (Scenic Design), Katherine Roth (Costume Design), Japhy Weideman (Lighting Design), Bart Fasbender (Sound Design), Ryan Beattie Scrimger (Vocal and Dialect Coach), Caparelliotis Casting (Casting) and Monica A. Cuoco (Stage Manager).

To view more photos of the team from The Rainmaker, visit our Facebook page!


Gbenga Akinnagbe and Danielle Skraastad.


(from left) Peter Douglas, Danielle Skraastad,
Kyle Harris and John Judd.


Director Maria Mileaf (back row, center) with the cast of The Rainmaker: (back row, from left) Kyle Harris, Peter Douglas, Tug Coker and Herbert Siguenza; (front row) Gbenga Akinnagbe, Danielle Skraastad and John Judd. N. Richard Nash's The Rainmaker, directed by Mileaf, runs July 13 - Aug. 11, 2013 at The Old Globe. Photos by Jim Cox.


(from left) Gbenga Akinnagbe, Danielle Skraastad and Tug Coker.


The cast of The Rainmaker: (back row, from left) Kyle Harris, Peter Douglas, Tug Coker and Herbert Siguenza; (front row) Gbenga Akinnagbe, Danielle Skraastad and John Judd.


HELP THE OLD GLOBE WIN THE 2013 U-T READERS POLL!

(6/17/13) • The Old Globe is nominated for Best Live Theater Group in the 2013 U-T Readers Poll, and we need your help to win!

Just click this link and vote for The Old Globe in “Live Theater Group” (the third category on the page). You can vote once a day until July 7. And don’t hesitate to tell your friends and family, too.

Thanks to all of the Globe loyal fans for their support!


HONEST IN HIS VICES: THE VILLAINY AND HUMANITY OF SHYLOCK

(6/6/13) • Shylock is not the largest role in The Merchant of Venice (Portia speaks nearly twice as many lines), nor is he the play’s title character (that honor goes to Antonio). In fact, Shylock appears in only five of the play’s 20 scenes. And yet, his character has dominated the play’s critical and performance history for over 400 years.

Why? Actors, directors and critics have long debated whether The Merchant of Venice should be classified and performed as a comedy, tragicomedy, tragedy or even fairy tale. That question cannot be answered without confronting the character of Shylock. In lesser hands than Shakespeare’s, Shylock might have simply been a structural device — a blocking character created to keep the play’s comic lovers apart — or yet another iteration of a well-known period stereotype — the evil Jew audiences would have recognized from plays like Christopher Marlowe’s highly successful The Jew of Malta. Instead, Shakespeare created a character of nuance and weight, a fulcrum around which the entire play turns.

The Merchant of Venice was first printed in 1600, but the date of its first production is uncertain. The title page of the first quarto indicates that the play had been “divers times acted” by Shakespeare’s company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, so the play is most often dated to 1596 or 1597. Most likely, this meant that Richard Burbage, Shakespeare’s leading actor at the time and the man who first played Lear, Hamlet and Richard III, would have taken the role of Shylock, but some speculation remains that the part may have been played by a comedian instead. “Perhaps the role was originally played by Will Kemp, the leading comic actor in the group,” writes Shakespeare performance historian Rebecca Brown, “and the portrayal was harshly comic and influenced by the traditions of commedia dell’arte, or, perhaps, played in the red wig and false nose worn by villainous Jewish characters in the medieval mystery plays. Perhaps Richard Burbage, the actor building a reputation for himself in tragic roles, took the part — we simply don’t know.”

What we do know is that until the 20th century, the critical and performance history of The Merchant of Venice is largely a history of how Shylock was interpreted and performed. There are no recorded productions of the play between 1603 and 1701, when it returned to the English stage in a highly altered version by George Granville, Lord Landsdowne. In this version, called The Jew of Venice, the comic aspects of the play were fully embraced. Nicholas Rowe, the first editor of Shakespeare’s plays, wrote in 1709 that he had seen The Merchant of Venice “receiv’d and acted as a comedy, and the part of the Jew perform’d by an Excellent Comedian.” Despite this fact, he adds: “Yet I cannot but think it was design’d Tragically by the Author.”

A major change in the interpretation of the play came in 1741, when Charles Macklin shocked audiences with his sinister and terrifying Shylock, an approach so novel at the time that the manager of the Theatre Royal did not want to allow it. But Macklin prevailed, and he was so successful that he went on to play Shylock in that vein for nearly 50 years. In 1814, Edmund Kean put his own stamp on the role, interpreting Shylock as a villain, yes, but one with a sense of true dignity and humanity. His portrayal led critic William Hazlitt to write, “Our sympathies are much oftener with him than with his enemies. He is honest in his vices; they are hypocrites in their virtues.”

In 1879, actor Henry Irving took this approach to Shylock even further, making Shylock in effect the central character of the piece. Irving cut the text to remove much of its bawdy humor, and he famously invented a moment in which Shylock knocked on his own door and discovered to his great sorrow that his daughter had eloped. Renowned actress Ellen Terry, who played Portia to Irving’s Shylock, felt that Irving’s approach unbalanced the play to its detriment. She wrote in her memoirs that “his heroic saint was splendid, but it wasn’t good for Portia.” After Irving, the tradition of largely sympathetic Shylocks continued into the 20th century.

Since World War II there has been a growth of critical conversation around the question of the play’s anti-Semitism. Critics debate: is Shakespeare himself expressing the anti-Semitic views common in his time, or is he providing an opportunity for audiences to examine that anti-Semitism critically? Or both? In Shylock, Shakespeare has immortalized a particularly vicious stereotype. As Joseph Telushkin writes, “The damage inflicted on the Jews by The Merchant of Venice has been far greater than a pound of flesh. The image of Jews as moneylending Shylocks has persisted...to this day.” In a post-Holocaust world, the question has been raised: should theatres continue to produce The Merchant of Venice at all? Many voices say yes. In James Shapiro’s 1996 study Shakespeare and the Jews, Shapiro concludes that productions of the play provide a valuable opportunity to see the “faultlines” in a society, the places where we define our own cultural identities by rejecting otherness. “Censoring the play is always more dangerous than staging it,” he writes. Productions that have explicitly confronted the play’s anti-Semitism include director George Tabori’s 1966 staging, a play-within-a-play in which a group of concentration-camp prisoners are forced to perform The Merchant of Venice for their guards. In the last 25 years, productions featuring well-known Jewish actors (Dustin Hoffman, F. Murray Abraham, Antony Sher, Henry Goodman) as Shylock have also flourished.

Writing about Shakespeare’s plays, the critic Northrup Frye observed: “A comedy is not a play which ends happily: it is a play in which a certain structure is present and works through to its own logical end, whether we or the cast or the author feel happy about it or not. To this day, critics and artists still struggle with — and embrace — the contradictions in The Merchant of Venice, a comedy both funny and deeply unfunny, a love story that ends not only with multiple marriages but also with profound loss, a play dominated by a side character complex and unsettling enough to preoccupy audiences for hundreds of years.

—Danielle Mages Amato

(Top photo: Charles Macklin (center left) as Shylock circa 1768. Painting by Johan Zoffany. Middle photo: Henry Irving as Shylock, 1879. Bottom photo: Hal Holbrook as Shylock and Kandis Chappell as Portia in the Globe’s 1991 production of The Merchant of Venice, directed by Jack O’Brien.)


A NOTE FROM BARRY EDELSTEIN: 2013 SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL

(6/3/13) • This summer marks Adrian Noble’s fourth and, alas, final season as Artistic Director of the Globe’s world-famous Shakespeare Festival. Since 2010, he has supervised 12 productions in the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre and directed eight of them. This body of work leaves a rich legacy of excellence and delight that I will strive to match in the years ahead as I program our summer season. It’s my honor to congratulate Adrian and to thank him for the contribution he’s made to our city, our region, our audience, and our institution.

I hope Adrian will forgive me if I append a personal note to my official expression of gratitude. I first encountered his Shakespeare work way back in 1984. It was my sophomore year of college (sorry, Adrian!), and I spent the summer in England studying Shakespeare. On weekends I would make my way to Stratford or London to inhale as much great theatre as I could. I’d heard that a 23-year-old hotshot actor straight out of RADA was giving an extraordinary Henry V at the Barbican, then the Royal Shakespeare Company’s London base, so I finagled a ticket. That hotshot actor went by the name of Kenneth Branagh, and the production in which he was so thrilling was directed by Adrian Noble.

Scene after scene was so vivid, so visceral, so brilliantly staged, that to this day I remember specific images as freshly as if I’d seen the show last night. I remember Branagh scaling way up a rusty steel wall to exhort his troops “Once more unto the breach,” then falling backward into their arms to begin the charge. That was Adrian’s wizardry at staging. I remember the chamber of the Princess of France made with hundreds of shafts of gray light tracing lines through hazy air as they reflected off a mirror ball hung stationary high above the stage. That was Adrian’s astonishingly economical way with design. I remember Branagh’s ramrod-spined impatience during the peace negotiations that end the play, and how he softened into smooth, charming romance as Henry wooed the Princess and won not only her heart but mine and every other audience member’s, too. That was Adrian’s complete command of tone. And I remember line after line after line after line of the play spoken plainly, rapidly, and with such clarity that I would still swear that the actors were making them up as they went. That was Adrian’s unparalleled mastery with text.

Adrian’s Henry V remains one of the top 10 nights of Shakespeare I’ve seen, and I’ve seen hundreds. It is a source of some amazement to me, and no little humility, that the course of my life has been such that the man who gave me that extraordinarily beautiful theatrical memory is now my colleague and friend. And it is a source of very real happiness that I’ve been able to watch him work up close. I shall not soon forget this opportunity. And I know that San Diego will not soon forget the magic that Adrian Noble conferred on four years of our balmy summer nights. The Old Globe, and I, wish him well.

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



WINNERS ANNOUNCED FOR THE 2013 GLOBE HONORS

(5/29/13) • The winners of the 2013 Globe Honors and The Road to the Jimmy™ Awards, the annual competition recognizing excellence in high school theater throughout San Diego County, were announced on Monday, May 20 after the final round of competition was held on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Hunter Schwarz of Canyon Crest Academy and Annika Gullahorn of Pacific Ridge School won in the categories of Leading Actor and Actress in a High School Musical, respectively, and will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to participate in the National High School Musical Theater Awards/The Jimmy™ Awards competition to be held on July 1 at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway. The other winners of this year’s Globe Honors were Samuel Brogadir of San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts and Alexis Young of Escondido Charter High School (Outstanding Achievement in Musical Theatre), Mitchell Connelly and Samantha Littleford, both of Coronado School of the Arts (Outstanding Achievement in Spoken Theatre) and Alexandra Adams of San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts (Outstanding Achievement in Technical Theatre). Local CBS News 8 anchor Marcella Lee emceed the final round of competition and announced the winners of Globe Honors, which was presented in association with Broadway/San Diego – A Nederlander Presentation.

Globe Honors and The Road to the Jimmy™ Awards invited high school theater students to compete with songs, monologues and portfolios in front of a live audience and a panel of judges. Winners of all Globe Honors categories received $1,000 scholarships, and the winners of the Musical, Spoken and Technical Theater categories will participate in a two-day trip to Los Angeles where they will go behind the scenes at Center Theatre Group, attend a casting workshop and take in a show.

The National High School Musical Theatre Awards is an annual celebration of outstanding student achievement in high school musical theater. The 2013 program will commence in New York City on June 26, with rehearsals, master classes, private coaching and interviews with theater professionals leading up to the live awards show where the Jimmy™ Awards (named for legendary Broadway producer and theater owner James M. Nederlander) for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress will be presented on July 1. 2012 winners Nicolette Burton and Chase Fischer traveled to the NHSMTA/The Jimmy™ Awards and appeared on the PBS documentary about the experience, Broadway or Bust, and Burton was one of three leading actresses in the final round of competition. 2010 Globe Honors winner Katie Sapper also competed as a top three finalist in New York.

To view additional photos from the 2013 Globe Honors, visit our Facebook page!


Hunter Schwarz, winner of Outstanding Achievement,
Leading Actor in a High School Musical.


Annika Gullahorn, winner of Outstanding Achievement,
Leading Actress in a High School Musical.


Local CBS News 8 anchor and Globe Honors emcee Marcella Lee (center) with the winners of the 2013 Globe Honors: (from left) Alexandra Adams (Technical Theatre), Samantha Littleford (Spoken Theatre), Alexis Young (Musical Theatre), Annika Gullahorn (Leading Actress in a High School Musical), Samuel Brogadir (Musical Theatre), Hunter Schwarz (Leading Actor in a High School Musical) and Mitchell Connelly (Spoken Theatre). The 2013 Globe Honors and The Road to the Jimmy™ Awards was held on May 20 at The Old Globe. Photos by Doug Gates.


Marcella Lee interviews Alexandra Adams, winner of
Outstanding Achievement in Technical Theatre.


Student competitors backstage before the show.


CRITICS AND AUDIENCES LOVE BE A GOOD LITTLE WIDOW!

(5/24/13) • Don't miss the show that audiences and critics have fallen for, Be a Good Little Widow! Bekah Brunstetter's comedy about a young woman navigating the tricky terrain of love, in-laws and finding herself runs through June 16 at The Old Globe. Be sure to catch this quirky and touching production while you still can!

CRITIC'S CHOICE
“A prickly delight! Genuine, and genuinely stirring!”
-U-T San Diego

“The cast is terrific! Hal Brook's direction centers
the story well, sprinkled with humor.”
-La Jolla Light

“A cracking good play! The cast generates laughter, surprise,
and just the right number of lump-in-your-throat moments.”
-San Diego CityBeat

To view additional photos from Be a Good Little Widow, visit our Facebook page!


Ben Graney as Craig and Zoë Winters as Melody.


(from left) Christine Estabrook as Hope
and Zoë Winters as Melody.


(from left) Christine Estabrook as Hope, Ben Graney as Craig and Zoë Winters as Melody in the West Coast Premiere of Bekah Brunstetter's Be a Good Little Widow, directed by Hal Brooks, May 11 - June 9, 2013 at The Old Globe. Photos by Ed Krieger.


Zoë Winters as Melody.


Kelsey Kurz as Brad and Zoë Winters as Melody.


BE A GOOD LITTLE WIDOW OPENS AT THE OLD GLOBE!

(5/23/13) • The cast and creative team of Be a Good Little Widow celebrated their opening night on Thursday, May 16 at The Old Globe. Friends and family joined them in the festivities, along with Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, Managing Director Michael G. Murphy and members of the Other Desert Cities cast. And in a nod to the characters in the quirky comedy, bowls of Skittles dotted the tables throughout the room.

Below are just a few of the photos from opening night. To see more, visit our Facebook page!


(from left) Cast members Ben Graney, Zoë Winters,
Christine Estabrook and Kelsey Kurz.


Director Hal Brooks.


Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein (far right) with director Hal Brooks (center) and cast members (from left) Ben Graney, Zoë Winters, Christine Estabrook and Kelsey Kurz at the opening night party for Be a Good Little Widow on May 16, 2013. The West Coast Premiere of Bekah Brunstetter's Be a Good Little Widow, directed by Brooks, runs May 11 - June 9, 2013 at The Old Globe. Photos by Doug Gates.


Cast member Zoë Winters and
Old Globe Managing Director Michael G. Murphy.


(from left) Board member Jo Ann Kilty and Carmela Koenig.


BARRY EDELSTEIN WILL OFFER THINKING SHAKESPEARE LIVE!, AN EXPLORATION OF SHAKESPEARE’S LANGUAGE

(5/22/13) • The Old Globe has announced Thinking Shakespeare Live!, a 90-minute presentation exploring the language of Shakespeare, on Saturday, June 15 at 11 a.m. Led by Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and assisted by three professional classical actors, this special program based on Edelstein’s book, Thinking Shakespeare: A How-To Guide for Student Actors, Directors, and Anyone Else Who Wants to Feel More Comfortable with the Bard, will reveal a performer’s approach to Shakespearean language so audiences may easily understand the poetry of the Bard. An ideal introduction to Shakespeare for families and young audiences, Thinking Shakespeare Live! will take place on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.

“I’ve devoted a great deal of my career to the notion that Shakespeare’s plays entertain, move and edify us more wonderfully than any other works of theater, and yet I know that for some the Bard can be a heavy lift,” said Edelstein. “I’ve put together this program to show that with just a few hints and tricks that are easy to learn and apply, Shakespeare’s language can be as immediate and alive as anything in today’s paper. Thinking Shakespeare Live! is a fun way to start a new relationship with my man William, or to learn new ways to spend time with him.”

Just in time for The Old Globe’s 2013 Shakespeare Festival, Thinking Shakespeare Live! is a fast-paced, funny and altogether fascinating guide to the language of the Bard. In this lively 90-minute program, Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, called by NPR “one of the country’s leading Shakespeareans,” provides audiences a unique opportunity to learn the methods he imparts to professional actors in the rehearsal room. As Edelstein and three skilled actors demonstrate these techniques live on stage, this entertaining behind-the-scenes look at the creative process offers a primer on the tools used to hear and understand Shakespeare. With humor and insight, Thinking Shakespeare Live! brings audiences into the intoxicating world of the Bard and shows how his masterful poetry can come to life for everyone.

For tickets to this special events, click here!

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


WIDOW’S WEEDS: MOURNING IN THE PUBLIC EYE

(5/20/13) • From widowed queens to the mothers of fallen soldiers, women have long been asked to bear the weight of mourning in powerful, public ways. The rituals of mourning have historically played out on women’s bodies, involving everything from what clothing a widow must wear to what she may eat to whether she is allowed out of bed in the morning — and in some cultures, whether she is allowed to live at all.

In many eras, public mourning was as much about social status as grief. Mourning properly could raise one’s social standing, and failing to do so often carried a social cost. Dressing and acting like a “good” widow was both a status symbol and a social necessity. In the 21st century, expectations are less fixed, and yet women like Melody in Be a Good Little Widow still find themselves on a social tightrope, trying to find the “proper” way to execute the ever-evolving traditions of grief.

Many Eastern cultures still use white as the color of mourning, but the Western custom of wearing black dates back to the ancient Romans, who tore their garments and blackened them with dirt after the death of a loved one. (Some also believed that black clothing would protect the wearer from the roving soul of the deceased.) It is no coincidence that traditional widows’ garments resemble nuns’ habits — the two were established during the same period and with much the same intent: to mark a change of life for a woman expected to stand apart from society. The phrase “widow’s weeds” comes from the Old English word “waed,” which means garment or cloth.

By the 15th and 16th centuries, sumptuary laws set out strict legal requirements for mourning clothing, dictating in painstaking detail the quality, style and amount of fabric the bereaved must wear — the higher the rank, the more elaborate the clothing. Mourning caps also came into fashion during this period. These “Mary Stuart caps,” with their sharp vee over the forehead, were the origin of the term “widow’s peak.” As late as the 1700s, many aristocratic European widows faced the “mourning bed.” Not only were they confined to their homes but also to their beds — beds draped entirely in black, with black sheets and black fabric covering walls, ceilings and floors. Customs like these reveal a profound fear: a fear of the contagion of grief, a fear that, even in the absence of disease, death is catching. Such fear can only be allayed by the comfort of rules strictly followed.

The Victorian era took its name from Europe’s most famous widow, the queen who would profoundly shape traditions of public mourning for generations to come. Victoria was 42 when her husband Albert died. She donned black and wore it until the day she died — 40 years later. Inspired by Victoria’s public act of devotion, English mourning rituals grew more and more elaborate, so elaborate that an entire industry grew up to support them. On the death of a loved one, the family would often hire two “mutes” to stand at the door of the home. Dour-faced and statue-still, wearing top hats and black sashes, mutes were human symbols of death.These mutes would also lead the funeral procession, carrying baskets of black ostrich feathers, walking ahead of the horses (black or dyed black for the occasion) that pulled the glass-walled hearse.

The Victorian mourning industry was geared largely toward women. Women’s magazines featured mourning advice columns where anxious widows could parse the etiquette of grief. Their pages were filled with advertisements for one-stop mourning warehouses, where widows could purchase everything from dresses to black-edged handkerchiefs. One memorable Vogue magazine article on the latest mourning fashions declared, “Correct mourning is a science; becoming mourning is a fine art.”

In both England and the United States, those mourning fashions were most often made of black crepe — a crinkled silk fabric that became the gold standard for widow’s weeds. In addition to being highly flammable and extremely uncomfortable, crepe disintegrated in water, and when worn as a “weeping veil,” it often led to respiratory ailments, severe eye irritation and even blindness.

When World War I broke out, the high number of casualties led people to abandon the huge machinery of mourning that the Victorians had developed, moving toward a simpler, more restrained style. In the 20th century, Jacqueline Kennedy became perhaps the iconic widow, an image not only of poise in grief but of fashionable public presence: her oversized sunglasses and chic black suits a new model of widowhood.

In Bekah Brunstetter’s play, Melody finds herself caught in a gap between experience and expectation. In a modern American culture that makes death much less visible than in other time periods, she has no real experience of mourning, but she must still grapple with the weight of tradition and the expectations of her mother-in-law as she tries to craft a new identity for herself, to make herself into “a good little widow.”

—Danielle Mages Amato

(Top photo: Queen Victoria. Bottom photo: Advertisement for William Barker’s, London, in The Lady, showing the correct outdoor wear for a widow in the first stage of mourning, 1900.)


WATCH A TIME-LAPSE VIDEO OF THE OTHER DESERT CITIES SET LOAD-IN!




A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER IS HEADED TO BROADWAY!

(5/17/13) • A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, which had its world premmiere at The Old Globe earlier this spring, is headed to Broadway! The musical comedy, about a young man's plot to inherit a dukedom (and bump off the people standing in his way), will begin preview performances this fall at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Oct. 22 and will officially open on Nov. 17.

Tony Award-winner Jefferson Mays will reprise his tour-de-force turn as the eight ill-fated members of the D'Ysquith clan. Former Old Globe Co-Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak will again direct the musical.

Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein said, "I am completely delighted to see A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder take its rightful place on Broadway. The Globe has sent a lot of musicals there over the years but this one is special: not only is it a giddy, witty confection, but it is also the work of one of our own: Darko Tresnjak. We couldn't be happier for him."

Congratulations to the entire Gentleman’s Guide team on this achievement!

To view more photos of Jefferson Mays in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, visit our Facebook page.

(Photo: Jefferson Mays as Lady Hyacinth D'Ysquith in the world premiere of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder at The Old Globe. Photo by Henry DiRocco.)


CAST ANNOUNCED FOR THE NEW YORK PREMIERE OF NOBODY LOVES YOU

(5/16/13) • Casting has been announced for the New York premiere of Nobody Loves You, the musical by Gaby Alter and Itamar Moses that had its world premiere at The Old Globe last year. The comedy centering on a reality television dating show will feature Heath Calvert as the show's vapid host, Byron, the role he created at the Globe. Also returning from the Globe production is Lauren Molina as the abrasive Megan, who falls for a young Christian man. (Molina received a 2012 San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Craig Noel Award nomination for her performance in the show.)

The cast at Second Stage Theatre will also feature Bryan Fenkart, Roe Hartrampf, Autumn Hurlbert, Leslie Kritzer, Rory O'Malley and Aleque Reid. Director Michelle Tattenbaum and choreographer Mandy Moore also return to the project for its Big Apple bow, which will begin on June 20.

To view more photos of Heath Calvert and Lauren Molina in the Globe's world premiere production of Nobody Loves You, visit our Facebook page!


Heath Calvert as Byron with the cast of The Old Globe's world premiere production of Nobody Loves You.


Lauren Molina as Megan in Nobody Loves You at The Old Globe. Photos by Henry DiRocco.


FROM TEARS TO LAUGHTER AND BACK AGAIN: AN INTERVIEW WITH BEKAH BRUNSTETTER

(5/15/13) • Where did the idea for Be a Good Little Widow come from?

Widow was actually my very first play commission ever (from Ars Nova in New York City). In early 2009, if you recall, there were a fair amount of plane crashes, starting with a commuter plane that crashed into a house in upstate New York. This tragedy unlocked a visceral, intense anxiety in me that I’m still attempting to quiet. I couldn’t stop thinking about the crash, and so I had to write about it. At the time, I was also spending a fair amount of brain space pondering my own emotional maturity. I found myself wondering: when would I grow up? At that point in my life, I’d never been to a funeral. Never experienced a great loss. I was terrified of what it would feel like and if I’d be able to act a lady through it. I found myself jealous of those who had experienced tragedy, as it seemed to make them drop into themselves.

And so, I shoved all of these worries and questions together into a play. Most importantly, I now cannot die in a plane crash, because it would just be too ironic. I hope. Now I have to go knock on nine types of wood.

The cross-generational relationship between Melody and Hope is one of the unforgettable things about the play — not only because of their conflicts but because of the gifts they have to offer each other. Would you talk a little bit about that?

I love that relationship too, and it was shockingly satisfying to write. I think it’s pretty much a dramatization of an argument that’s constantly going on in me, between my proper self and my improper self. But thankfully, it’s played out with characters. I oftentimes feel like a mess. I wasn’t raised that way, but I do, more often that not, find myself in situations where I feel like my dress or nail-biting or the way I eat my cheese is offending, well, everyone. But then, there’s also something incredibly liberating about being a mess. Via messiness (a la Melody) you have easier access to your emotions, to truth. But simultaneously, I love the decorum of Hope’s way of life, with its cloth napkins and its rules. I wish I had the fortitude, charm and class of the women of generations before me. It’s just a question that interests me. We’re so, so much more open now — as people, as women. Is this better? Worse? Either way, I have respect for both ways of life.

What have been the most challenging aspects of this play — either in writing it or getting it on its feet? Whats been most fun?

It’s a really delicate balance, tone-wise. It was tough to write, and has been tough to work on, as I’m expecting myself, my actors, my director and subsequently my audience to be yanked from tears to laughter and back again, sometimes even both simultaneously. But I couldn’t help but try and have a laugh during an incredibly tragic time. We say the most ridiculous things when we’re hurting, and I really wanted to try and capture that. Also, in terms of the darker moments of the play, I had to really make sure those were organic. I never want to manipulate my audience’s emotions.

With Melody, I wanted to write her youth and her journey from immaturity to approaching womanhood honestly. To do so, I had to honor the fact that she’s selfish. Potentially grating. It’s tricky to start with a character that could be perceived as unlikeable — thanks, the success of “Girls”! But I really, truly believe that she’s trying, trying to be a good wife, and subsequently a good widow, and that’s what really counts. Her heart is constantly in the right place. Lastly, it’s just one young woman’s story. Or rather, two, Melody and Hope’s. When you write a small-ish play, you always hope that it transcends its size and touches its audience in some universal way.

Do you find yourself returning to specific themes over and over in your work, or to specific styles?

Definitely. I always write in dramedy. Sometimes on the heavier side, but I always, always need to be able to laugh at myself when I’m working on something, and I need my characters to be able to do the same. I also keep returning to worlds that are grounded in reality but are theatrical in some way. As for themes, my first plays were all about love, faith and odd, contemporary re-tellings of Bible stories. I then shifted into a “military family play” phase, then into “how to be an adult in this world” and “what is death?” phases. Now that I’m the ripe old age of 30, I find myself thinking and writing a lot about morality — and where exactly it comes from — and my family history. I’m also thinking a lot about babies. But not so much writing about them. Mostly just spying on them on the internet.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently writing for ABC Family’s fantastic Peabody Award-winning show, “Switched at Birth.” I’m taking a wee break from playwriting. This is the first time in four years I don’t have a commission (not woe is me, at all, but still), and I want whatever play I work on next to just hit me in the face one day (hopefully not while I’m driving), and then I’ll start writing it. I’m patiently waiting for that. I don’t want to force it. In the meantime, I scratch my theatre itch with my custom-made monologue business for actors and tend to say “Yes, please!” anytime anyone asks me to write a short play, because I love any excuse to write one. I’m also working on a movie called Together/Apart which one might call a romantic comedy but with more words.

—Interview by Danielle Mages Amato

(Top photo: Playwright Bekah Brunstetter. Photo by Maggie Takyar. Bottom photo: (from left) Christine Estabrook as Hope and Zoë Winters as Melody in Be a Good Little Widow. Photo by Ed Krieger.)



OLD GLOBE ASSOCIATE ARTIST JACQUELINE BROOKES PASSES AWAY AT 82

(5/14/13) • Beloved Old Globe Associate Artist Jacqueline Brookes, who first appeared at the Globe over 50 years ago, passed away on April 26 at the age of 82. The actress and educator's career spanned award-winning work on stage, television and film. Below, Old Globe Historian Darlene Davies reflects on Brookes' career and history with the Globe.

Jacqueline Brookes brought her distinctive and constant artistry to The Old Globe during the 1960s. Her clear and uncluttered performances in numerous productions of the Globe’s San Diego National Shakespeare Festival were like beacon lights. She was so well trained and could do anything, from comedic roles to ones of high drama. That bell-like voice of her youth was commanding. She completed, in the fullest sense, each production with her presence. She had a firm understanding of her characters and strong technical skills. In 1960, Brookes played Queen Gertrude to the legendary William Ball’s Hamlet at the Globe. Victor Buono, who went on to appear in myriad films and learned acting at the Globe and San Diego Junior Theatre, was King Claudius, with director Nicholas Martin also in the cast. There were others in that cast who built solid careers in theatre, movies and television. Brookes worked in all those media. She could switch acting styles instantly, according to the medium.

Brookes acted in countless venues. She acted at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut, with Katherine Hepburn. Like Hepburn, she was an excellent tennis player and, while in San Diego rehearsing and performing, regularly played on Armistead Carter’s Mission Hills tennis courts along with Lowell Davies and others.

The actress was a classically good looking woman, healthy and wholesome in appearance. She was also a knowing make-up artist who artfully transformed her features through stage make-up.

As a character actress in her later years, she appeared in major films, and she taught acting at the Circle in the Square Theatre School until her death recently at age 82.

(Above photo: Old Globe Associate Artist Jacqueline Brookes as Gertrude and William Ball in the title role in Hamlet at The Old Globe, 1960. Photo courtesy of The Old Globe.)


(clockwise from top left) Old Globe Associate Artist Jacqueline Brookes as Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra at The Old Globe, 1963; Brookes as Portia with Morris Carnovsky as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, 1961; Brookes as Mistress Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1965; Brookes as Margaret in Richard III, 1985 (photo by Ken Howard).


FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: BE A GOOD LITTLE WIDOW

(5/13/13) • One of The Old Globe’s strongest assets is the breadth of its repertoire. On our three stages we produce Shakespeare (our house writer), musicals, classics from the American and world canon, and brand new writing. As the largest theatre in San Diego, the second largest in California, and the sixth largest in the United States, we have a mandate to serve a broad constituency—to provide, as it were, something for everyone—and the wide range of material in one of our typical seasons is a natural expression and fulfillment of our mission.

My job is of course to select the material we produce. The process can be dizzying. After all, any one genre of theatre has in it dozens of worthwhile plays. You want a French classic? There’s Molière, Marivaux, Racine, Corneille, Ionesco. German? Brecht, Goethe, Schiller. You want a musical? Should it be a revival or an original work? An epic, Broadway blowout with chorus girls and two dozen sets, or a chamber piece with a small cast and a piano?

But in no area do I feel more spoiled for choice than in new American writing. These days one hears endless proclamations of doom and despair about the state of the contemporary American theatre, but if the measure of our industry’s health is the number of people writing for it and the number of accomplished works they are creating, then I’m an optimist. There are hundreds of terrific, worthy, smart, and provocative new plays being written right now, by countless devoted, innovative, and deeply talented individuals in communities all across this country. Indeed, I’d go so far as to argue that we are living in a Golden Age of American playwriting.

Tonight’s play is a prime example. Bekah Brunstetter is by no means a household name. She will be, though, and soon, on the strength of Be a Good Little Widow and a growing body of imaginative and emotionally engaged plays. Widow is a small gem of a piece, deceptive in its simplicity but devastating in its sincerity and commitment to psychological truth. In her characterization of her heroine, Melody, Brunstetter has her finger firmly on the pulse of this moment in popular culture, in which smart, hyperarticulate, searching, and slightly mystified twenty-something women are the subjects of books, essays, songs, and hit cable TV series. But inasmuch as she’s a figure in a work of theatre art rather than a profile in Vanity Fair, Melody has a dimensionality and emotional verisimilitude that is rich, striking, and to me completely disarming. Profane and wretchedly immature one moment, profoundly self-actualized the next, Melody becomes a kind of Everywoman, thrown into an experience that’s all too widespread, but making of it something new. She turns widowhood into a strange form of art, fashioning from deep loss a new sense of self, and from grief a very modern kind of hope.

On the first day of rehearsal I told the Globe company that the play is for me a kind of Trojan Horse. Its beguiling outside, charming and funny, makes us drop our defenses and open our gates. But once we’ve let it in, the play’s belly bursts open and lets loose a troop of furious Greeks—here, Brunstetter’s slyly deployed characters in all their confusion and intensity—who slay us, move us, and rend our hearts. The captain of this theatrical Trojan Horse is my esteemed colleague Hal Brooks, an artist who, like our playwright, is a real devotee of theatrical truth. He and his cast have served Brunstetter well and brought to the Globe a sterling example of what today’s American theatre is all about: meaningful stories on themes that matter, told with panache and a sensibility that, while by no means sentimental, loves laughter and fears no tears. I’m proud to be part of it.

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



AUDIENCES AND CRITICS TAKE A TRIP TO OTHER DESERT CITIES!

(5/13/13) • Audiences and critics alike have been riveted by the San Diego premiere of Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities. This funny and moving portrait of a Palm Springs family and their long-buried secrets runs through June 2 at The Old Globe. This is one family reunion you won't want to miss!

“BEAUTIFUL!
Scintillating, superbly written, expertly acted!”
-KSDS Jazz 88

“Engrossing – the cast excels!”
-San Diego Reader

“An absorbing and provocative ride!”
-U-T San Diego

“A rich theatrical experience. The entire cast is in top form.”
-San Diego CityBeat

To view additional photos from Other Desert Cities, visit our Facebook page!


Robert Foxworth as Lyman Wyeth and
Dana Green as Brooke Wyeth.


Old Globe Associate Artist Kandis Chappell as Polly Wyeth.


(from left) Kandis Chappell, Robin Pearson Rose, Dana Green, Andy Bean and Robert Foxworth in the San Diego premiere of Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities, directed by Richard Seer, April 27 - June 2, 2013 at The Old Globe. Photo by Snaps Studio.


Robert Foxworth as Lyman Wyeth and
Robin Pearson Rose as Silda Grauman.


Dana Green as Brooke Wyeth and
Andy Bean as Trip Wyeth.


THE GLOBE GUILDERS FASHION SHOW IS A WEEK AWAY!

(5/10/13) • The models will be strutting the catwalk at the Globe Guilders Fashion Show on Tuesday, May 21. One of the premier fashion events in San Diego, this annual fundraiser benefits The Old Globe's artistic, education and community programs. This year's show will once again feature Naeem Khan, one of the most sought-after fashion designers in the world. Fresh from New York’s 2013 Fashion Week, Khan’s art-deco inspired creations were admired recently by over one billion viewers around the world on First Lady Michelle Obama live from the White House and Stacey Keibler on the red carpet on Oscar night.

The event will include a champagne reception, seated luncheon, silent and live auctions and a fashion show featuring Khan's Fall 2013 couture collection, presented by Neiman Marcus.

For more information and to buy tickets, click here!

(Photos: The 2013 Fall Couture Collection by Naeem Khan. Photos by Dan Lecca.)






THE CAST AND CREW OF OTHER DESERT CITIES CELEBRATE THEIR OPENING NIGHT!

(5/10/13) • Following the opening night performance of Other Desert Cities on Thursday, May 2, the cast and creative team gathered with friends and family to celebrate in Hattox Hall. Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein was on hand to greet director Richard Seer and the cast of the show, including Dana Green, Andy Bean and Associate Artists Robert Foxworth, Kandis Chappell and Robin Pearson Rose. The party was full of friendly faces, including Old Globe Board Chair Harold W. Fuson Jr., Associate Artist and Shakespeare Festival scenic designer Ralph Funicello, the Artistic Director and Managing Director of TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, which is co-producing the show, and candidates of the Old Globe/University of San Diego Graduate Theatre Program, who are appearing in the Festival this summer.

Below are just a few of the photos from the celebration. To see more, visit our Facebook page!


(from left) Old Globe Associate Artists and Other Desert Cities cast members Kandis Chappell, Robert Foxworth and Robin Pearson Rose.


(from left) TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Artistic Director Robert Kelley, director Richard Seer, Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and TheatreWorks Managing Director Phil Santora.


Director Richard Seer (third from left) and cast members (from left) Robert Foxworth, Kandis Chappell, Dana Green, Andy Bean and Robin Pearson Rose at the opening night party for Other Desert Cities on May 2, 2013. The San Diego premiere of Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities, directed by Seer, runs April 27 - June 2, 2013 at The Old Globe. Photos by Doug Gates.


Old Globe Board Chair Harold W. Fuson Jr. (far left), Pam Fuson (second from right) and (from left) Old Globe Associate Artists and Other Desert Cities cast members Kandis Chappell, Robert Foxworth and Robin Pearson Rose.


Dana Green.


POSTCARDS FROM PALM SPRINGS

(5/10/13) • People first came to Palm Springs for their health. A turn-of-the-century tourist destination popular for its desert climate and mineral-springs spas, Palm Springs’ popularity exploded in the 1920s, first as a shooting location for films and then as a vacation spot for actors and producers. From Rudolph Valentino and Theda Bara to Clark Gable and Bette Davis, Palm Springs quickly became the Playground of the Stars. In the 1950s and 1960s, Palm Springs was the glamorous, decadent Hollywood getaway. Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack made the city their personal retreat; Elvis Presley and Liberace bought Palm Springs homes. Every year, as the weather cooled down, the parties heated up, and big-name performers like Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and honorary mayor Bob Hope performed at the infamous Palm Springs Racquet Club for an audience of stars, hopefuls and hangers-on.

Political figures, too, made their way to this desert oasis. President Dwight Eisenhower was televised on vacation in Palm Springs in 1954 and later retired there. In 1962, John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe supposedly spent a weekend together in Bing Crosby’s Palm Springs home. (Marilyn was “discovered” in Palm Springs; she is commemorated with a 26-foot-tall statue downtown.) Ronald Reagan honeymooned in Palm Springs with first wife Jane Wyman and owned a home there with second wife Nancy. Sunnylands, the nearby estate of publishing magnate Walter Annenberg, hosted presidents and princes for 40 years and last year was transformed into a Camp David of the West Coast, a spot for international summit meetings and political retreats.

Palm Springs attracted architects as well, and the city’s heyday is preserved in a wealth of mid-century modern homes and public buildings. Innovative and avant-garde, architects like Albert Frey, John Lautner and Richard Neutra used glass, concrete and steel to create homes with minimalist style and modernist shapes.

Palm Springs struggled in the 1970s and 1980s, but in recent years it has undergone a retro-cool revival. The wealthy old guard remains, but it now coexists with a younger generation of tourists and residents, reinventing Palm Springs once again.

It’s a wealthy city built in a wholly inhospitable place. It’s protected by a desert, separated from the rest of the world — much like the Wyeths themselves. And it’s no coincidence that the Iraq War, the war in question in the play, is a desert war, played out in “other desert cities.” As the characters look out over the Palm Springs desert, we can’t help thinking of all the other children, the other brothers, lost in another desert half a world away.
—Director Richard Seer

(Above photo: Nancy and Ronald Reagan relaxing at Sunnylands, 1981. Designed by A. Quincy Jones, 1966.)


Twin Palms Estate, the home of Frank Sinatra and his first wife, Nancy Barbato. Originally designed by E. Stewart Williams, 1947.


The House of Tomorrow, also dubbed the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway, was rented by Elvis and Priscilla Presley shortly after they married. Designed by the architecture firm Palmer and Krisel, 1960.


Bob Hope's Palm Springs home. Designed by John Lautner, 1973.


ALEXANDER DODGE'S THEATRICAL TRIFECTA

(5/9/13) • Were you wowed by the revolving set in Pygmalion? Delighted by the stage-within-a-stage in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder? Transported by the mid-century modern home in Other Desert Cities? All three sets, seen at The Old Globe this year, came from the nimble and ingenious mind of scenic designer Alexander Dodge.

Which one of the three sets would you say was the most challenging?

Probably A Gentleman’s Guide, because it’s a musical, and it’s so elaborate. That set has so many different aspects to it, and it was the trickiest to figure out how to grasp onto the world that needed to be created for the production.

What’s the difference between designing for a play and a musical?

With a musical, you have so many different locations and scenes, generally speaking. With these two plays, at least, that wasn’t the case. If you’re doing a Shakespeare play, it’s almost like you are designing for a musical, because you are dealing with lots of different locations. But with a musical you also need to think about choreography, about having room for dance and an orchestra, so there are more elements that come into it. That’s very different from Other Desert Cities, where you have one great location and that’s it.

Do you prefer working on highly theatrical designs or more detailed, realistic designs?

I prefer to be more stylized and create my own world. But that being said, both Other Desert Cities and Pygmalion were a lot of fun. More than just doing one kind of project, it’s the variety that really keeps me going.

Although these three designs are very different, each one is spectacular and jaw-dropping in its own way. Is there something about them that marks them as yours?

I try to have the sense that the set is another character in the play or that the set elevates the production to another level. But I also don’t want it to take center stage. I’m sure I have a style, but I do try to focus on the specific needs of this current production, with this director, at this time. I may do another production of the same play with the same director at a different time in my career, and the set will look different.

What were some of the goals you wanted to achieve with the design for Other Desert Cities?

I think it was the specificity and authenticity of the location, which of course is Palm Springs. But also, we wanted to push it a little bit — there are definitely some symbolic elements in what you see on stage.

(To view more photos of Alexander Dodge's scenic designs for Pygmalion, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder and Other Desert Cities, visit our Facebook page!)



(from left) Andy Bean, Kandis Chappell, Dana Green, Robin Pearson Rose and Robert Foxworth in Other Desert Cities.
Photo by Snaps Studio.


The cast of Pygmalion. Photo by Henry DiRocco.


The cast of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.
Photo by Henry DiRocco.


CBS 8's MARCELLA LEE TO HOST THE 2013 GLOBE HONORS AND THE ROAD TO THE JIMMY™ AWARDS

(5/9/13) • Local CBS News 8 anchor Marcella Lee will host the 2013 Globe Honors and The Road to the Jimmy™ Awards, the annual competition recognizing excellence in high school theater, on May 20 at 8:00 p.m. at The Old Globe. Lee will emcee the final round of competition before a live audience and announce the winners of the event, which will take place on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Tickets to attend Globe Honors and The Road to the Jimmy Awards™, which is presented by the Globe in association with Broadway/San Diego – A Nederlander Presentation, are $5 for students and $10 for adults and can be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park.

Marcella Lee joined KFMB-TV News 8 in March 2004 as weekend anchor at 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. A Detroit native, she graduated from the University of Michigan School of Business in Ann Arbor and began her journalism career as a videographer/reporter at WLNS-TV in Lansing, Michigan. She received her first Emmy Award at the young age of 23. After positions in Denver and Detroit, Lee moved to San Diego and has since received five additional Emmy Awards, which include three for her anchoring and reporting of the October 2007 San Diego wildfires. In her weekly Adopt 8 segments, Lee also profiles children in San Diego County who are waiting to find a permanent home. Lee is a supporter of numerous organizations in San Diego, including ASIA: The Journal of Culture & Commerce and the Union of Pan Asian Communities.

Globe Honors and The Road to the Jimmy™ Awards invites high school students to compete in one of four categories: Outstanding Achievement in Musical Theatre, Spoken Theatre, Technical Theatre and leading role in a High School Musical. Winners of all Globe Honors categories will receive $1,000 scholarships, and the winners of the Musical, Spoken and Technical Theater categories will participate in a two-day trip to Los Angeles where they will go behind the scenes at Center Theatre Group, attend a casting workshop and take in a show. The Leading Actor and Actress in a High School Musical winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to participate in the National High School Musical Theater Awards/The Jimmy™ Awards (NHSMTA) competition to be held on July 1 at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway.

To view photos of this year's Globe Honors semi-finalists, visit our Facebook page!

(Above photo: CBS News 8 anchor Marcella Lee. Photo courtesy of KMFB-TV.)


The winners of the 2012 Globe Honors: Sara Rose Carr (Spoken Theatre), Kelly Prendergast (Musical Theatre), Jonathan Edzant (Musical Theatre), Patrick Gates (Spoken Theatre), Nicolette Burton (Leading Actress in a High School Musical), Chase Fischer (Leading Actor in a High School Musical) and Chad Mata (Technical Theatre). Photo by J. Katarzyna Woronowicz.


A CONVERSATION WITH OTHER DESERT CITIES PLAYWRIGHT JON ROBIN BAITZ

(5/8/13) • Baitz is already well-known to regional theatre, Broadway and Hollywood audiences for his psychologically rich plays and the television show “Brothers & Sisters,” which he created and oversaw during its five-year run on ABC. Baitz sat down with Globe alumnus Henry Wishcamper, who recently directed a production of Other Desert Cities at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, to talk about the play.

Henry Wishcamper: What was your initial inspiration for Other Desert Cities?

Jon Robin Baitz: Initially, I was interested in all of the interconnected impasses that had occurred in American life and my own at the same time. Culturally in the time period — the play starts in 2004 — the smoke was starting to clear from the first moments of a long war, and sides were very vividly drawn in the country. There was a sense that there had been a sea change within the conservative movement and that there was a kind of nostalgia for the old Republicans — Reagan Republicans, and prior to that, Eisenhower Republicans. This new kind of conservatism is fascinating to me. It seems to be very aggressive and involve a lot of new language like “preemptive” and “unilateralism.” And I wondered how that had happened, and I also wondered how the old Republicans were reacting to it.

At the same time I was involved in figuring out my own relationship with California, which is my natural habitat — but one that I don’t have a very peaceful relationship with — and I started to see this play. The Palm Springs in the play is a kind of battleground, but a battleground at the end of America, where all the promise of the West has been frozen in time. There were these anachronistic Americans living in a kind of cinematic library of old Hollywood movies, old versions of Western success. They were flitting around in my head, as was my own increasing anxiety about the role of the writer in the lives of others, and the responsibility that a writer has to himself and the people he loves. I had recently created and left a TV show — “Brothers & Sisters” — in Los Angeles and sworn never to go back to that life, and I thought I’d try and do some of the things that “Brothers & Sisters” would not permit me to do: to write about the family as a narrative and a certain kind of privileged America, which is acknowledged in the play.

HW: I’m curious to hear you talk about the members of the family but also the central impasse in which we find the family when the play begins.

JRB: Lyman is a kind of lionesque, benign patriarch who appears to be profoundly affable — a peacemaker, a diplomat, slightly opaque, slightly befuddled. But that may very well be a defense mechanism, a mask even; he’s a very practiced actor. Like many fathers, he loves his children in ways that sometimes shock even him. He especially worries about his oldest daughter, Brooke, who’s exiled herself from the West much like I did; moved out to Sag Harbor much as I did; has written professionally, been a novelist and has dried up, much as I occasionally have; has suffered from serious clinical depression much as I have; and is burdened by the memory of her older brother’s suicide when they were teenagers. And this has caused her a lifetime’s worth of agony and a sense of loss and betrayal. Her ability to function over the years has dwindled, and she’s been hospitalized. When we meet her, she’s regained buoyancy and has just completed a new book that the family thinks is a novel but of course is actually a memoir. She’s come to announce this book and ask for her parents’ approval before it’s published.

This brings us to Polly, the matriarch of the family. There are ways in which she mirrors Nancy Reagan, the Annenbergs and the old California conservatives. She’s modeled her life with a kind of rigorous combination of discipline and certitude. She’s a realist, and she’s fiercely dedicated to her family’s survival.

Trip, the surviving son, who is younger than Brooke, has found a way to survive: to go with the flow. His overarching dogma consists of “Let it go, it’s California, it’s all fine.” He has become a producer of TV game shows, he’s steeped in pop culture and fornication and he’s constantly being called upon to make peace between Polly and Brooke. And the other character is Polly’s troublemaking sister, Silda, also a writer. She is as much a liberal as Polly is a conservative, and they have a volatile relationship but one that’s built out of love.

And thus you have this fragmentation that reverberates throughout the piece. I strive to find the exact point in a narrative where the personal and the political intersect perfectly, because I find the two things completely inseparable.

(Reprinted with permission from Goodman Theatre. Photo: The cast of “Brothers & Sisters.”)



THE OLD GLOBE CELEBRATES ITS VOLUNTEERS

(5/8/13) • On April 26, 2013, The Old Globe honored the volunteers who have made outstanding contributions of their time over the past year to support the institution at a reception in Hattox Hall. As a non-profit arts organization serving the community, the Globe relies greatly on the generosity of volunteers, who help in the administrative offices (Marketing, Development, Business, Education), the costume shop, the Helen Edison Gift Shop and Lady Carolyn's Pub; serve as backstage tour docents, Patron Services Ambassadors and Ushers for our shows; and are members of our auxiliary volunteer group, the Globe Guilders.

In addition to seeing Globe productions for free and the satisfaction of helping support one of the top regional theatres in the country, volunteers also have the opportunity to work alongside some of the most dedicated and talented theatre professionals in the world.

The recipients of the 2013 Globe Volunteer Awards were:

Outstanding Tour Docent: Craig & Mary Hunter
Outstanding Patron Service Ambassador: James Kerr
Outstanding Administrative Volunteer: Lorraine Kraker
Outstanding Helen Edison Gift Shop Volunteer: Kathleen Israel
Outstanding Lady Carolyn’s Pub Volunteer: Jackie Ander
Usher Captain of the Year: Lynn Spafford
Volunteer of the Year: Don and Dodie Schulz

For more information on how to volunteer at The Old Globe, please contact our volunteer coordinator at (619) 231-1941 x2330.
To view more photos of the reception and awards ceremony, visit our Facebook page!


Volunteers of the Year Dodie and Don Schulz (center) with Theatre Manager Mike Callaway and General Manager Amy E. Allison.


Outstanding Administrative Volunteer of the Year Lorraine Kraker (right) with Education Programs Manager Kim Montelibano Heil.


Outstanding Patron Services Ambassador of the Year James Kerr with Front of House Assistant Kristen Cairns.


Usher Captain of the Year Lynn Spafford (center) with House Managers (from left) Mary Taylor and Samaria Ship.


Outstanding Gift Shop Volunteer of the Year Kathleen Israel (right) with Gift Shop Supervisor Jessica Piatt.


Outstanding Pub Volunteer of the Year Jackie Ander (left) with Food and Beverage Manager Elaine Gingery.


Outstanding Docents of the Year Mary Hunter (left) and Craig Hunter (second from right) with Director of Education Roberta Wells-Famula and Theatre Manager Mike Callaway.


(from left) House Managers Mary Taylor and Samaria Ship.


THE OLD GLOBE COMMUNITY VOICES COMES TO LIFE ON STAGE

(5/7/13) • The Old Globe Community Voices has been busy this winter, welcoming five different community groups in San Diego County to take part in workshops to learn the basics of playwriting and create 10-minute plays. At the end of each series of workshops, the participants, along with their friends and families, gathered at an event in Hattox Hall to watch actors bring the plays to life. And on the way to their after-parties they stopped by the red carpet for some photo ops.

Below are just a few of the photos of the playwrights, actors, friends and family at these final presentations. To view more, visit our Facebook page!


















FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: OTHER DESERT CITIES

(5/3/13) • As a recent immigrant to California I now and then find myself in need of an interpreter, a cultural translator who could decode for me some of the more — how shall I put this? — byzantine idiosyncrasies of this unique place. It has a culture all its own, the southern sector of The Golden State. It is welcoming and warm, to be sure, and as upbeat and sunny as the morning’s weather forecast. But it won’t surprise any locals to hear that for this relocated Brooklynite, the quirks and personalities that make California, California can be daily sources of surprise.

That’s one reason I’m so glad to be working on Other Desert Cities, the most recent triumph from Jon Robin Baitz. In addition to being one of the most important playwrights now working in the American theatre, Baitz is also perhaps the best literary explainer of California to have emerged in the past few decades. This play functions as a kind of Baedeker Guide to the psychology and socioeconomics of one slice of the swath of California extending from the border north to Santa Barbara and from the sea east to the high Mojave. Indeed its very title comes from a road sign on the 10 Freeway, the asphalt spinal column that links Los Angeles to Indio via the “Inland Empire” (a name whose grandiosity I quite enjoy). Two hours in the company of the Wyeths, the family at the center of Other Desert Cities, is, I find, as bracing an introduction to the folkways and customs of the Southern California elite as any dinner party I’ve attended since arriving in San Diego.

Baitz’s understanding of California is authentic and native. He was born in Los Angeles and educated at no less an avatar of the California way of life than Beverly Hills High School. He has explored this state and its citizens again and again in his career, from his very first produced play through his acclaimed, Pasadena-set television series “Brothers & Sisters.” His portait of the Palm Springs milieu of Other Desert Cities is to me a particular astonishment. Detailed and humane, it sets money and politics and art and pop culture chafing against each other in the hot crucible of the Coachella Valley. When they ignite, their flames illuminate an Arthur Miller-like family drama: Baitz’s writing eases back and forth and with real mastery from love and laughter to remorse and recrimination. A moment in the life of the Wyeth family turns out to be an exploration of great themes: the imprecision of memory, the elusive nature of truth, the stunning burden of the legacies and gifts that parents transmit to their children. But most remarkably, Other Desert Cities reveals just how potent a metaphor for the American experience California itself can be. This land of Nixon and Reagan and Chavez and Hayden, of reality-distorting Hollywood fakery and thrillingly magnificent natural splendor, has always been the American subconscious, the superego and the id of our civilization. It takes a brilliant analyst, a major writer, to plumb its depths and limn its borders, and that writer is Robbie Baitz.

I’ve written elsewhere of the influence of Henrik Ibsen on Baitz’s craft, and those of you who saw our production of A Doll’s House this season will see in Other Desert Cities an Ibsenite’s understanding of how the secrets of the past can detonate a family’s present. Globe favorite Richard Seer’s production pulls the pin on this grenade with an expert fury. And I’ve written too about how bringing to San Diego the finest works of the contemporary American stage is one of the Globe’s most important functions. It’s a special pleasure to refract both of these notions through the lens of this play, as good an exemplar as any I can find of brilliant dramaturgy and a local setting coming together to enhance an audience’s understanding of itself and the world in which it lives. I hope Jon Robin Baitz won’t object if I reveal that for years his email address actually had the word “Baedeker” in it. It was entirely appropriate for this man who is something very special and rare: the playwright as tour guide, leading an expedition to the heart and soul of a state, a nation, a people.

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



COMPLETE 2013 SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL CAST ANNOUNCED!

(5/2/13) • The complete cast and creative team for the 2013 Shakespeare Festival has been announced. Festival Artistic Director Adrian Noble returns to San Diego for his fourth and final year of Festival programming. The internationally acclaimed director will helm productions of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and Tom Stoppard’s classic farce, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Laurence Olivier Award-nominated director Ian Talbot will make his Old Globe debut with the enduring Shakespeare favorite A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The 2013 Shakespeare Festival, performed in repertory in the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, runs June 2 – Sept. 29.

“Seeing Shakespeare outdoors on a balmy summer night is one of the most magical experiences it’s possible to have in the theater, and the Globe’s annual Shakespeare Festival is as good as that experience gets,” said Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “One of the reasons it’s so special is the talent of our own Adrian Noble, and while he will be leaving the Globe once this summer’s Festival is open, all San Diegans will be able to cheer and salute him for giving us another fantastic season with two superb productions of his own, and a third from the gifted Ian Talbot. The Globe and I thank Adrian for four summers of beautiful work, and we look forward to welcoming him back soon.”

Craig Noel Award winner Miles Anderson (The Madness of George III, Amadeus, The Tempest) returns to the Festival as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Fellow Craig Noel Award winner Jay Whittaker (King Lear, Richard III, Amadeus) returns for his fourth consecutive Festival season as Oberon in Midsummer. Whittaker will also star as Guildenstern, joining Festival newcomer John Lavelle as Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Lavelle will also appear as Snug in Midsummer and Lancelot Gobbo in Merchant. Also making her Festival debut is Krystel Lucas who will appear as Titania in Midsummer as Portia in Merchant.

Lucas Hall, last seen on the Festival stage as Hamlet, will reprise the role in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, as well as play Puck in Midsummer and Bassanio in Merchant. Midsummer’s quartet of star-crossed lovers is comprised of Festival vets Winslow Corbett (The Tempest, Amadeus) as Hermia, Ryman Sneed (Much Ado About Nothing) as Helena and newcomers Nic Few as Demetrius and Adam Gerber as Lysander. In addition to these roles, The Merchant of Venice will feature Corbett as Jessica, Sneed as Nerissa, Few as Prince of Morocco, and Gerber as Lorenzo. In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Corbett will appear as Ophelia, Sneed as Gertrude and Few as Horatio.

The repertory company also features Donald Carrier, Sherman Howard, Old Globe Associate Artist Charles Janasz and Triney Sandoval, as well as The Old Globe/University of San Diego Graduate Theatre Program candidates Erin Elizabeth Adams, Matthew Bellows, Meaghan Boeing, Jeremy Fisher, Adam Gerber, Kushtrim Hoxha, Stephen Hu, Allison Layman, Danielle O’Farrell, Stephanie Roetzel, Christopher Salazar, Robbie Simpson, Whitney Wakimoto and Sean-Michael Wilkinson.

The creative team includes Old Globe Associate Artist Ralph Funicello (Scenic Design), Deirdre Clancy (Costume Design), Alan Burrett (Lighting Design), Dan Moses Schreier (Sound Design, Original Music), Peter Golub (Original Music), Elan McMahan (Music Direction), George Yé (Fight Director), James Vásquez (Movement), Jan Gist (Voice and Dialect Coach), Samantha Barrie, CSA (Casting) and Bret Torbeck (Stage Manager).

For artist biographies, acting company grid, show descriptions and performance and 3 Plays/3 Days schedules, please view the 2013 Shakespeare Festival PDF.


Miles Anderson appears as Bottom and Krystel Lucas as Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream.


Jay Whittaker appears as Guildenstern and John Lavelle as Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.


Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Adrian Noble (second row from front, second from left) and director Ian Talbot (second row, far left) with the cast of the 2013 Shakespeare Festival, which features A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead in rotating repertory June 2 - Sept. 29 at The Old Globe. Photos by Snaps Studio.


Miles Anderson appears as Shylock and Krystel Lucas as Portia in The Merchant of Venice.


M.F.A. candidates of the Old Globe/USD M.F.A. Graduate Theatre Program appearing in the 2013 Shakespeare Festival.


A PEEK AT THE DESIGNS OF BE A GOOD LITTLE WIDOW

(5/1/13) • The creative team of Be a Good Little Widow recently met with the cast and staff to present and discuss its designs for the quirky comedy, which runs May 11 – June 9, 2013 at The Old Globe. Director Hal Brooks discussed his ideas for the production, as well as the lighting design concept of Seth Resier and the sound design concept of Ryan Rumery. Scenic designer Jason Simms showed off his set model, and costume designer David Israel Reynoso displayed his costume renderings for the characters. And Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein was on hand to talk about the play and its playwright, Bekah Brunstetter.

To view more photos of the team from Be a Good Little Widow, visit our Facebook page!


Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein.


Director Hal Brooks.


Scenic designer Jason Simms.


Jason Simms' set model for Be a Good Little Widow.


Costume designer David Israel Reynoso.


David Israel Reynoso's costume renderings and inspirations for Be a Good Little Widow. (Photos by Jeffrey Wesier).


OLD GLOBE ASSOCIATE ARTISTS NICHOLAS MARTIN AND GREGG BARNES RECEIVE TONY NOMINATIONS!

(4/30/13) • Old Globe Associate Artists Nicholas Martin and Gregg Barnes were honored with Tony Award nominations this morning!

Martin was nominated for Best Director of a Play for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which he will direct at the Globe next season. Kristine Nielsen, who appeared in last season's Anna Christie at the Globe, was nominated for Leading Actress in a Play for her hilarious turn as Sonia. The comedy by Christopher Durang received six nominations in total, which also includes Best Play, Leading Actor in a Play for David Hyde Pierce, Featured Actor in a Play for Billy Magnussen and Featured Actress in a Play for Shalita Grant.

Barnes was nominated for Best Costume Design of a Musical for Kinky Boots, honoring not only those razzle-dazzle outfits but also all of those incredible shoes.

Congrats to all of these nominees!


Tony Award nominees David Hyde Pierce and Kristine Nielsen in the Broadway production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, directed by Old Globe Associate Artist and Tony nominee Nicholas Martin. Photo by Carol Rosegg.


Billy Porter in Kinky Boots, featuring the costumes of Old Globe Associate Artist and Tony nominee Gregg Barnes.


THE OLD GLOBE'S 2013-14 SEASON ANNOUNCED!

(4/26/13) • Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein’s inaugural season kicks off with The Last Goodbye, a new musical that marries Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and the electrifying songs of the legendary singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley. As previously announced, the rock musical is directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) with choreography by Sonya Tayeh (“So You Think You Can Dance”). The 2013-14 Season will also feature the World Premieres of The Few by Samuel D. Hunter and Dog and Pony, a new musical by Rick Elice and Michael Patrick Walker. Edelstein will make his Old Globe directorial debut with Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Rounding out the season are the California Premiere of Pulitzer Prize winner Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes, the West Coast Premiere of Bethanyby Laura Marks, the J.B. Priestley classic Time and the Conways and Christopher Durang’s current Broadway hit Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

The 2013-14 Season will also include the 16th annual production of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Tickets to the Globe’s 2013-14 Season are currently available by subscription only. Subscription prices range from $94 to $606.50. Subscription packages may be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE or by visiting the Box Office.

For complete details about the new season, including descriptions and biographies of the artists, please view the press release.


Meet The Old Globe's 2013-14 Season composers and playwrights: (top, from left) William Shakespeare, The Last Goodbye and The Winter's Tale; Jeff Buckley, The Last Goodbye; Samuel D. Hunter, The Few; Laura Marks, Bethany. (bottom, from left) J.B. Priestley, Time and the Conways; Quiara Alegría Hudes, Water by the Spoonful; Christopher Durang, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; Rick Elice and Michael Patrick Walker, Dog and Pony.
(Photo credits: Jeff Buckley: David Gahr; Samuel D. Hunter: John M. Baker; J.B. Priestley: J.B. Priestley Archive, University of Bradford; Quiara Alegría Hudes and Rick Elice: Joseph Moran; Christopher Durang: Susan Johann; Michael Patrick Walker: Lloyd Mulvey.


MEET THE CAST OF BE A GOOD LITTLE WIDOW!




MEET THE CAST AND DIRECTOR OF OTHER DESERT CITIES!




CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM ANNOUNCED FOR BE A GOOD LITTLE WIDOW

(4/19/13) • The Old Globe has announced the complete cast and creative team for the West Coast Premiere of Bekah Brunstetter’s quirky and tender comedy Be a Good Little Widow. Directed by Hal Brooks, Be a Good Little Widow will run May 11 – June 9, 2013 in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.

Melody thought being a young wife was hard—until she became a widow. Luckily her mother-in-law Hope is an expert in the field. As she navigates the prickly terrain of pressed black dresses, well-meant advice and inappropriate outbursts, she stumbles toward understanding what it means to find someone through losing them. A bittersweet look at the messy parts of life, Be a Good Little Widow contemplates how grief, devotion and hope can persevere within us all.

“I’m proud to welcome the very talented Bekah Brunstetter and her delicate and touching play to the Globe,” said Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “One of this theater’s most important jobs is to introduce San Diego audiences to the voices that will shape the next period in the American theater, and Bekah’s is surely one of those. Be a Good Little Widow is a gentle work, humane and intimate, and I marvel at how its light touch delivers such a moving evening in the theater.”

The cast features Christine Estabrook (Hope), Ben Graney (Craig), Kelsey Kurz (Brad) and Zoë Winters (Melody).

The creative team includes Jason Simms (Scenic Design), David Israel Reynoso (Costume Design), Seth Reiser (Lighting Design), Ryan Rumery (Sound Design), Caparelliotis Casting (Casting) and Anjee Nero (Stage Manager).

To view more photos of the team from Be a Good Little Widow, visit our Facebook page!


(from left) Christine Estabrook and Zoë Winters.


Director Hal Brooks.


Director Hal Brooks (center) and the cast of Be a Good Little Widow: (from left) Kelsey Kurz, Christine Estabrook, Zoë Winters and Ben Graney. The West Coast Premiere of Bekah Brunstetter's Be a Good Little Widow, directed by Brooks, runs May 11 - June 9, 2013 at The Old Globe.
Photos by Snaps Studio.


Kelsey Kurz.


Ben Graney.


THERE ARE NO VILLAINS IN IBSEN

(4/15/13) • Ibsen did not write melodramas peopled by heroes and villains, "good guys" and "bad guys." Although he absorbed much of his playwriting technique from the hundreds of melodramas and well-made plays he stage managed during his early years, he was uniquely able to disguise some of the mechanics we associate with these types of plays by creating seemingly real people, believably fleshed out in three dimensions. Ibsen's men and women are no cartoon characters, no conventional types.

Ibsen relies especially on speech as he masterfully creates his individualized characters. Everyone in A Doll's House has his or her own way of speaking, but the central character, Nora, has an entire repertoire of different voices. In addition to her own voice when she is alone, she has one voice as her husband Torvald's "little bird," another with her friend Kristine, another with the nursemaid Anne-Marie and yet another with her children. With Krogstad, who is blackmailing Nora to keep his job, she is straightforward, cold and disdainful — no point in trying to charm him. With Torvald and his friend Rank her speech has a caressing, lilting quality, and she uses a childish, limited vocabulary along with a repertoire of attitudes: breathless enthusiasm, pouting, cajoling, flattering, teasing. In other words, Ibsen creates a woman who hides her own intellect beneath a role she is playing. Audiences beware — do not for a moment believe that the little bird you see in the first scene with Helmer is the real Nora. Nora is neither heroine nor flibbertigibbet. She may be poorly educated, spoiled and immature; her notions of loans and the law may be laughably naive. But she is no little bird.

Ibsen avoids stereotypes by creating carefully observed and original characters and scrupulously providing motivations for their actions. If we were able to hear with ears of the 1880s, we would fully understand the demands, constraints and pressures that explain — though may not legally excuse — Krogstad's actions. Krogstad is no Iago. He is a victim of circumstance who is struggling to survive.

Nor is Torvald Helmer a villain, though he has certainly been played as such. Ibsen's contemporaries saw Helmer not as an archenemy of feminism, but as a fine, educated, honest lawyer and an unusually indulgent and tender spouse, pushed to the limit by his wife's behavior. They understood that as the head of an Aktiebank — a new type of bank that relied for its success on the integrity and unassailable reputation of its manager — Helmer would indeed be utterly ruined if Nora's dealings with Krogstad became known. Nor is Nora blameless in their unequal marriage. In modern parlance, Helmer and Nora are codependent. They perform for each other, he the role of the noble, indulgent male protector, she the helpless female seeking shelter under his wing.

If there is any villain in A Doll's House, it is, as in other Ibsen plays, dead conventions, preconceived notions, accepted dogma, impossible ideals — "ghosts." All the characters in the play are hemmed in, some by physical, economic or social constraints, some by ideals that they are trying to live up to. Nora throws off these constraints and sees that the "most wonderful of all, a true marriage" between herself and Torvald would be impossible.

Ibsen's skillfully created characters seem like people we know. (He said that of all his characters, Nora was the one he felt he knew best.) We hope you will come to know them, too, as you meet them where he envisioned them — fully alive, on stage.

—Danielle Mages Amato

(Photo: Henrik Ibsen, 1863. Photo courtesy of the National Library of Norway.)



THE LAST GOODBYE, FEATURING THE MUSIC OF JEFF BUCKLEY, WILL OPEN THE 2013-14 SEASON

(4/10/13) • The Old Globe will open its 2013-14 Season with The Last Goodbye, a new musical that marries Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and the incendiary songs of the legendary singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley. Conceived and adapted by Michael Kimmel, the rock musical is directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson). Choreography is by Sonya Tayeh (“So You Think You Can Dance”), and orchestrations, music direction and arrangements are by Kris Kukul. The complete creative team and casting, as well as the remainder of the Globe’s new season, will be announced at a later date. The Last Goodbye will run on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, Sept. 20 – Nov. 3, 2013.

The Last Goodbye is a remarkable fusion of the classic and the modern, melding Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, in its original text and period, with some of the most thrilling rock music of the past 20 years, staged with limitless invention by one of the true theatrical visionaries at work today. That light in yonder window is still the east and Juliet is still the sun . . . but the sound in her bedchamber is all new: the sweeping, emotional and extraordinarily beautiful songs of the late rock icon Jeff Buckley. The Last Goodbye views the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues firmly from the perspective of the young people it impacts most, and the violence, turmoil and passion in the public streets and private rooms of Verona are given voice not only through Shakespeare’s celebrated poetry but also through music that is intimate and epic, raucous and sublime.

“I am deeply proud and very excited to launch the Globe’s 2013-14 Season, and my tenure as Artistic Director here, with The Last Goodbye,” said Barry Edelstein. “This daring, moving and hugely entertaining work brings together many of the things that are central to the Globe’s identity: a classic text, the vibrant energies of the musical theater, a sumptuous and splendid production and a creative team of the first rank in the American Theater. It’s a particular thrill to welcome Alex Timbers to the Globe, an artist whose work delights and surprises and whose sensibility renews the American musical in ways I both appreciate and admire. I know that audiences in San Diego and beyond will love this powerful and original show.”

“I cannot imagine a better launching pad for this project than The Old Globe,” said Mary Guibert, mother of the late Mr. Buckley. “Michael Kimmel's concept, which combines Jeff's music and the Bard's words, lifts the story to another level, entirely . . . and it rocks! I can't wait to share it with the world.”


Composer and lyricist Jeff Buckley.
Photo by Niels Van Iperen.


Choreographer Sonya Tayeh and director Alex Timbers.
Photo by David Gordon/Theatermania.com.


DON'T MISS A DOLL'S HOUSE!

(4/7/13) • Critics and audiences love The Old Globe's productions of A Doll’s House! The world premiere adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's masterpiece, about a wife's dangerous sacrifice to save her husband, runs through April 21 at The Old Globe. Don't miss your chance to see this moving classic brought to new life!

CRITIC'S CHOICE
“Henrik Ibsen's classic has lost none of its gripping power!
It's easy to get swept away by this well-directed tale.”
-U-T San Diego

“EXHILARATING!
The dialogue and characterizations are crisp, clear and contemporary.
The cast is exceptional, anchored by Gretchen Hall's dazzlingly nuanced performance as Nora.”
-Jazz 88 FM

“Gretchen Hall's transformation from giddy housewife and mother to desperate woman
makes every minute of this intriguing scenario tick with intensity.”
-La Jolla Light

“The Old Globe shows A Doll's House can still resonate.”
-San Diego CityBeat

To view additional photos from A Doll's House, visit our Facebook page!


Fred Arsenault and Gretchen Hall.


Gretchen Hall and Fred Arsenault.


Gretchen Hall as Nora Helmer (center) with (from left) Fred Arsenault as Torvald Helmer, Jack Koenig as Dr. Rank and Nisi Sturgis as Mrs. Kristine Linde in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, translated and adapted by Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey and adapted and directed by Kirsten Brandt, March 23 - April 21, 2013 at The Old Globe. Photos by Henry DiRocco.


Nisi Sturgis and Richard Baird.


Gretchen Hall.


CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM ANNOUNCED FOR OTHER DESERT CITIES

(4/5/13) • The Old Globe has announced the complete cast and creative team of the San Diego premiere of Jon Robin Baitz’s award-winning family drama Other Desert Cities. Directed by Richard Seer, Other Desert Cities will run on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, April 27 – June 2, 2013.

“Jon Robin Baitz is one of the most important playwrights now working in the American Theater, and everything that makes him such a significant voice is on striking display in Other Desert Cities,” said Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “The play is a detailed and humane exploration of how the crosscurrents that flow through the world around us can buffet even our most intimate relationships. Set in Palm Springs, it’s also a sharp and captivating look at what makes California so unique—and as a newcomer to the state, I appreciate the insights! I’m happy to have the play on our stage, especially in the capable hands of Globe favorite Richard Seer.”

Novelist Brooke Wyeth is home in Palm Springs for the holidays with a copy of her latest manuscript—one she’s not showing her parents. Her brother Trip is a reality show producer, her father Lyman a former movie actor turned politician, her mother Polly a ’60s-era comedy writer turned socialite—but now long-buried secrets threaten to put her picture-perfect famous family back on the tabloid pages. Other Desert Cities is a riveting portrait of a prominent family and their very public fall from grace.

Three Old Globe Associate Artists return to the Globe stage for this explosive family reunion: Kandis Chappell (Polly Wyeth), Robert Foxworth (Lyman Wyeth) and Robin Pearson Rose (Silda Grauman). Joining them on stage are Dana Green (Brooke Wyeth) and Andy Bean (Trip Wyeth).

The creative team includes Alexander Dodge (Scenic Design), Charlotte Devaux (Costume Design), York Kennedy (Lighting Design), Paul Peterson (Sound Design), Caparelliotis Casting (Casting) and Diana Moser (Stage Manager).

To view more photos of the team from Other Desert Cities, visit our Facebook page!


Dana Green.


Old Globe Associate Artists Kandis Chappell, Robert Foxworth and Robin Pearson Rose.


Director Richard Seer (center) with the cast of Other Desert Cities: (from left) Old Globe Associate Artist Robin Pearson Rose, Andy Bean, Associate Artist Kandis Chappell, Dana Green and Associate Artist Robert Foxworth. The San Diego premiere of Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities, directed by Seer, runs April 27 - June 2, 2013 at The Old Globe. Photos by Snaps Studio.


Andy Bean.


Director Richard Seer.


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