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(7/17/12) • The Evolution of the Paintings in Divine Rivalry

1. Most artists began their large-scale projects with sketches and studies, initial drawings to try out ideas and focus their thoughts. At right is a study for "The Battle of Cascina" by Michelangelo Buonarroti, and below is a study for "The Battle of Anghiari" by Leonardo da Vinci.











2. Next, the artist would prepare a cartoon, a full-scale drawing for the fresco. (The word comes from the Italian cartone, meaning a large sheet of paper.) Holes would then be pricked along the outlines of the composition, and a small cloth bag containing charcoal would be "pounced" over the holes in order to transfer the design to the wall. The cartoon for "The Battle of Cascina" was eventually destroyed, but copies still exist (such as the one at left by Sangallo).


3. Finally, in traditional fresco, the paint would be applied directly onto wet plaster. When the plaster dried, the paint would become a permanent part of the wall. For "The Battle of Anghiari," da Vinci experimented with a technique that allowed him to use oil paint. Only copies (and copies of copies) of "The Battle of Anghiari" exist today, such as the one at right by Peter Paul Rubens.


(7/17/12) • Critics and audiences alike think the West Coast Premiere of Divine Rivalry is a fascinating and inspiring look at two of history's greatest artists. This exciting new play runs through August 5 at the Globe.

“Boasts a savvy script, fine acting and
fascinating Renaissance detail brought to vivid life.”
-U-T San Diego

Wonderful nuggets of historical insight sprinkled throughout.”
-North County Times

“A trip back in time to learn about a curious competition between
Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci – tells the story with intrigue,
surprise and a delightful reminder of the treasure
these two geniuses gave the world.”
-La Jolla Light

To view additional photos from Divine Rivalry, visit our Facebook page!

(from left) Miles Anderson as Leonardo da Vinci and
Sean Lyons as Niccolò Machiavelli.

(from left) Euan Morton as Michelangelo Buonarroti and
Sean Lyons as Niccolò Machiavelli.

(from left) Miles Anderson as Leonardo da Vinci, Sean Lyons as Niccolò Machiavelli, David Selby as Piero Soderini and
Euan Morton as Michelangelo Buonarroti in the West Coast Premiere of Divine Rivalry,
by Michael Kramer with D. S. Moynihan, directed by Michael Wilson,
July 7 - Aug. 5, 2012 at The Old Globe. Photo by Henry DiRocco.

David Selby as Piero Soderini.

(from left) Sean Lyons as Niccolò Machiavelli,
Euan Morton as Michelangelo Buonarroti and
Miles Anderson as Leonardo da Vinci.

Playwrights Michael Kramer and D. S. Moynihan on Divine Rivalry

(7/16/12) • What drew you to this time period and these characters?

Michael Kramer: As a longtime political columnist, I have always been fascinated with Machiavelli. And then, one day, I came across a small mention of the competition between Leonardo and Michelangelo, and Machiavelli’s involvement with it. I hadn’t realized the three men lived at the same time or that they knew each other, but the animosity between the artists was familiar in the sense that jealousy and rivalry are so common in politics — so much a part of what I have observed and written about during my career as a journalist. Very little had been written about the Florentine competition, so I began what became two years of intense research — a wonderful dive into the period and three of the men who in large measure define the Renaissance.

D. S. Moynihan: For me, initially, there was the surprise at the fact that this was a real incident and at its heart was a mystery. What is so wonderful and also terrifying about trying to write something of this nature is that it was such a rich period in human history, artistically and politically, and these people were titans. To do them all justice, you would need to write twelve plays. At least! But the question we continually asked ourselves as we worked with our director Michael Wilson was, “How can we communicate a sense of that remarkable world and those astonishing figures while making the play accessible and moving?” Our process has been to home in on the story we want to tell and, reluctantly, leave aside some intriguing material.

How would you describe the story that you want to tell?

MK: Two lines in the play help illuminate the story: The first has Machiavelli explaining the underlying rivalry to his boss: “We think of them as Leonardo and Michelangelo, but for them, it could only be Leonardo or Michelangelo.” The second has Leonardo saying, “As there can be only one divinity in Heaven it is time to prove there can be only one on Earth.” So, in terms familiar from TV westerns, what you have is a young gunslinger (Michelangelo was 22 years Leonardo’s junior) eager to knock off the older, more established genius. Thus, the requisites for a percolating hatred which we naturally try to stoke.

DSM: These four men all have different visions of what the world is and what their place in it should be. They are passionate people, and it’s the clash of those passions that propel the play. They are driven by fundamental human emotions: fear, ambition, anger, devotion, humiliation, love and the need for self-expression. An audience may have predetermined ideas about them, but it is our job to make them believable, three dimensional human beings. Although we’ve taken some license with historical detail, we’ve tried to be faithful to what we see as their soul and spirit.

What resonance do you think these historical events have for us today?

MK: During the brief 15-year period when Florence was a Republic — from 1498-1513 — its leaders understood how valuable art can be in supporting a democratic government. At a time when the arts are besieged in the United States — when funding is being cut back so significantly — it is good to recall how art can help sustain a culture and country that sees itself as the world’s leading democracy.

DSM: The political is personal and the personal is political — that’s a timeless story. Fashion changes, language changes, technology. But people don’t change fundamentally, in terms of the things they want, the things they need and the ways they go about trying to get them. We hope audiences for Divine Rivalry will be invested in the outcome of this interaction among our four fascinating Renaissance men.

—Danielle Mages Amato

(Photo: D. S. Moynihan and Michael Kramer. Photo by Henry DiRocco.)


(7/13/12) • It was a divine evening in Hattox Hall on July 12 as the cast, crew and creative team of Divine Rivalry celebrated their opening night in style. Globe Board members were on hand for the festivities, and members of the 2012 Shakespeare Festival also stopped by to join the fun. To view additional photos of Divine Rivalry, visit our Facebook page!

Playwright Michael Kramer and Old Globe Managing Director
Michael G. Murphy.

Director Michael Wilson and cast members Euan Morton
and Miles Anderson.

Production Sponsor and Board member Valerie Cooper celebrates with (from left) Robert Wankel, President of the The Shubert Organization, and Leonard Soloway, Broadway General Manager.

Playwrights Michael Kramer and D. S. Moynihan.

Cast members Euan Morton and Sean Lyons.

Divine Rivalry actor and "Dark Shadows" star David Selby celebrates with his "Dark Shadows" co-star Kathryn Leigh Scott.
(Photos by Jeffrey Weiser.)


(7/12/12) • For almost 40 years, UC San Diego faculty member Maurizio Seracini has been involved in the search for Leonardo da Vinci's "The Battle of Anghiari." The cartoon for the painting stood in the Great Hall of Florence's Palazzo Vecchio for many years, and during that time it had a profound influence on a generation of artists. When painter Giorgio Vasari was brought in to renovate the chamber, "The Battle of Anghiari" was lost.

Vasari's own frescos now fill the Great Hall. But Seracini has long believed that Vasari did not destroy da Vinci's painting to create his own, but instead built a wall in front of it to preserve it. If this is true, some portion of the original da Vinci might still exist, hidden somewhere in the Great Hall. How much of the painting was actually completed? How much might remain? Art historians debate these questions with a passion that may equal the rivalry between da Vinci and Michelangelo themselves.

Seracini's team has undertaken the search, armed with groundbreaking scientific tools that would surely please the great inventor himself. They have used multispectral imaging to scan and map the entire room (including radar, thermal scans, infrared cameras and neutron analysis). Their focus narrowed to one fresco on which Vasari may have left a tantalizing clue: a flag that read "Cerca Trova" ("He who seeks, finds"). Their research indicated that Vasari's fresco was indeed painted on a false wall, built over the original one, with an air gap between the two.

This spring, Seracini's team emerged into the international spotlight as the latest phase of their research came to a head. They controversially drilled six holes into Vasari's fresco — in areas no longer containing original paint — and sent an endoscopic probe through them. They found pigment matching the distinctive paint from da Vinci's other work. With this intriguing evidence, the search continues.




(Top photo: The Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the 500) in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, where Michelangelo and da Vinci painted their works and where Vasari's frescos now stand.)

(Bottom photo: National Geographic Fellow Maurizio Seracini (foreground) and his team view footage captured by the endoscope behind the Vasari wall. This comprehensive research effort was led by the National Geographic Society and University of California San Diego's Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3), in cooperation with the City of Florence. Work conducted in the Palazzo Vecchio's Hall of the 500 was completed in collaboration with the Florentine Superintendency for Cultural Heritage and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, the Italian state art restoration center based in Florence.)


(7/11/12) • To this day, Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince remains one of the most influential books of all time. In his short but shocking work, Machiavelli offers a candid, unvarnished treatise on the best ways to seize and maintain political power. He argues that the most successful prince is one who is willing to set aside morality, act with ruthlessness and even embrace violence to achieve his political ends.

And yet, Machiavelli's own career was not spent advising tyrants but rather defending and upholding one of Italy's most proud republics. In the early 1500s, Italy was not a unified nation but a collection of often warring city-states, each with its own form of government. Unlike Milan and Naples, which were ruled by despotic dukes and kings, Florence had a tradition of drawing its governing officials from the State's most prominent families. Machiavelli was one of Florence's highest-ranking political advisers and diplomats, a position he achieved by the age of 28.

In 1502, the Florentine Council elected aristocrat Piero Soderini as their head of state, and Soderini relied heavily on Machiavelli's skills and knowledge. Soderini's position, Gonfaloniere, was intended to be held for life, although with the turbulent politics of the Republic, this could have been changed at any time. Under Soderini, Machiavelli served as secretary to Florence's military council, and he was responsible for the city's militia and defense.

When the Medici took control of Florence again in 1512, Soderini was removed from power and sent into exile; he never returned to Florence. Machiavelli was arrested, interrogated and tortured as a representative of the old regime. He was eventually released, but he was stripped of his position and political influence. He then turned to writing. During his lifetime, Machiavelli was better known for his comic plays than his political works. The Prince was not published until after his death.

Challenges to Florence's Republic

In the mid-1400s, this prominent Florentine banking family took control and worked behind the scenes to guarantee that power would pass from one member of their family to another while maintaining the outward trappings of representative government. The family produced some great leaders (Lorenzo the Magnificent) and some bad ones (Piero the Unfortunate). When France invaded in 1494 during Piero's reign, his "unfortunate" response was to agree to every French demand. The Florentine people rebelled, exiling the Medici family from Florence for almost 20 years.

A charismatic and terrifying religious leader, Savonarola came to power in 1494 after the exile of the Medici. The self-proclaimed prophet asserted that he could speak directly with God. His teachings divided Florentines and brought the republic to the brink of collapse. With the support of the Pope, Florence's leaders declared Savonarola a heretic and burned him in the Piazza della Signoria, not far from where Michelangelo's "David" would later stand.



—Danielle Mages Amato

(Photos, from top: Niccolò Machiavelli, painting by Santi di Tito; Piero Soderini, painting by Ridolfo Ghirlandaio; Lorenzo de Medici, painting by Domenico Ghirlandaio; Girolamo Savonarola, painting by Fra Bartolomeo.)


(7/10/12) • Widely considered the great genius of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci made his mark across a mind-boggling array of fields: painting, sculpture, architecture, science, engineering, cartography and even robotics. In 1504, when he began work on "The Battle of Anghiari," da Vinci was 52. He had already painted "The Last Supper" as well as his "Annunciation" and "Virgin on the Rocks," and he had begun work on the "Lisa Gioconda," know today as the "Mona Lisa." Da Vinci was born in the Republic of Florence, but he spent years in the service of both the Duke of Milan and the infamous Cesare Borgia, for whom he not only created art but also designed buildings, weapons and machinery. Da Vinci was well known for his accomplishments, but he also had a reputation for not completing projects that he began, as his insatiable curiosity forever drove him to explore new ideas. When da Vinci returned to Florence in the early 1500s, he was already an acclaimed master, and he seemed to have no patience for the city's new rising star, Michelangelo.

Fewer than 20 of da Vinci's paintings survive, and several are disputed. His notebooks, however, provide an invaluable record of a mind that transcended traditional boundaries. Da Vinci used his science to improve his artwork, and he relied upon his art to unlock new scientific discoveries. He explored mathematics and biology through drawing, reimagined music and art through mathematics and used his engineering skills to design both machine guns and fantastical special effects for the theatre. Leonardo da Vinci was in many ways the key figure — and an enduring symbol — of the Renaissance itself.

—Danielle Mages Amato

(Photo: "Mona Lisa," 1503-1519, by Leonardo da Vinci, housed in Musée du Louvre in Paris.)


(7/10/12) • Passionate, hot-tempered, demanding and deeply religious, Michelangelo Buonarroti was unquestionably one of the greatest artists of all time. In 1504, when Machiavelli commissioned him to paint "The Battle of Cascina" in Florence's Great Hall, he was just 29. Although he had studied fresco painting under Domenico Ghirlandaio, his reputation was primarily as a sculptor, and he had already completed both the "Pietà" and the "David." A famous rivalry existed between Michelangelo and the older, more experienced Leonardo da Vinci, and writers of the time exchanged comical anecdotes of the two arguing in the streets.

In 1512, Michelangelo finished the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; in 1541, in that same chapel, he would complete "The Last Judgment," the largest fresco of the Renaissance. The two works represented Michelangelo's greatest achievements in painting. As a sculptor, Michelangelo suffered under the whims of the patronage system, taking many commissions (and spending many years in quarries searching for marble) for projects that were never realized. A true Renaissance man, Michelangelo also left a legacy as an architect and a poet. It was in his poetry that he wrote of "liberating the figure imprisoned in the marble," a phrase that has become famous as a description of his process.

Michelangelo's influence on both painting and sculpture was tremendous. The scale and grandeur of his work, his attention to physical detail, the emotion that suffuses his masterpieces — all these things set Michelangelo apart and made him an artist to emulate for generations.

—Danielle Mages Amato

(Photo: The "Pietà," 1498-1499, by Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.)


(7/9/12) • Once the confetti cannons in the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre settled down for the night, the cast, creative team and crew of the 2012 Shakespeare Festival celebrated the opening of all three shows on Tuesday, July 3. As You Like It, Richard III and Inherit the Wind are now in full swing, and the team enjoyed a party in Hattox Hall full of food and friends. Cast members from God of Carnage also dropped in to offer their congratulations.

To view additional opening night photos, visit our Facebook page!

Inherit the Wind playwright Robert E. Lee's daughter Lucy Lee and wife Janet Waldo Lee (center) with Old Globe Managing Director Michael G. Murphy (far left) and Old Globe Board Chair Harold Fuson (far right).

(from left) Actors Dana Green and Aidan Hayek, assistant director Annette Yé and actor Jay Whittaker.

Richard Seer, director of the Old Globe/USD Graduate Theatre Program (back row, second from right) with past and present students of the program: (back row, from left) God of Carnage actors Lucas Caleb Rooney, Erika Rolfsrud and Caitlin Muelder, Jeremy Fisher, Rachael Jenison, Danielle O'Farrell, Deborah Radloff, Matthew Bellows, Sean-Michael Wilkinson, Bree Welch, Stephanie Roetzel Allison Spratt Pearce and Jonathan Spivey and
(front row, from left) Christopher Salazar, Bree Welch and Jesse Jensen.
Photos by Jeffrey Weiser.

(from left) Actor and Old Globe Associate Artist Charles Janasz and actors Joseph Marcell, Robin Moseley and Dan Amboyer.

(from left) Actors Lou Francine Rasse, Aidan Hayek and
Jonas McMullen.


(7/6/12) • On Monday, July 2, The Old Globe celebrated the first day of rehearsals for the San Diego Premiere of God of Carnage, written by Yasmina Reza and translated by Christopher Hampton.  The Tony Award-winning comedy is directed by Richard Seer and will run July 27 – Sept. 2 in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. 

The cast of God of Carnage features Old Globe/University of San Diego Graduate Theatre Program alumni Caitlin Muelder (Annette Raleigh), Erika Rolfsrud (Veronica Novak) and Lucas Caleb Rooney (Michael Novak).  Muelder appeared at the Globe in Vincent in Brixton, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Othello, and her Broadway credits include the Tony Award-nominated production of The Invention of Love.  Rolfsrud’s Globe credits include Sea of Tranquility, The Seagull, Cymbeline, Henry IV, Dancing at Lughnasa, Macbeth and The Gate of Heaven, and she has appeared on Broadway in The Coast of Utopia, Exit the King and Rabbit Hole.  Rooney appeared at the Globe in last season’s Death of a Salesman in addition to All My Sons, Compleat Female Stage Beauty and Twelfth Night, and he was featured on Broadway in The Country Girl and Henry IV directed by Jack O’Brien.

Rounding out the cast is T. Ryder Smith (Alan Raleigh), who has previously appeared at the Globe in Cornelia, In This Corner and Lincolnesque, for which he won a San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Craig Noel Award.  He has been seen on Broadway in War Horse and Equus.

The creative team includes Old Globe Associate Artist Robert Morgan (Scenic and Costume Design), Chris Rynne (Lighting Design), Paul Peterson (Sound Design) and Annette Yé (Stage Manager).

To view additional photos of the first day of God of Carnage rehearsals, visit our Facebook page!

Director Richard Seer greets the cast, creative team and staff
on the first day of rehearsals.

Scenic and costume designer Robert Morgan discusses his ideas
for God of Carnage.

(from left) T. Ryder Smith will appear as Alan Raleigh, Caitlin Muelder as Annette Raleigh, Lucas Caleb Rooney as Michael Novak and Erika Rolfsrud as Veronica Novak in the San Diego Premiere of God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton and directed by Richard Seer,
July 27 - Sept. 2, 2012 at The Old Globe.
Photos by Jeffrey Weiser.

Robert Morgan's set model for God of Carnage.

Photos of Robert Morgan's set model for God of Carnage.


(6/28/12) • 2012 Globe Honors winner Nicolette Burton was one of three leading actress finalists at the National High School Musical Theater Awards/The Jimmy™ Awards, which were held on June 25 in New York City.  Burton, of Canyon Crest Academy, and Chase Fischer, of Coronado School of the Arts, won top honors at the 2012 Globe Honors competition held on May 21, winning Leading Actress and Actor in a High School Musical and an all-expenses-paid trip to New York to participate in the national competition. They joined 58 other regional winners from high schools across the country for a rigorous week of workshops, coaching sessions, rehearsals and performances.

“I wouldn't trade my experience at the Jimmy Awards for the world,” Burton said. “I made 58 new, amazing friends, and I worked with some of the most fabulous coaches of my life. Everything that I've worked so hard for finally came through. Though it was a physically taxing process, I never wanted to stop. When my name was announced as a finalist I had my breath knocked out of me. I couldn't help but smile and it took a few seconds for me to process what I’d just heard.”

“We’re extremely proud of Nicolette and Chase for representing San Diego so skillfully at the national level,” said Old Globe Managing Director Michael G. Murphy.  “All of the competitors in this year’s Globe Honors impressed us with their talent and passion.  I’m thrilled that the Globe is able to provide this incredible educational experience to San Diego’s students.”

Burton is still riding high from the experience, during which she sang “Maybe I Like It This Way” from the musical The Wild Party at the Minskoff Theatre before an audience of over 1,700 theater enthusiasts. “I can now say that I've taken centerstage in a Broadway theater to perform a solo for a packed audience at the age of 17,” she said. “How can you beat that feeling?”

To view additional photos from this year's Globe Honors, visit our Facebook page!

Finalist Nicolette Burton, representing Globe Honors, sings "Maybe I Like it This Way" from The Wild Party at the National High School Musical Theater Awards (The Jimmy™ Awards) on June 25, 2012.
Photo courtesy of the National High School Musical Theater Awards.

Finalist Nicolette Burton representing Globe Honors (second from right) with her fellow finalists at the National High School Musical Theater Awards (The Jimmy™ Awards) on June 25, 2012. Photo courtesy of the National High School Musical Theater Awards.


Evolution on Trial in Tennessee

(6/28/12) • Amid the excitement of what was often called “the trial of the century,” one confrontation emerged as perhaps the greatest moment in American legal history. The year was 1925. Clarence Darrow, the most famous criminal defense lawyer in the country, was representing a small-town high school biology teacher, John Scopes. Scopes was on trial for violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which prohibited the teaching of human evolution in public schools. In an unprecedented legal maneuver, Darrow called prosecutor William Jennings Bryan to the stand to testify as an expert witness. In the examination that followed, Darrow relentlessly attacked the Bible as a source of scientific knowledge, forcing Bryan to scramble to defend his religious opposition to evolution.

When Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee wrote Inherit the Wind in the early 1950s, they seized upon that moment, that epic conflict between two great men who stood on opposite sides of one of the most controversial issues of their time. Lawrence and Lee also borrowed the setting of the Scopes Trial, re-creating the carnival atmosphere of a small town that found itself at the center of a national media firestorm. But rather than create a historical docudrama from this material, they wrote a passionate defense of intellectual freedom in the face of fundamentalism that owed more to the era of McCarthyism than it did to the actual events of 1925. “Inherit the Wind is not history,” they explain in their prologue to the play. “The collision of Bryan and Darrow was dramatic, but it was not a drama… Inherit the Wind does not pretend to be journalism. It is theatre. It is not 1925. The stage directions set the time as ‘Not too long ago.’ It might have been yesterday. It could be tomorrow.”

Unlike Inherit the Wind’s passionate evolutionist, Bertram Cates, the real John Scopes was a football coach and part-time biology teacher. When Tennessee passed the Butler Act, the American Civil Liberties Union, hoping to bring the law to the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court, placed advertisements in local newspapers offering legal support to anyone who would stand as a test case of the law. The leading citizens of Dayton, Tennessee thought that a trial and the national attention it would draw might boost the local economy. When they asked Scopes to volunteer to be prosecuted, he agreed.

The national visibility of the Scopes Monkey Trial drew big-name attorneys on both sides of the case. Among the lawyers for the prosecution was William Jennings Bryan, a social reformer, three-time Democratic presidential candidate and one of the great orators of his generation. Over the course of his political career, Bryan became known as the Great Commoner; he campaigned passionately for women’s suffrage, a progressive income tax and the rights of workers and farmers. He was also deeply Christian and deeply opposed to evolution. Not only did Bryan fear the social application of evolution (he opposed eugenics and felt governments should protect the weak), he also felt that the growing public support of scientific theories like evolution was undermining the nation’s morality and religious foundation.

On the defense side, the ACLU had concerns about including Clarence Darrow on their team. Despite his well-earned reputation in the courtroom (Darrow had just staged a brilliant defense of thrill killers Leopold and Loeb), Darrow was an outspoken, even militant, agnostic, and the ACLU did not want to put religious faith on trial. Darrow considered himself a modernist, and he saw the Scopes Trial as an irresistible opportunity to battle religious fundamentalism and stand toe-to-toe with Bryan himself. “I believe I could bring him down,” he said.

The trial was a public spectacle as much as a legal proceeding. State of Tennessee vs. John Thomas Scopes was the first trial ever broadcast live via radio. Songs were written to commemorate the event. Souvenirs were sold. The courtroom was so packed with onlookers that the judge eventually ordered the trial to move outside to the courthouse lawn, fearing that the floor might collapse. The prosecution’s case was straightforward—Scopes never denied teaching evolution. The defense tried to have the Butler Act declared unconstitutional, arguing that it gave preference to a particular religious group. The defense also attempted to present evidence supporting the “truth” of evolution, arguing that “the State may determine what subjects shall be taught, but if biology is to be taught, it cannot be demanded that it be taught falsely.”

In Inherit the Wind, teacher Bertram Cates wins a clear moral and popular victory. The impact of the real Scopes Trial was more complicated, and in the end, both sides felt they had won. Bryan’s stumbles on the witness stand turned public opinion against him and his position, although his testimony had no bearing on the ultimate verdict: John Scopes was found guilty of a misdemeanor and fined $100. The Butler Act was not brought before the Supreme Court as a result of the Scopes Trial, and the ban on teaching evolution stood on the books in Tennessee until 1964. In the years following the Scopes Trial, anti-evolution laws failed to pass in 13 other states—only Arkansas and Mississippi passed similar bans. But the polarization between fundamentalists and modernists continued to grow, the widening gap between them only growing worse as the years went on.

“In the 30 years since [Bryan and Darrow] clashed at the Rhea County Courthouse,” wrote Lawrence and Lee, “the issues of their conflict have acquired new dimension and meaning.” A similar statement could be made about the 60 years that have passed since Lawrence and Lee wrote Inherit the Wind. The issues raised by the Scopes Trial have not been put to rest. The question of the origins of human life still polarizes Americans today—and the battle continues, fought on the field of our nation’s classrooms.

—Danielle Mages Amato

(Top photo: John Scopes. Bottom photo: Celebrated defense attorney Clarence Darrow and three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan were personally hostile to one another by the end of the Scopes Monkey Trial but were persuaded to pose together for a photograph. Photo courtesy of AP/Wide World Photos.)


Scenic Designer Ralph Funicello on designing for the Festival Theatre

(6/25/12) • I’ve done repertory theatre for more than half of my career. I started designing scenery professionally at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where we did a rotating rep with five productions in the theatre at all times, changing over every night from one complete set to another. Here at the Globe, the Shakespeare Festival uses a basic unit set—the wooden deck and the side galleries—for all three productions. When the directors and I meet, we talk about how we might use that basic set in each individual production. What I try to do in designing for the Festival is to provide as many entrances and exits as possible—as many interesting ways as I can for actors to get on stage. There’s absolutely no attempt at any kind of naturalism. It’s very much a performance machine, a theatrical space in which to perform the plays. We may add a piece of architecture—some glass doors or a proscenium arch—but we don’t use that as a specific location. And we are always aware that we have to change the set every day.

Each of the three shows in this year’s festival offered unique challenges. For Richard III, director Lindsay Posner wanted the play to be extremely contemporary. He feels that the behavior we see in Richard III is the same behavior, the same motivation, that is apparent in every dictatorship and every insurrection that has happened in the last 10 or 15 years. There’s no reason to have to say that this happened 500 or 600 years ago. It happened six months ago, as well. Lindsay was interested in creating a space that would make that visible. We have created a kind of royal bunker—our equivalent for a castle or a palace—with people hiding there in fear of who might overthrow them. In Lindsay’s mind, Richmond is just as bad as Richard at the end of the play: it’s the same thing, just another name.

Inherit the Wind is written to take place in a courtroom, but Director Adrian Noble’s first charge was, “I don’t want a courtroom at all.” He thought we could be much more inventive about it, and we didn’t have to tie it down to realistic scenery. The first thing Adrian said when I met with him was that he wanted 20 to 25 American kitchen tables from the turn of the century through the 1930s and a collection of odd chairs. He wanted to construct the set by moving the tables around to create the space that we needed, using them not only as tables but as platforms. Adrian felt the kitchen table was a piece of Americana, with a kind of small-town feel to it. In small towns, that’s where things get discussed. It’s one of the focal points of family life. We decided to create the jury box by removing the first row of seats in the middle section and putting some of our mismatched chairs there. Ten members of the audience act as jurors, and the last two jurors are chosen onstage during the course of the play.

As You Like It is set in a golden age, a remembered time, and the design includes references to 1930s British railway art and to the work of artist Sir Stanley Spencer, particularly his Cookham paintings. Spencer painted biblical allegories, but the people in them are all his neighbors in Cookham. It might be called “Marriage at Cana,” but it looks like 1930s small-town England, with middle-class English people sitting around long tables eating English food. That’s a sort of visual reference for us for what the world will look like. Going into the forest of Arden, Celia and Rosalind enter a hostile winter wilderness that becomes magical with the arrival of spring. A white cloth becomes both a blanket of snow and a forest canopy. We also came up with the idea of suspending a very irregular cable grid over the entire auditorium with small light bulbs suspended from it, so there could be a ceiling of light, almost like stars.

Some people get to design one Shakespeare every year, or even one every four or five years. Having the opportunity to design two Shakespeares a year is fantastic. I’ve enjoyed all the Shakespeare productions I’ve worked on at the Globe, and they’ve all been very different. The more inventive and extraordinary the directors, the more challenging and fun it is to find new ways to put these plays on stage.

(Image: Marriage at Cana, Bride & Bridegroom by Sir Stanley Spencer, 1953.)


(6/21/12) • The Wars of the Roses (1455-1487) were a series of civil wars fought in England between two branches of the royal family, the House of Lancaster and the House of York, each of which claimed the right to the throne. The history of the conflict goes back to the time of Edward III, who created five powerful dukedoms for his sons, naming them the first Dukes of Clarence, Lancaster, York and Gloucester.

Edward III was succeeded by his grandson, Richard II, who had no children. Instead of the throne passing peacefully to the next in line, the great-grandson of the Duke of Clarence, the unpopular Richard was overthrown by his cousin Henry IV, son of the Duke of Lancaster. This overthrow created a break in the line of succession that would later lead to war. The House of Lancaster ruled for over 60 years, until the turbulent reign of Henry VI, which was marked by growing civil discontent. When Henry VI suffered a mental breakdown, his cousin Richard, Duke of York, took control of the kingdom. Richard, as a descendant of both Clarence and York, felt his family deserved the throne, and when Henry VI tried to regain power, a series of bloody battles erupted. Richard, Duke of York, was killed at the battle of Wakefield, but just weeks later, his son took the throne as Edward IV. Edward’s marriage to the widow Elizabeth Woodville alienated many of his supporters, and for a brief time, Henry VI was restored to the throne. But following a battle in which Henry’s son was killed, Edward became king once again. Henry was imprisoned and later died mysteriously in the Tower of London. Shakespeare attributes his murder to Richard III.

Shakespeare’s play Richard III begins during the final months of Edward IV’s reign and concludes with the last major battle of the Wars of the Roses. At the Battle of Bosworth, a distant Lancastrian descendant, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, defeated Richard III, became Henry VII, and established a new royal line: the House of Tudor.

(Image: King Richard III by unknown artist, late 16th century. National Portrait Gallery, London: NPG 148.)


(6/19/12) • The Old Globe today announced the cast and creative team for the West Coast Premiere of Divine Rivalry by Michael Kramer with D. S. Moynihan.  Based on a real-life event, the drama about two of history’s most famous artists—and one of history’s most infamous statesmen—is directed by Michael Wilson and will run July 7 – Aug. 5 on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. 

Shakespeare Festival favorite Miles Anderson returns to the Globe to play the legendary Leonardo da Vinci.  Anderson was last seen in the 2011 Shakespeare Festival as Prospero in The Tempest and Antonio Salieri in Amadeus.  His 2010 appearance in the title role of The Madness of George III won him the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Craig Noel Award. Jeffrey Carlson, who has appeared on Broadway in The Goat, or Who is Sylvia, Tartuffe and Taboo and is well known for his recurring role as Zoe on “All My Children,” will play Niccolò Machiavelli. Euan Morton will appear as Michelangelo Buonarroti.  Morton was nominated for a Tony Award for playing Boy George in Taboo and has also appeared on Broadway in Cyrano de Bergerac and Sondheim on Sondheim. David Selby will play Piero Soderini.  Selby’s Broadway credits include The Heiress, The Eccentricities of a Nightingale and I Won’t Dance and has originated roles on the television series “Dark Shadows” and “Falcon Crest.”

The creative team includes Jeff Cowie (Scenic Design), David C. Woolard (Costume Design), Robert Wierzel (Lighting Design), John Gromada (Original Music and Sound Design), Peter Nigrini (Projection Design), Paul Huntley (Wig Design), Telsey + Company (Casting) and Marisa Levy (Stage Manager).

To view additional photos of the Divine Rivalry cast, visit our Facebook page!

The cast and creative team of Divine Rivalry (from left): director Michael Wilson, actors Jeffrey Carlson, David Selby and Euan Morton, playwright D. S. Moynihan, actor Miles Anderson and playwright Michael Kramer. Divine Rivalry, by Michael Kramer with D. S. Moynihan, directed by Michael Wilson, runs July 7 - Aug. 5, 2012 at The Old Globe. Photo by Henry DiRocco.




(5/29/12) • The winners of the 2012 Globe Honors, the annual competition recognizing excellence in high school theatre, were announced on Monday, May 21 following the live final round of competition. Chase Fischer of Coronado School of the Arts and Nicolette Burton of Canyon Crest Academy won 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 June 25 at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway. The other winners of this year’s Globe Honors were Jonathan Edzant of Canyon Crest Academy and Kelly Prendergast of Grossmont High School (Outstanding Achievement in Musical Theatre), Patrick Gates of San Diego Virtual Schools and Sara Rose Carr of Canyon Crest Academy (Outstanding Achievement in Spoken Theatre) and Chad Mata of Coronado School of the Arts (Outstanding Achievement in Technical Theatre).

To view additional photos from this year's Globe Honors, visit our Facebook page!

Chase Fischer, who won in the category of Outstanding Achievement, Leading Actor in a High School Musical.

Nicolette Burton, who won in the category of Outstanding Achievement, Leading Actress in a High School Musical.

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). The 2012 Globe Honors and The Road to the Jimmy Awards was held on May 21 at The Old Globe.
Photos by J. Katarzyna Woronowic.

(foreground) Semi-finalists Lorina Alfaro and Sanket Padmanabhan and (background) Samantha Canela and Carson McCalley during a group performance at the Globe Honors ceremony.

(foreground) Danielle Diamond and Patrick Gates during a group performance at the Globe Honors ceremony.




(5/16/12) • The World Premiere of Nobody Loves You has delighted audiences and critics with its fresh and fun look at reality television. This hilarious new musical runs through June 17 at the Globe.

“A terrific new American musical!
The flawless ensemble demonstrates boundless charm.
Delighted audiences in San Diego, and surely elsewhere for years to come,
will eagerly hand everyone involved a rose.”
-Bob Verini, Variety

“Reality television gets a funny and fresh skewering.  
Packed with winning songs with hysterically funny lyrics,
the tightly paced play starts off with a bang and
rarely falters during its 100 intermissionless minutes.”
-Pam Kragen, North County Times

“Playfully entertaining!
A musical spoof with oomph: Nobody Loves You is absurd fun.”
-James Hebert, U-T San Diego

To view additional photos from Nobody Loves You, visit our Facebook page!

Jenni Barber as Jenny and Adam Kantor as Jeff.

Heath Calvert as Byron (bottom) with Lauren Molina,
Kate Morgan Chadwick, Jenni Barber and Kelsey Kurz.

Adam Kantor as Jeff (center) and the cast of the World Premiere musical Nobody Loves You, with music and lyrics by Gaby Alter and book and lyrics by Itamar Moses, directed by Michelle Tattenbaum, May 9 - June 17, 2012 at The Old Globe.
Photos by Henry DiRocco.

Alex Brightman as Evan.

Kelsey Kurz as Christian and Lauren Molina as Megan.


(5/22/12) • The Twitterverse, not to mention The Old Globe, was abuzz as the World Premiere musical Nobody Loves Youopened on May 17, 2012. The cast and creative team gathered in Hattox Hall to celebrate this reality show-set comedy, and though the hot tub from the show didn't make it to the party, everyone still had a great time. Evan's 19 Twitter followers must be very excited! To view more opening night photos, visit our Facebook page!

Director Michelle Tattenbaum, music director Vadim Feichtner, cast members Heath Calvert and Jenni Barber, composer and lyricist Gaby Alter and cast member Kate Morgan Chadwick.

Cast members Jenni Barber and Adam Kantor.

Playwright and lyricist Itamar Moses, director Michelle Tattenbaum, composer and lyricist Gaby Alter and choreographer Mandy Moore.

Cast members Heath Calvert and Nicole Lewis.

Cast members Kelsey Kurz and Lauren Molina.

Director Michelle Tattenbaum and cast members Kate Morgan Chadwick and Alex Brightman.



(5/16/12) • The West Coast Premiere of The Scottsboro Boys has touched and amazed both audiences and critics! The inspiring musical runs through June 10 at the Globe.

Best known for Cabaret and Chicago, John Kander and Fred Ebb were masters of
‘the concept musical,’ and The Scottsboro Boys is arguably the duo’s most audacious crack
at the form. The musical left me feeling elevated as only original works of art can.”
-CRITIC’S CHOICE – Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times

It’s a stunning production, sharply conceived, ingeniously designed, gorgeously
sung and danced. This unique and incandescent show gets you in the gut.
This is must-see theater—provocative, stirring, dispiriting, amazing. Do not miss it!”
-Pat Launer, KSDS Jazz 88.3

“The musical manages to be both funny and deeply unsettling, typically in the same
moment, with a versatile and committed 13-member cast that’s tuned into the piece’s
appetite for the audacious. Their performances bring pizazz to the show’s old-timey
jazz and blues tunes, tap exhibitions and over-the-top comedy.”
-CRITIC’S CHOICE – James Hebert, U-T San Diego

Kander and Ebb not only write great musical material but manage to dig to the very core
of the piece’s social relevance, and like Shakespeare and all great theatrical experiences,
make the entire show simultaneously entertaining and enlightening.”
-U-T San Diego

To view additional photos from The Scottsboro Boys, visit our Facebook page!

Clifton Duncan as Haywood Patterson.

James T. Lane (above) as Ozie Powell and
the cast of The Scottsboro Boys.

The cast of the West Coast Premiere of The Scottsboro Boys: (from left) Nile Bullock, Eric Jackson, David Bazemore, Christopher James Culberson, James T. Lane, Clinton Roane, Clifton Duncan, Clifton Oliver and Shavey Brown. The Scottsboro Boys, with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, book by David Thompson and direction and choreography by Susan Stroman, runs April 29 - June 10, 2012 at The Old Globe. Photos by Henry DiRocco.

(foreground, from left) David Bazemore as Olen Montgomery, Eric Jackson as Clarence Norris, James T. Lane as Ozie Powell and Shavey Brown as Willie Roberson and the cast of
The Scottsboro Boys.

(from left) Jared Joseph as Mr. Bones, Ron Holgate as
The Interlocutor and JC Montgomery as Mr. Tambo.


(5/15/12) • On Thursday, May 10, the cast of the touring production of Chicago took in a student matinee performance of The Scottsboro Boys. Supermodel Christie Brinkley, who plays merry murderess Roxie Hart in Chicago, was among those in attendance. Both shows feature music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, the legendary composing team also responsible for Cabaret and Kiss of the Spider Woman.

Chicago stars Ron Orbach, Christie Brinkely, John O'Hurley and Carol Woods (center) and fellow cast members at a performance of The Scottsboro Boys at The Old Globe. Photo by Jeffrey Weiser.