Not just a rom-com, Much Ado About Nothing is filled with intriguing subplots, villains, kooky characters, and some of the wittiest dialogue ever heard on the stage. There’s lots to like and lots to learn and we’re here to help you dive right in.
Pining for warmer weather? We are, too! We console ourselves with thoughts of Wooden O and free Shakespeare in the park. Sunshine, picnics with friends, laughter…it’s not too far away, we promise. This summer we’ve got two great casts joining us for our Wooden O productions of Much Ado About Nothing and Pericles. You’ll recognize several artists from our indoor shows, but we’ve also got a lot of new comers who we really want you to meet. Jon Kretzu, who staged our recent indoor productions of Love’s Labour’s Lost and Twelfth Night, will direct Much Ado About Nothing. The production features MJ Sieber as Benedick and Keiko Green as Beatrice. Both Sieber and Green were just on stage in our recent musical version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Bottom and Helena. Returning this summer to stage Pericles is director Annie Lareau. She helmed our 2015 Wooden O As You Like It that was shot through with laughter and bluegrass music. Pericles will feature Lorenzo Roberts in the title role of the wandering adventurer. Tracy Hyland and Anastasia Higham join him as his wife Thasia and daughter Marina. Roberts appeared in our productions of Othello and Henry VI part 1. Hyland recently stepped into the role of Warwick during Bring Down the House after and actress was injured. Higham played Juliet in our 2016 production of Romeo and Juliet.
Intertwining themes of money, power, and love weave through the plays of our upcoming season recently announced by Artistic Director George Mount. Plans for the 2017-2018 season include Julius Caesar, The Government Inspector, Timon of Athens, The Merchant of Venice, and Shakespeare in Love. “It’s about a continuum of human experience,” said Mount. “Being informed about where we’ve been before to see how we got to now.” The previously announced selections for the free Wooden O summer 2017 park shows include Much Ado About Nothing and Pericles. In the spring of 2018 Seattle Shakespeare Company will tour Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet to schools and venues across the state. “These are essential classic stories for the times we are now living through,” said Artistic Director George Mount. “I believe that Shakespeare is contemporary theatre, and should be engaging with the people that are seeing it right now, otherwise, it’s just a museum piece. These plays matter now. They mattered then, and they will continue to matter.” The indoor season launches with Julius Caesar, Shakespeare’s gripping political thriller about the intoxicating effects of power. “I’m very interested in revisiting an idea that I first explored with a Wooden O Julius Caesar,” said Mount. “When some of the things we’re seeing in our culture feel like they are more about regression than progress, this will be a production where time moves backwards during the course of the play.” Mount will direct Julius Caesar at the Cornish Playhouse, September 13-October 1, 2017. “My relationship to Allison Narver goes back to the days when she was one of the driving forces behind Annex Theatre,” said Mount. “Seeing all of her great work in town, as well as a brilliant staging of the Marx Brother’s Animal Crackers at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I knew she was the perfect fit for this Russian farce. I can’t wait.” Narver makes her Seattle Shakespeare Company directing debut with Nikolai Gogol’s comedy The Government Inspector. The hilarious tale of bureaucracy and buffoonery in a small Russian village will perform at the Center Theatre, October 24-November 19, 2017. Right after the New Year, the company will present Timon of Athens, Shakespeare’s rarely-staged tragedy of a generous man undone by false friendships. John Kazanjian will also make his company debut, directing the production which runs at the Center Theatre, January 9-February 4, 2018. “John’s been doing some fantastic work on small, chamber versions of Shakespeare’s plays with Hamlet and The Tempest at New City Theater,” said Mount. “The guy is a treasure trove of creativity with an inventive and smart, East-Coast-meets-West-Coast kind of approach to theatre. It’s going to be fantastic.” “Desdemona’s Measure for Measure for us in 2015 was a nuanced, gorgeous piece of storytelling of a very difficult play,” said Mount. “And she’s now exploding all over the national scene. I’m thrilled to have her come back and tackle yet another really difficult play that deals with very touchy, sensitive subject matter through the Shakespeare lens. I couldn’t be more excited.” Chiang will direct The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare’s vibrant interconnected tales of friendship, love, family, and the price of doing business, which will be performed at the Center Theatre, March 20-April 15, 2018. Shakespeare in Love is a stage adaptation of the Oscar-winning film about young Will Shakespeare and the woman who inspired him. “It’s just so bubbly and fun,” said Mount who will direct Shakespeare in Love at the Cornish Playhouse, May 2-June 3, 2018. “This is a really entertaining love story and a great examination of what it means to be a theatre artist. It shows just how hard it is when you’re trying to make a dream a reality and the difficulties of aspiring to success in any endeavor. I’m really looking forward directing this play and jumping into that delightful world with some of our city’s great artists.” The largest audiences for Seattle Shakespeare Company are the more than 16,000 students who get to experience one of the company’s touring productions. Seattle Shakespeare Company’s touring program crisscrosses the state with two 90-minute, small-cast shows that bring Shakespeare to communities that don’t often see professional productions. During the spring of 2018 Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet directed by Erin Murray will tour to schools and venues from Pullman to Wenatchee to Port Angeles. Free Shakespeare in the park is now a summer tradition for much of the region. Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Wooden O productions of Much Ado About Nothing and Pericles will perform in parks throughout the region from July 6 through August 6, 2016. The full schedule of dates and venues is available on the company’s website. Season ticket packages will go on sale April 1 and range from $100 to $210 for all five indoor productions. Season ticket packages can be purchased by calling the ticket office at (206) 733-8222 or online. Single tickets will go on sale in July 2017 and range from $28-$55 per ticket.
With spring just around the corner, it means the summer isn’t too far behind. And with summer comes free Shakespeare in the parks. Seattle Shakespeare Company’s free Wooden O productions for summer 2017 will be Much Ado About Nothing and Pericles. Both shows will start performances on July 6 and will perform in park venues throughout the region through August 6. The full schedule of venues, dates, and performance times is located on the calendar page of our website. “Love and adventure is what we’ll have in the parks this summer,” said Artistic Director George Mount. “I’m happy to welcome back two fine directors to take us on the journey. I know that I’m really looking forward to some sun and Shakespeare this summer with friends.” Jon Kretzu who staged Seattle Shakespeare Company recent indoor productions of Twelfth Night and Love’s Labour’s Lost will direct Much Ado About Nothing. Annie Lareau, who directed As You Like It in the parks in 2015 will direct the company’s first outdoor production of Pericles.
After closing out the financial records for Seattle Shakespeare Company’s 2013-2014 season, Managing Director John Bradshaw announced that the company ended the year in the black with revenues of $1.6 million, a record high for the company. This is the 13th straight year that the company has ended the year with a positive fund balance. “In a year when we thought we would be pulling back due to a loss of one production at the Cornish Playhouse, it actually turned into a banner year,” said Managing Director John Bradshaw. Performances of its indoor productions – Much Ado About Nothing, Richard II, The Importance of Being Earnest, and King Lear – at two different venues – played to 76% of capacity, a 5% increase in attendance from the previous season which also had a larger capacity. The Importance of Being Earnest played to 99% of capacity and was sold-out for the majority of the run. Seattle Shakespeare Company renewed its partnership with Shakespeare Walla Walla and transferred its productions of Richard II and The Importance of Being Earnest to the Gesa Powerhouse Theatre in Walla Walla for eight performances. The company also partnered with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra for a presentation of Duke Ellington’s Shakespeare-inspired Such Sweet Thunder Suite in February. The theatre’s state-wide touring productions of Romeo and Juliet and Othello had 60 performances and played to more than 15,000 people across Washington State, from Spokane to Orcas Island, during its three month tour from March through May. Attendance at its free Wooden O summer productions of The Tempest and Henry V increased by 14% from the year prior, playing to nearly 12,000 people in park venues as far north as Lynnwood, as far south as Des Moines, and as far east as Sammamish. Roughly half of the total attendance was at Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island. Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Education programs reached more than 2800 students in their classrooms with more than two-thirds of those students experiencing multi-day residencies. The company’s student matinee performances served 3,350 students from than 94 different schools and homeschools throughout the region. At Bill’s Bash, Seattle Shakespeare Company’s annual gala, funds totaling $220K were raised to support the organization’s programs, a record for the event. Seattle Shakespeare Company employed 95 actors (28% AEA, 100% local) and 111 directors, designers, stage managers, artisans and technicians for its productions during the season. “What all this says to me is that classical theatre is an important part of contemporary theatre,” said Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Artistic Director George Mount. “There is not only a need, but a hunger for the great stories of the past in today’s world. We’re so pleased to be fulfilling that need for people throughout the Seattle area and across the state.”