January 19th, 2011 — 1:17pm
This week in Washington, DC, the East Coast will get to experience a little bit of California heaven when excerpts from John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven are performed alongside fellow inaugural selections of the National Endowment for the Arts New Play Development Program. January 19–30, the American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage presents the New Play Festival, full-length presentations and readings including selected scenes from Pastures, which was adapted by Octavio Solis and developed in collaboration with Cal Shakes and Word for Word Performing Arts Company.
For this presentation, Word for Word company member Sheila Balter will restage excerpts from Jonathan Moscone’s production, with members of the world-premiere cast—Catherine Castellanos, Julie Eccles, Amy Kossow, Andy Murray, Charles Shaw Robinson, and JoAnne Winter—reprising their original roles alongside such familiar Cal Shakes faces as Clifton Guterman (Smike in 2005’s Nicholas Nickleby) as Tularecito and Mannie Munroe; and Nicholas Pelczar (Banquo and Lennox in Macbeth, Don Pedro in Much Ado) as Richard Whiteside, Jimmie Munroe, and Bill Whiteside. Recent A.C.T. MFA grad Lakisha May will play Molly Morgan and Mae Munroe; and popular Bay Area actor Jarion Monroe will play John Whiteside, Allen Huenecker, Pancho, and Jakob Stutz.
Click here for more information on the New Play Festival.
Our development of John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven was underwritten
by numerous individual donors and generous support from:
Comment » | 2010 Season, January Newsletter, New Works New Communities
October 26th, 2010 — 1:51pm
You may have read her name before, in a past newsletter or on our blog. You may have seen her picture on Cal Shakes conservatory brochures, postcards, or posters. If you’ve been to our theater, you’ve most likely been greeted by her mother, longtime House Manager Claire Stoermer. And if you were at the Bruns on the opening day of the 2010 season, you may have seen 14-year-old Zendaya Coleman helping to sweep the new plaza!
Now the rest of the world is about to be introduced to this talented former Cal Shakes conservatory student. On Sunday, November 7, she made her television debut in Shake It Up!, the Disney Channel’s latest foray into the buddy-comedy genre. Shake it Up!—created by Chris Thompson of Laverne & Shirley and Bosom Buddies fame—stars Zendaya and Bella Thorne (Big Love, My Own Worst Enemy, Dirty Sexy Money) as two best friends who become background dancers on a Chicago TV show.
Congratulations to Zendaya and her parents; we’re incredibly proud to have them in our Cal Shakes family.
The Disney Channel’s Shake It Up! website.
An interview with Zendaya in Diablo magazine.
Zendaya gives a shout-out to Cal Shakes in Variety.
Pictured: Zendaya Coleman; photo courtesy of JE Talent.
Comment » | 2010 Season, Artistic Learning, Monthly Newsletters, October Newsletter
October 26th, 2010 — 1:06pm
In keeping with fall tradition, our final show of the 2010 season, Much Ado About Nothing, had five very special a.m. performances: our Student Discovery matinees. This year more than 2,500 students, teachers, and chaperones from 44 Bay Area schools got to see Jonathan Moscone’s joyful production. Thanks to funding from the NEA’s Shakespeare for a New Generation, more than 50% of these student tickets were underwritten, and many of the students attending had never seen a Shakespeare play or any live theater at all. Here at Cal Shakes, we know that participation in art is not a luxury, but rather a necessity to becoming a thoughtful, tolerant, and joyfully well-rounded human being; enthusiastic reactions to this year’s Student Matinee series proved it to us yet again.
In his spirited pre-show welcome and synopsis, Associate Artist Clive Worsley asked the students: “Do you ever see two people who don’t really like each other, are always picking on each other, can’t stand to see one another … but are always hanging out together?” A rumble of agreement welled up from the young crowds, and we knew they were hooked into the romance about to unfold.
Student reactions are sometimes louder and often broader than the evening audiences. They delighted in Dogberry calling himself “an ass”, laughed loudly as water was poured over Beatrice’s eavesdropping head, and let out big sighs of happiness during the final marriage scene. After each performance is a 15- minute Q&A, with many of the actors returning to the stage to engage in a direct dialogue with students. “Do you really kiss and do you like it?” was a commonly posed question. The actors always replied thoughtfully, explaining that performing with someone—whether in an embrace or a fight—takes a great deal of trust and respect. “What happens when you forget a line?” one student inquired. “Well,” Danny Scheie quickly retorted, “you do Fakespeare!” When a young girl asked where the actors were from, Catherine Castellanos stood up and proudly stated “Stockton!,” eliciting huge applause, as, on that particular day, more than 250 kids had come from Stockton Unified Early College Academy.
“I thought it was going to be boring,” summarized one student, “but it was really fun.”
Teachers were pleased with the event as well. “Once again,” wrote Barbara Cohen of St. Anthony’s School in Oakland, ”thanks for making this possible for children who are now so proud that they’ve seen a ‘real’ play and that, even though their English isn’t perfect yet, they understood what the author was saying.”
Pictured: Beatrice (Domenique Lozano) hides out among a Much Ado Student Matinee audience; photo by Jay Yamada.
Comment » | 2010 Season, Monthly Newsletters, Much Ado About Nothing, New Works New Communities, Weekly News
September 21st, 2010 — 4:04pm
Cal Shakes’ 2010 raffle-ticket sales will end in mid-October. And if you haven’t already bought your tickets by then, that will also be the end of your opportunity to win our amazing Grand Prize: a seven-night stay in Casa Alegría—House of Happiness—in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.
Casa Alegría is a beautifully appointed, 3,600-square-foot private villa with four bedrooms and four and one-half baths spread over three air-conditioned levels, all overlooking a pristine ocean beach on the edge of the impossibly lush Manuel Antonio National Park. The house features:
Panoramic ocean and jungle views, with frequent wildlife sightings
A fully-equipped kitchen
A stocked entertainment lounge
A private outdoor pool deck with a plunge pool and Jacuzzi
Concierge services and chef-prepared dinners
A five-minute walk to a secluded beach
What’s more, this Grand Prize includes coach airfare for two to Costa Rica. If that isn’t enough to make you want to purchase 20 raffle tickets, maybe this will put you over the edge: From now through the end of the season, use code word ALEGRĺA and we’ll throw in two free tickets for every 20 you purchase!
Other prizes in this year’s raffle include a set of four subscriptions to Cal Shakes’ 2011 season; and twelve monthly deliveries of Peet’s fine coffee or tea.
Raffle tickets are one for $10, three for $20, and 20 for $100 (or 22 for $100 with the code word!), and all proceeds support Cal Shakes’ programming. So the next time you’re at the Bruns, pick up tickets from a friendly roving raffle-seller; or stop by or call our administrative offices (701 Heinz Ave., Berkeley). To purchase tickets by phone, dial Ian Larue at 510.548.3422 x107.
The raffle drawing will be held in late October; winners will be notified by phone. We can’t wait to call and tell you what you’ve won!
For more information on—and photos of—Casa Alegria, please click here.
Comment » | 2010 Season, Monthly Newsletters, September Newsletter, Weekly News
September 21st, 2010 — 4:04pm
Picture your most recent beautiful evening at the Bruns. You sat in the plaza enjoying a glass of wine and a picnic with friends while, backstage, the actors prepared for the performance in brand-new dressing rooms and green room. The grasses on the living roof waved gently in the evening breeze. During intermission, you snagged a hot chocolate from the revamped café and made a visit to the extensive, renovated restrooms.
Did you know that the improvements to our site were made possible by the capital campaign donations of devoted Cal Shakes patrons like you?
Although we’ve raised over $8.25 million to date, we’re still working to meet our $8.5 million fundraising goal before the end of 2010. The $100,000 challenge fund, generously given by our board and other close friends of the Theater, continues to double the impact of all new gifts to the campaign.
Now is the time to make your gift. Pledges can be paid out over as many as three years, and all donors making gifts of $1,000 or more will receive permanent recognition on our site.
We’re getting closer and closer to our goal. Help us cross the finish line by making your gift today.
There are three easy ways to give:
Pick up a brochure and mailable pledge form in the plaza when you attend Much Ado About Nothing.
Make your gift online at calshakes.org/future.
Make a pledge over the phone by calling 510.809.3295.
Comment » | 2010 Season, Capital Campaign, Monthly Newsletters, September Newsletter, Weekly News