Cal Shakes News
Rick Miller - MacHomer
MacHomer on NBC   8.5.10

Rick Miller, creator and star of the one-man spectacular MacHomer, currently playing on the Bruns stage, sat down with NBC-11’s Laurence Scott to talk about the show. Watch the video—including clips of the live show—here.

The Wall Street Journal Visits Cal Shakes

Mrs. Warren's Profession at Cal Shakes

Anna Bullard and Stacy Ross in Mrs. Warren's Profession; photo by Kevin Berne.

Terry Teachout, theater critic for The Wall Street Journal, wrote a column about two Shakespeare companies performing productions of plays by George Bernard Shaw this summer: Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Arms and the Man, and our very own Mrs. Warren’s Profession. Not only did Mr. Teachout proclaim the Bruns Amphitheater to be “one of the most beautiful outdoor performing spaces in America,” he also challenged Broadway’s Roundabout Theatre Company to “work overtime to top this exemplary version” when they mount their revival of Mrs. Warren’s this October.
Read the whole article here.

Coffee Talk 7.21.10

Here’s a safe bet: At some point in your life, you’ve been smack in the midst of something when the phone starts ringing, causing you to think, “Shoot. Let it go to voicemail.” (Or alternate words to that effect.)

Cal Shakes’ Patron Service Associates (or PSAs, as they are affectionately known) can relate. These invaluable members of Cal Shakes’ fundraising team are all locals, many of whom—like many of you—love the arts; support nonprofits; and receive lots of donation-request calls. In other words, PSAs understand firsthand that calls may come as interruptions. They also know that some causes are worth taking time to talk about.

Cal Shakes PSAs have lots to offer you. They’re not calling solely to request donations (although that is an important part of what they do; the monies they raise are essential to funding Cal Shakes’ work onstage and in schools and communities). The PSAs are fonts of information, and serve as an essential link between patrons and the entire staff of Cal Shakes. Got a question about your tickets, a particular show, or something you read regarding Cal Shakes? Answer a PSA call and you’ll have an expert at your complete disposal. Had a Cal Shakes experience—good or bad—you’d like us to hear about? Sharing it with a PSA is an ideal way to communicate it to our entire company.

On top of all this, from now until the end of our Main Stage season on October 17, Cal Shakes PSAs are your gateway to heavenly—and free—Peet’s coffee and tea. When a PSA calls, if you answer the phone and offer the codeword “PEET’S,” you’ll be entered into a weekly drawing for a $20 Peet’s Card. Winners will be contacted by phone or email (your choice).

So don’t miss out on any of the many benefits of talking with a Cal Shakes PSA. When your phone rings, answer with a hearty hello and a happy cry: “Peet’s!”

Travels with Cal Shakes 

Wanting one more look at John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven? In August, Octavio Solis’ play will be featured at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas as part of the 30th Annual Steinbeck Festival. On Saturday, August 7 at 7:30pm and Sunday, August 8 at 2:30pm, members of the original cast will read selections from the play, and participate in a talkback with the audience.

Each year, hundreds of people from around the globe attend the four-day festival in Salinas, which includes talks, tours, film, and the visual and performing arts. This year, the Festival will explore journeys of all kinds, throughout America and the wide world, through the eyes of John Steinbeck and others. Appearing in the Salinas readings are original cast members from Cal Shakes’ world-premiere production of John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven: Catherine Castellanos (Cleo Banks, Rosa Lopez, Cal Shakes Associate Artist), Rod Gnapp (Pat Humbert, Shark Wicks), Dan Hiatt (John Whiteside, Jakob Stutz, Cal Shakes Associate Artist), Amy Kossow (Miss Martin, Ma Humbert, Word for Word Performing Arts Company member), Charles Shaw Robinson (Bert Munroe, Junius Maltby), Tobie Windham (Tularecito, Manny Munroe), and JoAnne Winter (Maria Lopez, Robbie Maltby, Word for Word Artistic Director).

Tickets to the readings are $10 for member of the National Steinbeck Center, $18 for non-members.
For more information on the Steinbeck Festival, including how to purchase tickets, click here.

This Friday, July 16 at the Bruns Amphitheater, it's... OUTdoors! 7.14.10

The pre-show LBGT party in the Owen Moscone North Star Grove features cocktails, snacks, music, and more inspired by our upcoming production of George Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession, directed by Timothy Near. And it's all free with your ticket to the performance. We'll be serving up a special drink, made with vodka from our friends at Stockholm Krystal, named by one of our Twitter followers or Facebook fans. (Want to participate? Follow us on Twitter or be our fan on Facebook to take part in the Mrs. Warren's OUTdoors Cocktail Contest, ending this Thursday.)

Don't have your ticket to the show yet? If you're age 30 and Under, they're just $20.

Just pop into the first grove on the right between 6:30 and curtain time to join the party. OUTdoors—including drinks and snacks—is free with your ticket to the performance.

Cast and Creative Team Announced for Macbeth. 7.8.10

California Shakespeare Theater’s 2010 season continues with Shakespeare’s gripping tale of the consequences of unbridled ambition, Macbeth, August 18–September 12.

Returning to direct is Joel Sass, associate artistic director of The Jungle Theater in Minneapolis, whose 2008 production of Pericles was called “pitch-perfect” by the San Francisco Chronicle. As he did with Pericles, Sass has reimagined Macbeth for a company of eight speaking actors and four ensemble members who will each portray several characters throughout the production. According to Sass, the production will be “contemporary, incorporating strong elements of a gritty ‘reality’ but primarily evoking a world and behavior that is more dreamlike, interior, psychological…I’m after a sort of David Lynch-y quality I’d characterize as feverish, ominous, and slightly ritualized.”

Pericles was a relatively unknown play, and so had the capacity to surprise an audience with a story they didn’t know,” continues Sass. “Macbeth, conversely, is one of the most well-known plays of Shakespeare—but my hope is that our production will still be packed with surprises and feel fresh, new, and immediate. Adapting it for a cast of eight is both challenging and really exciting, because the experience of the story becomes very concentrated, very intimate. Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most intense, harrowing journeys—he takes the audience on a dark ride into the most private ecstasies and agonies of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. My hope is that we’ll create a surprising, psychological thriller/horror show, and not a history pageant/morality play.”

Written in the early 1600s and first performed for King James I, son of Mary, Queen of Scots, Macbeth is loosely based on several stories in Holinshed's Chronicles, a popular history of the British Isles familiar to Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The shortest of Shakespeare’s tragedies, it has been the subject of numerous artistic treatments, including an opera by Verdi; an all-African-American stage production produced by the Depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA) and directed by Orson Welles; the Akiro Kurosawa film, Throne of Blood; and a 2010 interactive graphic novel with voiceovers by Derek Jacobi, among others. In addition, the story of Macbeth has been told in a one-man show, MacHomer, now on its 15th anniversary tour, which uses the voices of the popular Simpsons cartoon characters; Cal Shakes has announced that it will present MacHomer for seven performances only Aug 3-7.

Appearing as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, “the ultimate power couple” according to Sass, are Jud Williford, last seen at Cal Shakes in 2009 in his critically-acclaimed portrayals of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet and Victor in Private Lives, and Stacy Ross, who is currently playing the title role of Mrs. Warren’s Profession. The cast also includes Cal Shakes Associate Artist James Carpenter (Duncan/Porter/Seyton/Murderer/Ensemble), recently selected as a 2010 Lunt-Fontanne Fellow; Delia MacDougall (Ross/Wyrd Sister/ Ensemble), last seen at A.C.T. in Round and Round the Garden and Cal Shakes’ Pericles; Craig Marker (Macduff/Murderer/Ensemble), best remembered for his portrayal of Tybalt in 2009’s Romeo and Juliet; Nicholas Pelczar (Banquo/Lennox/Ensemble), who appeared in A.C.T.’s Rock and Roll and War Music; and A.C.T. MFA students Nick Childress (Malcolm/Ensemble) and Omoze Idehenre (Lady Macduff/Wyrd Sister/Mentieth/Ensemble). Rounding out the ensemble are Marissa Keltie, Samantha Martin, Brian J. Patterson, and Noah Baldwin.

The talented design team for Macbeth includes: Dan Ostling (set design), an ensemble member with Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago whose work has appeared at regional theaters across the country and in Europe; Christal Weatherly (costume design), a much-in-demand designer with credits from Los Angeles to New York, most recently for Ruined at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Russell Champa (lighting design), who designed the recent Broadway production of In the Next Room (or the vibrator play); and Andre Pluess (sound design), who created the evocative, occasionally whimsical music for last season’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Others on the artistic staff of the production are Dave Maier (fight director), Lynne Soffer (vocal/text coach), Philippa Kelly (dramaturg), Briana J. Fahey (stage manager), and Elizabeth Atkinson (assistant stage manager).

Single tickets for Macbeth are on sale now and range from $34–$70, with discounts available for seniors, students, persons age 30 and under, and groups. Prices, dates, and artists subject to change. Click or call 510.548.9666 to purchase.

Five-Week Conservatory Performance Tickets on Sale Now 7.6.10

Our Five-Week Summer Shakespeare Conservatory is currently in session, with students age 8–18 spending their mornings studying text, improvisation, stage combat, and a wide variety of other theatrical disciplines. Afternoons are spent in rehearsal for two days of performance July 23 and 24. These are no ordinary school plays—each is a discrete, abridged Shakespeare production, directed by Bay Area theater professionals—so you don’t have to be a parent of one of our gifted Conservatory students to attend! The schedule is below; tickets are $7 each, or $5 for students and seniors. Click here

Location: Bentley Upper School,
1000 Upper Happy Valley Rd, Lafayette
Tickets: $7 each, or $5 for students and seniors.
Click here to purchase.


Friday, July 23
Merry Kinsman (grades 3–6) in Much Ado About Nothing
Noble Knaves (grades 6-7) in The Winter’s Tale
Riotous Knights (grade 8) in Comedy of Errors
Fortune Artists (grades 8-10) in Henry IV- part one
The Queen’s Own (grades 10-12) in Measure for Measure

Saturday, July 24
Riotous Knights (grade 8) in A Comedy of Errors
Merry Kinsman (grades 3-6) in Much Ado About Nothing
Noble Knaves (grades 6-7) in The Winter’s Tale
Fortune Artists (grades 8-10) in Henry IV- part 1
The Queen’s Own (grades 10-12) in Measure for Measure



Cal Shakes and Berkeley Rep present a class with Daniel Fish 7.2.10

California Shakespeare Theater is proud to present, with our friends at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare's Verse: Discovery and Action, a workshop taught by director and Cal Shakes Associate Artist Daniel Fish (Measure for Measure, Merchant of Venice, Cymbeline). The workshop introduces experienced actors and directors to a rigorous and practical technique of working with Shakespearean verse. Daniel Fish appropriates a method developed largely by Peter Hall and John Barton and makes it work for American actors by synthesizing the emotional, psychological and physical demands of bringing these texts to life. The impulse for this technique and for the class comes from a belief that Shakespeare's plays are living works that demand constant reinvention for a contemporary society.

When: Friday July 9, 7–9pm • Saturday, July 10, 1–5pm • Sunday July 11, 1–5pm

Where: Nevo Education Center, 2071 Addison St, Berkeley (next door to Berkeley Rep)

Cost: $150

Registration: Students must submit a resume for acceptance into this class.Please e-mail resume to Click here to register.

Special Event! Back By Popular Demand: MacHomer 7.1.10

California Shakespeare Theater, in association with WYRD Productions and Robert Friedman, will present the return engagement of the international smash-hit comedy, MacHomer, August 3–7, 2010 at Bruns Amphitheater. Curtain times are Tuesday through Thursday at 8pm; and Friday and Saturday at 8pm and 10:30pm. The 10:30pm performances include pizza (mmm…. Pizza) and beer (woo-hoo!) with the price of the ticket.

MacHomer is a one-man performance featuring TV’s favorite dysfunctional family in a hilarious multimedia performance of Shakespeare’s bloodiest tragedy, complete with video projections and puppets. The script, which is 85% Shakespeare and 100% hilarious, stars Homer Simpson as MacBeth and Marge as Lady MacBeth, along with more than 50 other well-known Simpsons characters. MacHomer sold out in both of its previous Cal Shakes runs (in 2003 at the Bruns Amphitheater and in 2006 at the Roda Theater in Berkeley), and has played to capacity crowds across the U.S. and Canada. The show has toured the world to rave reviews and awards in Scotland, England, Australia, and New Zealand.

Following is a character breakdown of how Shakespeare’s play looks when performed by the people of Springfield: Duncan, King of Scotland (Charles Montgomery Burns); Malcolm, his son (Waylon Smithers); MacHomer, Thane of Glamis, later Thane of Cawdor, later King of Scotland (Homer J. Simpson); Lady MacHomer (Marge Simpson); Banquo, a Thane of Scotland (Ned Flanders); MacDuff, a Thane of Scotland (Barney Gumble); Fleance, Banquo’s son (Bart Simpson); Murderer No. 1 (Apu Nahasapeemapetilon); An Old Man, Murderer No. 2 (Grampa Abe Simpson); A Doctor, Murderer No. 3, (Otto Mann); A Porter (Krusty the Clown); Gentlewoman (Lisa Simpson); Policeman No. 1 (Chief Clancy Wiggum); Policeman No. 2 (Carl); Policeman No. 3 (Eddie); Hecate, Witch No. 1 (The Sea Captain); Witch No. 2 (Moe Szyslak); Witch No. 3 (Principal Seymour Skinner), Other Weird Sisters (Selma and Patty Bouvier) and Sideshow Bob Terwilliger as Apparition No. 4, and many others.

Critics around the world have hailed MacHomer as “a comic tour-de-force” (London Sunday Mail) that will leave audiences “exhausted with laughter” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) . Some of the international praise: “intelligent, often hilariously funny” (Los Angeles Times); “a masterpiece” (Saturday Night Magazine); “wildly imaginative” (Boston Globe); “so funny, one needs oxygen masks to drop from the ceiling to refill the lungs for more laughs” (Victoria News); “a comic juggernaut” (The Toronto Star); and “huge amounts of rollicking fun” (The Edinburgh Scotsman).

This creation of MacHomer: The Simpsons Do MacBeth was largely result of a joke. In the summer of 1995, Miller had a very small part (“Murderer #2" to be exact) in a touring production of MacBeth with Montreal’s Repercussion Theatre. "Somehow, a tragedy always seems funnier backstage than onstage," says Miller, "and I spent many hours concocting this silly little joke for the cast party: What if The Simpsons were to perform our play? MacHomer! I could draw and imitate most of the characters, so why not?"

MacHomer is directed by Sean Lynch, with Lighting Design & Live Performance photographs by Beth Kates; Costumes by Veronik Avery; Photography by Michael Cooper and Graphics by Craig Francis Design. For more information on MacHomer visit or

Tickets for MacHomer start at $20 and go on sale to the general public on July 6 (Cal Shakes subscribers and FlexPass holders can purchase tickets now); for information or to charge tickets by phone with VISA, MasterCard, or American Express, call the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666 or click The grounds open at 6pm for picnicking before the 8pm shows, and at 10pm for the 10:30pm shows. Free parking is available onsite, and there’s a free shuttle from the Orinda BART.

Donate your old kids’ clothing and costumes to our Conservatory! 6.25.10

Cal Shakes is having a costume drive for the Summer Shakespeare Conservatory. The students range in age from 8 to 18; we need pieces to fit these ages, especially the younger ones. Clear some storage space and help the Summer Shakespeare Conservatory students express their passion for artistic exploration!


Friday, July 2
Bentley Upper School
1000 Upper Valley Road

Friday July 2
Holy Names High School
4660 Harbord Drive

June 21–July 5, Monday–Friday
Cal Shakes Administrative Office
701 Heinz Avenue

We are looking specifically for renaissance and period pieces, old Halloween and dance costumes; dress clothes such as slacks, vests, button-up shirts, and dresses; and costume items that can fit a variety of sizes and needs such as tunics, skirts with elastic waists, capes and cloaks. We are also in need of costume shoes such as sandals and character shoes; and accessories such as scarves, crowns, and hats. Everyday contemporary clothing such as jeans, tee shirts, baseball caps and flip-flops are not needed.

For more information on the costume drive please contact Cal Shakes Costume Shop Intern Jesse Blankinship-Smith at 510.548.3422 x111 or

One Night Only! Hamlet Blood in the Brain at the Bruns 6.24.10

Please join us for a free performance of Naomi Iizuka’s Hamlet: Blood in the Brain on Monday, July 26, 7:30pm, at the Bruns Amphitheater, presented by Oakland Technical High School’s advanced drama students. We are honored to host this talented group who, later this summer, will perform Ms. Iizuka’s play in Scotland as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Hamlet: Blood in the Brain—the inaugural project of Cal Shakes’ New Works/New Communities program—was developed in collaboration with Intersection for the Arts + Campo Santo. The play reimagines Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the drug-ravaged world of an impoverished East and West Oakland in the late 1980s. Earlier this year, Oakland Tech’s drama teacher Jessa Berkner’s students brought it back to vivid life, winning an American High School Theatre Festival prize and the honor of traveling to Scotland in the process. Cal Shakes collaborated with Oakland Tech to promote its fundraising for their participation in the Fringe, which also gave rise to first-time residencies at the school through our Artistic Learning program. The first one featured a Twelfth Night curriculum with Ms. Berkner’s advanced drama students. Later, a ninth-grade English class studied—and then attended—a Student Discovery performance of John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven in June. And you may recall that a few weeks ago, we announced that Marcus Thompson, who plays H in this production, took home a Steve Silver Foundation & Beach Blanket Babylon Scholarship for the Arts, performing a monologue from Blood in the Brain to earn $10,000 toward his college education.

When we began this project back in 2004, no one dreamed that our first new play—having culminated in Oakland following a sold-out run by Campo Santo at Intersection—would someday play on an international stage. Now we are overjoyed to invite you to experience the work for the first time in our beloved outdoor amphitheater, for one night only. Immediately following the performance, there will be a Q&A with members of the original production’s cast and the student cast of Oakland Tech.

When: Monday, July 26 at 7:30pm (grounds open at 6:30pm)
Where: Bruns Amphitheater, Orinda
Cost: Free
Tickets: Tickets available starting Monday, June 28. Though this is a free event, we are asking that you reserve seats by clicking or by calling the box office at 510.548.9666.

Sign up to get all the latest news on our New Works/New Communities program. Click here to update your Cal Shakes email subscription by checking the "New Works/New Communities" box.

California Shakespeare Theater’s 2010 season continues with George Bernard Shaw’s brilliantly provocative examination of the high price of morality, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, from July 7 through August 1.  6.17.10

Directed by Timothy Near—whose triumphant Uncle Vanya graced the Cal Shakes stage in 2008—Mrs. Warren’s Profession marks Cal Shakes’ third foray in the works of Shaw; its previous productions of Arms and the Man (2003) and Man and Superman (2007) are among the most critically-acclaimed productions ever staged by the company.

“This is a witty and furious play that shows us that poverty is as immoral as prostitution,” says Timothy Near. “In modern terms, Mrs. Warren, trying to avoid the filthy, disease-ridden job opportunities offered to her class and gender, opts for hooking for health care…so to speak. I love this very early play of Shaw’s because he reveals a great deal of his own complicated feelings about his aloof, career-minded mother, her business partner George Lee and Shaw’s disappointing drunken father (also named George). Shaw writes a rebellious-youth-story about the huge abyss between parent and child due to hypocrisy, lack of nurturing, and consequent sexual confusion. This play could easily have been written about an angry young woman of the punk generation. It has a recognizable unsentimental grit to it.”
Forthright Cambridge student Vivie Warren comes home to discover a shocking secret about her mother and the source of her family fortune. Written in 1893, the play was originally banned by the Lord Chamberlain (Britain's official theater censor) because of its frank discussion and portrayal of prostitution, but was finally first performed in January 1902. Shaw said he wrote the play "to draw attention to the truth that prostitution is caused, not by female depravity and male licentiousness, but simply by underpaying, undervaluing, and overworking women so shamefully that the poorest of them are forced to resort to prostitution to keep body and soul together."
Mrs. Warren’s Profession reunites director Near and Bay Area favorite Stacy Ross as the eponymous title character; the two collaborated earlier on another Shaw comedy, Major Barbara, with Ms. Ross as the feisty heroine. Anna Bullard makes her Cal Shakes debut as the headstrong Vivie Warren, fresh from her critically-acclaimed portrayal of Judith in Equivocation at Marin Theatre Company. Also appearing are Cal Shakes Associate Artists Dan Hiatt as Mr. Praed and Andy Murray as Sir George Crofts, Rod Gnapp as the Reverend Samuel Gardner, and Richard Thieriot as Frank Gardner.
Working alongside Near to create the Shavian-inspired environs of country cottages and London offices is a quartet of talented designers: Erik Flatmo (set design), who created the gorgeously evocative set for Cal Shakes’  Uncle Vanya, among others; Associate Artist Meg Neville (costume design), whose work has been seen off-Broadway, regionally and locally, including Cal Shakes’ season opener Pastures of Heaven and Berkeley Rep/Centre Theater Group’s In the Wake; York Kennedy (lighting design) who has lit countless Bay Area and regional theater productions, including Cal Shakes’ Pastures of Heaven, Uncle Vanya and Happy Days; and Jeff Mockus (sound design), returning from two recent Noel Coward outings: Cal Shakes’ Private Lives and Center Rep’s A Marvelous Party.

Subscriptions and single tickets are on sale now for our 2010 season. Prices range from $34–$70, with discounts available for seniors, students, persons age 30 and under, and groups. Prices, dates, and artists subject to change. Click or call 510.548.9666 to purchase.

Oakland Tech’s Marcus Thompson performs Hamlet: Blood in the Brain Monologue for $10k Scholarship Win  6.10.10

Earlier this week, Jo Schuman Silver, producer of Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon, announced three Bay Area high school winners of The Steve Silver Foundation & Beach Blanket Babylon Scholarship for the Arts. Marcus Thompson, who played H in Oakland Technical High School’s production of Naomi Iizuka’s Hamlet: Blood in the Brain, performed a monologue from the play—which Cal Shakes helped develop with Intersection for the Arts/Campo Santo back in 2004–06—to take home the Acting category prize, $10,000 toward his college education. Out of nine finalists who performed in the live competition at Club Fugazi, the other two winners were Alexandria "Lexi" Viernes (Dance) from Half Moon Bay High School in Half Moon Bay performing to "I Dreamed a Dream” and Rachel Davoren (Voice) from San Marin High School in Novato performing "When I Look at You" from The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Congratulations to Thompson and the other scholarship winners! On Monday, July 26, Jessa Berkner’s Oakland Tech Advanced Drama students will perform Hamlet: Blood in the Brain in its entirety on the Bruns Amphitheater stage. Watch our website in the coming weeks for more details.

To read more about the scholarship competition and awards ceremony, click here For more information on Cal Shakes’ role in developing Blood in the Brain through our New Works/New Communities program, click here.

Students Celebrate California History at Cal Shakes  4.29.10

Student Matinee
Student Discovery Matinee; photo by Jay Yamada

Student Discovery Matinees of John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven on Tuesday, June 8 and Thursday, 10 offer unique educational opportunities for Bay Area students to experience, in a brand-new way, the work of California’s native son.

California history is largely the story of people coming here to fulfill their dreams. For this world-premiere play, award-winning San Francisco playwright Octavio Solis has adapted John Steinbeck’s early novel The Pastures of Heaven, bearing witness to a group of comic and heartbreaking characters in search of happiness in the seemingly idyllic landscape of Steinbeck’s own Salinas Valley in the 1920s and ’30s.

Students will have an extraordinary chance to take in a brand-new work by an extraordinary group of native California artists—including director Jonathan Moscone, collaborative partners Word for Word Performing Arts Company, and some of the Bay Area’s most gifted and beloved actors—reflecting on our legacy and our future. 
Click for complete details.

Cast and Creative Team Announced for John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven 4.22.10

John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven—running June 2–27 at the Bruns Amphitheater—is an adaptation of Steinbeck's beautifully rendered early novel, a collection of interrelated short stories, rich in the feeling for the land and for the hardworking people so characteristic of his work. In these beautifully crafted, funny, poignant vignettes, Steinbeck charts the highs and lows of a close-knit farming community in a lush California valley. Our world-premiere adaptation was written specifically for our stage by Octavio Solis, and developed in collaboration with Word for Word Performing Arts Company.  Jonathan Moscone will direct.

Creating the 40+ inhabitants of Steinbeck’s idyllic valley will be an ensemble of some of the Bay Area’s finest actors: Cal Shakes Associate Artists Catherine Castellanos (Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night), Julie Eccles (An Ideal Husband, King Lear), Dan Hiatt (Uncle Vanya, Man and Superman), and Andy Murray (The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, As You Like It); and Word for Word Artistic Director JoAnne Winter and company member Amy Kossow. Also included are Rod Gnapp, last seen in A.C.T.’s Caucasian Chalk Circle, and Charles Shaw Robinson, who played Shagspeare in Marin Theatre Company’s recent production of Equivocation. Richard Thieriot, best remembered as Demetrius in Cal Shakes’ 2009 sold-out production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and recent A.C.T. MFA graduates Tobie L. Windham and Emily Kitchens round out the company.

Moscone has assembled a team of talented designers to evoke Steinbeck’s Salinas Valley in the Siesta Valley of the Bruns Amphitheater: Annie Smart (set design), whose work has been seen on stages from the UK to Broadway to numerous Bay Area theaters including Cal Shakes’ productions of An Ideal Husband, Man and Superman, and Private Lives; Associate Artist Meg Neville (costume design), whose work has been seen off-Broadway, regionally and locally , most recently for the Berkeley Rep/Centre Theater Group world premiere of Lisa Kron’s In the Wake; York Kennedy (lighting design) who has lit countless Bay Area and regional theater productions, including Cal Shakes’ Uncle Vanya and Happy Days; Obadiah Eaves (composer), whose soundscapes were heard in the Broadway productions of The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Come Back Little Sheba, and the current production of Collected Stories, and Erika Chong Shuch (movement), resident artist at Intersection for the Arts and recipient of Gerbode Foundation’s Emerging Choreographers Award.

Subscriptions are on sale now for our 2010 season. Single tickets for John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven go on sale May 3 and range from $34–$70, with discounts available for seniors, students, persons age 30 and under, and groups. Prices, dates, and artists subject to change.

California Shakespeare Theater’s Board Welcomes New Members 4.21.10

We are proud to announce the recent election of four Bay Area business leaders to our board of directors.

Joe Carberry is currently President, Western Region at MS&L Worldwide, a global communications firm. Previously he served as Head of Global Public Affairs at Visa Inc. Joe earned a BA in Journalism from San Diego State University-California State University, and an MBA from Pepperdine University, The George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management.

Tony Kallingal is Vice President and Regional Manager of the Diablo Region retail division for Mechanics Bank. A native of Guam, Tony received his undergraduate degree from St. Mary’s College in Moraga and is currently pursuing his M.B.A. Tony and his wife, Desare, have an 18-month-old daughter, Ella Rose, and live in San Ramon.

Richard Norris is a Partner in the firm of Archer Norris in Walnut Creek, where he formerly served as Managing Partner. He is a graduate of UCLA, and received his law degree from Hastings College of the Law. Rick and his partner, David Madsen, are engaged in numerous social and political endeavors, from Democratic Party political action to LGBT rights. Rick has two sons, Graham and Brian, who are professional actors, currently pursuing stage careers in Los Angeles.

Paul L. “Buddy” Warner is a Partner with the firm of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Marmaro LLP in San Francisco, and was named one of the Top Attorneys in Business Litigation, by Super Lawyers -Corporate Counsel Edition, 2009. Buddy graduated from University of California, Riverside Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.

The new board members join other influential local leaders as they prepare for Cal Shakes’ upcoming 36th season, one which will include the company’s first world premiere in more than 25 years; the celebration of Jonathan Moscone’s tenth anniversary as Cal Shakes’ artistic director; and the completion of phase one of a capital campaign which will culminate in the unveiling of a new 7000+ square foot Patron and Artists Center at the Bruns Amphitheater in June.

The current board officers and members include: David Goldsmith, President; Edward F. Del Beccaro, Vice President; Jonathan Moscone, Vice President; Susie Falk, Vice President; John Ruskin, Secretary; Frank Starn, Treasurer; Jim Roethe, Immediate Past President; and Sharon Simpson, Past President. Directors include: Simon Baker, CEO and President of Baker Avenue Asset Management; Terry Bush, principal at Cambridge CM; Phil Chernin, business consultant; Joshua Cohen, attorney; Joe Di Prisco, author; Maria Eberle, realtor; Sonny Hanson, yoga instructor and sportswear designer; Mike Ross, retired senior vice president of Safeway, Inc.; Alan Schnur, leader of The Schnur Consulting Group; Jean Simpson, educator; Kate Stechschulte, residential architect, and Jay Yamada, civic leader.

John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven Events in April & May 4.9.10

Our 2010 season is just over the horizon, as is the very first-ever new work to premiere at the Bruns Amphitheater: John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven, adapted by Octavio Solis and developed by Cal Shakes and Word for Word Performing Arts Company, and directed by Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone. As this world premiere nears, we’re offering a quartet of events to provide you with context, conversation, and the ever-desirable sneak peek.

Cal Shakes Literary Society: John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven
Tuesday, April 13, 7–9pm
Lafayette Library & Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette

This isn’t just a class—it’s an opportunity to delve into each play from textual and production perspectives through discussion, study, and socializing, led by Cal Shakes Resident Dramaturg Philippa Kelly. Seeing the productions will be even more illuminating when you can chart the journey from text to stage. In this first session, explore John Steinbeck’s Pastures of Heaven; click here for the dates of the other three sessions, and for registration information. $45 per session or $150 for all four.

An Evening with Cal Shakes and Charles Beauclerk
—A Benefit at Rakestraw Books

Wednesday, April 14, 6pm
522 Hartz Ave, Danville

Our friends at Rakestraw are hosting a truly literary evening, with proceeds benefiting the Cal Shakes In-School Residency program. Cal Shakes Associate Artist Dan Hiatt and Word for Word company member Amy Kossow will read a sneak-preview scene from John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven, playwright Octavio Solis will be in attendance, and Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone—who is directing the production—will be on hand to talk about our upcoming season and the work Cal Shakes does in classrooms and in the community. This special event will also feature a presentation by acclaimed author and historian Charles Beauclerk (Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom: The True History of Shakespeare and Elizabeth). Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Tickets are $20, and reservations are strongly encouraged. Call Rakestraw Books at 925.837.7337 to make a reservation.

Steinbeck Night at the Lafayette Library & Learning Center
Tuesday, April 20, 7–8:30pm
3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette

Join Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone, playwright Octavio Solis, and Word for Word Artistic Director JoAnne Winter for a lively conversation about the process of adapting John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven for the stage, moderated by theater reporter Chad Jones. The event, part of Cal Shakes’ participation in the Glenn Seaborg Learning Consortium, is free and open to the public. No reservation is required; seating is limited, first-come, first-served. Call 510.809.3290 for more information.

Cal Shakes and Word for Word in Salinas
Friday, April 30 & Saturday, May 1

Various Locations

As April turns into May, California Shakespeare Theater and Word for Word Performing Arts Company will again travel south to Salinas, where our upcoming world-premiere play, John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven,is set. We'll be hosting a variety of events that reflect the diversity of Salinas' communities, and the relationships we grew over the last three years through the multifaceted approach of our New Works/New Communities development process.

Our events begin Friday, April 30 with a Word for Word workshop at Studio Theater, the Western Stage at Hartnell College from 10–11:30am. Word for Word Artistic Director JoAnne Winter will demonstrate for Hartnell students Word for Word’s “page to stage” method of bringing literature to life through theater.  Then, from 4–5pm, again at Studio Theater, Winter and Cal Shakes Director of Artistic Learning Trish Tillman will introduce classroom educators to arts-integrated teaching during a Pastures of Heaven Teacher’s Guide coffee chat. The day will culminate with John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven: A Window on the Work, 7:30–9pm at The National Steinbeck Center. Members of Word for Word will perform a staged reading of selected scenes from Octavio Solis’ script, followed by a Q&A panel with Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone, playwright Solis, and Word for Word’s Winter.

On Saturday, May 1, Cal Shakes celebrates the work of the student artists at the Alisal Center for the Fine Arts, who have been hard at work these past months creating a 40-foot mural depicting the stories from Steinbeck’s book. From 10am–2pm, the artists and their teachers will open Alisal’s doors to the public for an all-Spanish event that will include a demonstration of mural painting, a reading from the original book, and more. Soon after, their mural will be transported to Orinda for display at our Bruns Amphitheater during the world-premiere run of our new play.

For more information on these events contact Daunielle Rasmussen, or 510.548.3422 x133. Please note: The Word for Word workshop at Studio Theater is for Hartnell students only; all other events are open to the public. The Alisal event will be conducted entirely in Spanish.

 John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven Inside Scoop
Monday, May 17, 6:30pm

Please note new location: Santa Maria Church, 40 Santa Maria Way, Orinda
You know the season is on its way when the first Inside Scoop comes along! These popular, free events feature a panel of cast members, designers, director, and dramaturg, providing context and off-the-cuff insight halfway through their rehearsal process. Seating is limited; please arrive early. Free tickets are handed out at the door beginning at 6:30pm and the event itself begins at 7pm. Complimentary ice cream and Peet’s coffee and tea will be served.
Subscription packages for our landmark 2010 season are on sale now. Order yours today to be ensure you'll get the best seat possible for Jonathan Moscone's 10th anniversary, the first-ever world premiere at the Bruns, and the grand opening of our stunning, sustainable new Patron and Artist Center!

California Shakespeare Theater’s Annual Gala, La Dolce Vita, Raises More Than $530,000, Shattering All Previous Records 3.25.10

Gala 2010
Board member Maria Eberle and her husband, Peter, dance to The CoolTones at our 15th annual gala; photo by Drew Altizer.

Surrounded by friends, family, and colleagues from the East Bay, San Francisco and Marin, California Shakespeare Theater’s Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone was truly the man of the hour at La Dolce Vita, Cal Shakes’ 15th annual gala on Saturday, March 20, 2010. The event, honorarily co-chaired by Ann and Gordon Getty and Barclay and Sharon Simpson, celebrated 10 years of Moscone’s artistic leadership of the company, with the proceeds raised going to Cal Shakes’ work onstage, in classrooms and throughout communities.

San Francisco’s elegant Four Seasons hotel, its hallways lined with exquisite costumes from Cal Shakes productions, provided a breathtakingly dramatic setting for the sold-out crowd of 435 guests, who mingled amidst the beautifully designed décor, supervised by gala committee member Julie Landres, and lit by York Kennedy and Got Light. Feasting on scrumptious hors d’oeuvres, with spirits courtesy of Stockholm Krystal Vodka, guests bid on silent auction items from vacations to wines, assembled by auction chair Jean Simpson.

After the guests made their way into the candle-lit ballroom to the swing music of the CoolTones, Master of Ceremonies Danny Scheie kicked off the evening by hilariously, and touchingly, honoring Moscone’s 10-year tenure. Managing Director Susie Falk then invited Jonathan to the stage to receive his unexpected gift from the Cal Shakes Board of Directors; to the surprise and delight of the crowd, Board President David Goldsmith announced that the green room at the Theater’s new Patron and Artists Center at the Bruns Amphitheater would be named for Moscone.

”I am so unbelievably grateful to be a part of this organization, and to have been honored for the work we’ve done over the last 10 years.” says Moscone. “This is all due to an extraordinarily dedicated staff and board; a community of artists and teachers who enact our mission with passion and talent; and our community of supporters in the East Bay, San Francisco, Marin, and beyond, who make our work possible. It was in every respect, a perfect evening.”

Following the sumptuous meal provided by the Four Seasons, with wine provided by Pine Ridge Vineyards, came time for the tributes. “When I met Jonathan, it was love at first sight!”, exclaimed board member and gala honorary co-chair Sharon Simpson – one of many well-wishers whose fond recollections of Jon and his impact on Cal Shakes were captured on video, including Associate Artists James Carpenter and L. Peter Callender, Berkeley Rep Artistic Director Tony Taccone, and playwright Octavio Solis, author of Cal Shakes’ upcoming world premiere production, John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven, which will be directed by Moscone.

Among the guests were Willie Brown and Sonya Molodetskaya, Carole Shorenstein Hays and Dr. Jeffrey P. Hays, Tony Taccone, Wilkes Bashford, Gina Moscone, Sharon and Barclay Simpson, Ellen and Joffa Dale, Jeannette Etheredge, Peter Read, Frank and Carey Starn, Christopher and Linda Moscone, Simon and Allese Baker, Harvey and Gail Glasser, Dale Djerassi, Dorka Keehn, and Francesca Vietor. Also there to celebrate Cal Shakes: William Taggert, Phil and Chris Chernin, Ed and Denise Del Beccaro, Kate Stechschulte and David Cost, Nina and David Bond, Joe Di Prisco and Patti James, Jeff and Janie Green, Anne and Marshall Grodin, Sunne and John McPeak, Melinda Yee Franklin and Dennis Franklin, Jo Alice and Wayne Canterbury, Tom Kelley, Leslie Thieriot, Arline Klatte and Jon Ennis, Jerry and Kim Overaa, Debbie Chinn, Phillipa Kelly and Paul Dresher, and David and Diane Goldsmith.

The evening’s auctions, wine raffle drawing, ticket sales, and donations shattered the Theater’s previous fundraising record, by bringing in more than $530,000 to support Cal Shakes’ artistic and educational programming. The “Fund-a-Need” appeal single-handedly garnered $130,000 to bring Shakespeare and the classics to underserved youth throughout the Bay Area.

The evening was made possible in part through the generosity of City National Bank, John Muir Health, Mechanics Bank, Overaa Construction, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Pine Ridge Vineyards, Rakestraw Books, Safeway, San Francisco Magazine, Simpson Strong Tie, and Stockholm Krystal Vodka.

California Shakespeare Theater’s
La Dolce Vita
is sold out

We are completely sold out for our 15th annual fundraising bash, La Dolce Vita, to be held Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 6pm at the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco. The evening, featuring a stellar gala committee led by honorary co-chairpersons Ann & Gordon Getty and Barclay & Sharon Simpson, is inspired by the classic Fellini film and will celebrate the “sweet theatrical life” of Jonathan Moscone as he embarks on his 10th anniversary as Cal Shakes Artistic Director.

Online bidding has begun for the majority of the auction catalog, which includes: golf at the legendary Olympic Club; an abalone feed served fresh in your home; lunch and tour for six at the Napa Valley Reserve, including wine tasting with Meadowood master sommelier Gilles de Chambre; a rare bottle of A Hardy Cognac valued at $12,000; a seven-night stay at Casa Alegria in Costa Rica; an unforgettable dinner party for 20 at the legendary Getty Mansion; a private, two-hour walking tour of Oliver Ranch; a day sail on the Bay to watch the Blue Angels; trip to Seattle complete with sky box tickets to a Seattle Sounders soccer game where you’ll party with the players and coaches; two-night B&B package at the Four Seasons San Francisco; romantic three-night stay in Hawaii; VIP seats at Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza with airfare and hotel; a walk-on role in full costume and make-up designed by the Cal Shakes production team during our 2010 season; a picnic and private sky-gazing at Saint Mary’s Observatory; backyard movie party with 21-foot inflatable movie screen; and dinner at French Laundry with personal reservation service; to name but a few. Other live auction items not included in online bidding are stays at a private, terraced estate in Italy and a 16th-century chateau in France’s Loire Valley.

The gala is at the core of the company’s annual fundraising campaigns and over the years has garnered more than $2.8 million in support of the Theater’s artistic and education programming. The company’s 2010 season begins June 2 with the world premiere of John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven, adapted by Octavio Solis and directed by Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone.

Click here to bid on the online auction, which is open through Friday, March 19, 2010 at 5pm.

For more information, call Special Events Coordinator Beth Sandefur at 510.548.422 x125 or visit

Hamlet: Blood in the Brain Wows Oakland Tech.

Hamlet Blood in the Brain
Jonathan Moscone, Marcus Thompson, Keyera Lucas-Evans, Kenya Hall, Gareth Tidball, and Ryan Nicole Peters; photo by Jay Yamada.

On Monday, March 1, Cal Shakes partnered with Oakland Technical High School for an inspiring and enlightening Hamlet: Blood in the Brain event. Approximately 75 people—Oakland Tech parents, teachers, and students, Cal Shakes patrons, and Oakland residents—came out to see Jessa Berkner’s extraordinary cast perform excerpts from their American High School Theatre Festival award-winning production of Blood in the Brain. The play, which Cal Shakes developed with playwright Naomi Iizuka and Campo Santo between 2004 and 2006, relocates Shakespeare’s classic tale to the drug-ravaged streets of 1989 Oakland. “As Donald (Lacey), Ryan (Nicole Peters), and I sat there watching these teenage actors speak Naomi's words,” says Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone, “we all felt the same feelings of awe, at the sheer talent and bravery of the actors' work; and pride, in this powerful, poetic piece that we all made together with such love and passion and purpose.“ If enough funds are raised, Oakland Tech will bring their stunning, brash production to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer.

After the performances, there was an illuminating panel comprising Moscone (director of the original Cal Shakes production), actor Donald Lacey and actor/writer Ryan Nicole Peters (who appeared in the original production and contributed considerably to the play’s development), Oakland Tech drama teacher Berkner, student actors Kenya Hall, Keyera Lucas-Evans, Marcus Thompson, Gareth Tidball, and Cal Shakes Resident Dramaturg Philippa Kelly. Along with enthusiastic kudos from the first production’s actors to the younger ones, discussion centered around life in Oakland then and now, Shakespeare’s language versus modern catch phrases, and the acting process.

The Oakland Tech production, says Moscone, “has struck so many chords within Cal Shakes that we are inspired to create a long-term relationship with Oakland Tech, and are re-energized in expanding the life of our new works project and the community relationships that have been created through them.” Cal Shakes will be holding its first-ever Oakland Tech classroom residencies this spring, and plans are being made for expanding this relationship even further.

Hamlet: Blood in the Brain Journeys from Oakland to Edinburgh 2.19.10

Hamlet Blood in the Brain
Marcus Thompson as H and Kenya Hall as G in Oakland Tech's production of Hamlet: Blood in the Brain; Photo by Jessa Berkner.

When California Shakespeare Theater embarked on its New Works/New Communities initiative back in 2004, no one dreamed that the project’s first new play, Hamlet: Blood in the Brain—having culminated in Oakland following a sold-out run by Campo Santo at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco—would someday play on an international stage.

But five years later, the Advanced Drama Department at Oakland Technical High School chose Naomi Iizuka’s gritty reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet to the drug-ravaged streets of 1980s Oakland as their entry in the American High School Theatre Festival. Not only did they win the Festival, but they also earned the right to perform their production at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2010.

Now, to deepen the experience of Oakland Tech’s thespians and their community as they prepare a series of performances around the Bay Area in advance of their overseas trip, Cal Shakes is working with Oakland Tech on a free community event on Monday, March 1, 6:30–8pm at Oakland Tech Auditorium. The event will include Blood in the Brain excerpts performed by the students and a panel discussion and Q&A featuring actors from both the original Cal Shakes/Intersection co-production of Blood in the Brain and the recent Oakland Tech performances, moderated by Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone. An informal reception will follow.

Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone says, “I am so happy that teacher and director Jessa Berkner and her students at Oakland Tech are bringing Naomi’s brilliant play to life for new audiences throughout Oakland, the Bay Area, and abroad. This is a play about Oakland, created in collaboration with members of Oakland’s many communities. And it connects Shakespeare to their lives in palpable ways that deepen the connection between the classics and the lives of young people today. I couldn’t have hoped for a better realization of this, the first project of our New Works/New Communities program.”

Hamlet: Blood in the Brain was the first play I took my students to see when I came to Oakland Tech to build the Performing Arts program three-and-a-half years ago,” says Oakland Tech drama teacher and Hamlet: Blood in the Brain director Jessa Berkner. “It was the perfect introduction to theater for students who mostly had never seen a play before ... academic and relevant, universal and personal, classic and modern, poetic and familiar. It is fitting that we have come full circle, having grown the theater program from 15 students to 150, taking the play we first experienced forward, as performers now, to the Edinburgh Fringe.”

The partnership between Cal Shakes and Oakland Tech will continue beyond Hamlet: Blood in the Brain, beginning with a first-ever classroom residency that will feature a Twelfth Night curriculum with Berkner’s advanced drama students. A second spring residency is in the works, too, wherein a ninth-grade English class will study John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven, by Octavio Solis—yet another New Works/New Communities project, and the first world premiere commission for the Cal Shakes’ Main Stage (opening June 2010).

“I am so grateful that an organization such as Cal Shakes had the foresight and funding to engage the community-based process of development with the gifted Naomi Iizuka and Campo Santo,” Berkner says. “This work proves the long-lasting impact of multilayered artistic collaborations.”

For more information about Hamlet: Blood in the Brain at Oakland Technical High School, contact Cal Shakes Artistic Learning Program Manager Emily Morrison at 510.548.3422 x127 or

This event is underwritten through generous support from The James Irvine Foundation.

2010 Summer Shakespeare Conservatory

Click here to download a pdf of the Shakespeare Summer Conservatory brochure

Registration is open for
Summer Shakespeare Conservatory 
California Shakespeare Theater is now accepting registrations for students between the ages of 8 and 18 for its 2010 Summer Shakespeare Conservatory. This year, in addition to the regular five-week and two-week sessions in Lafayette and Oakland, the Conservatory is branching out to include its first-ever, four-week session at Saint Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, alma mater of Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone. There will be two open houses to provide interested students and their parents the opportunity to meet the Conservatory faculty, see the campuses, and ask questions; the first open house will be at Bentley Upper School in Lafayette, February 16 from 6:30pm to 8pm, and the second will be at Saint Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco, February 23 from 6:30pm to 8pm.

Cal Shakes Summer Shakespeare Conservatory is rooted in the same passion for artistic exploration that guides Cal Shakes’ Main Stage productions. Working with professional teaching artists, Conservatory students spend the morning studying acting, voice physical comedy, stage combat, movement, improvisation, text, and more; afternoons are spent in rehearsal, where all the disciplines come together to create a fully-realized, specially adapted public performance of a Shakespeare play on the final day of the Conservatory.

Dates and times for the San Francisco four-week Conservatory are Monday-Friday, July 12–August 6, from 9am to 3pm. All classes and performances will be held at Saint Ignatius College Preparatory, 2001 37th Avenue in San Francisco. Tuition is $1,200. There are two sessions available in Lafayette: the five-week Conservatory from June 21–July 24, and the two-week Conservatory from July 26–August 6. All classes and performances will be held at Bentley Upper School, 1000 Upper Happy Valley Rd in Lafayette. Tuition is $1,350 for the five-week Conservatory and $500 for the two-week Conservatory. And once again, Cal Shakes returns to Oakland’s Holy Names High School for the fourth consecutive year to hold its popular two-week Conservatory from June 28–July 9. Tuition is $500.

Enrollment in the four- and five-week Conservatories is dependent on an interview; no audition is required.

Scholarships are available. Shuttle transportation is available for the Oakland and Lafayette sessions; shuttle passes may be purchased with registration for a nominal fee. All Conservatory participants receive complimentary tickets to all Cal Shakes productions, with season subscriptions available at half-price for family members.

For more information or to register, click, call Ava Jackson, Artistic Learning Coordinator, at 510.809.3293, or email

Cal Shakes Receives two-year grant from Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation 2.5.10

As we prepare to embark on our groundbreaking 36th season, this week we announced that we have received a two-year, $60,000 grant from the Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, awarded to support the Theater’s ongoing operations, plus a capital investment of $100,000 toward Phase I of an ambitious plan to reinvigorate the Bruns Amphitheater as a permanent, sustainable, and welcoming home for our artists and audiences.
“We are so grateful to the Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation for their generous support of Cal Shakes,” commented Managing Director Susie Falk. “2010 is a landmark year for Cal Shakes, with our first commissioned world premiere scheduled to open on our main stage, the 10th anniversary of Jonathan Moscone’s artistic leadership, and the scheduled completion this summer of the first phase of our construction project, Building for the Future. With this award, the Lesher Foundation reaffirms its leadership in supporting significant cultural institutions in the East Bay.”
The Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation has been a vital partner in Cal Shakes’ emergence as a cultural force in the Bay Area arts scene. Since 1998, the Foundation’s generous ongoing support has nourished the company’s artistic vibrancy, and enabled us to serve our audiences in three fundamental and distinct ways: through a body of critically acclaimed and theatrically innovative Main Stage work; the formalization in 2001 of arts education activities through our Artistic Learning program; and the launch of our pioneering New Works/New Communities program in 2003, whose most recent project, an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven, will open the 2010 Main Stage season. Since 1994, the Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $40 million and reaching citizens in all parts of Contra Costa County. True to the original wishes of Dean and Margaret Lesher, the Foundation continues to build on the strengths of the community by supporting organizations and programs that provide help and support to people in need; enhance and enrich the lives of all citizens; and promote a healthy and exciting future for the community.

Honoring Jonathan Moscone’s 10th Anniversary
at Our Annual Gala

Our 15th annual fundraising bash, La Dolce Vita, will be held Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 6pm at the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco. The evening, featuring a stellar gala committee led by honorary co-chairpersons Ann & Gordon Getty and Barclay & Sharon Simpson, is inspired by the classic Fellini film and will celebrate the “sweet theatrical life” of Jonathan Moscone as he embarks on his 10th anniversary as Cal Shakes Artistic Director.
In his decade of visionary leadership, Jonathan Moscone has continued to raise the bar for theatrical excellence and impact in Bay Area communities, and was recently awarded the inaugural Zelda Fichandler Award for “transforming the regional arts landscape through his singular creativity and artistry in theater.”
La Dolce Vita will begin with a silent auction and cocktail reception featuring a vodka bar by Stockholm Krystal, followed by an elegant dinner with wine provided by Pine Ridge Vineyards, live auction, and dancing to swing classics and contemporary tunes with the CoolTones Big Band. Some of the spectacular auction items include: a day sail on the Bay to watch the Blue Angels; stays in Italy, Morro Bay, and Stinson Beach; two-night B&B package at the Four Seasons San Francisco; walking tour for 10 at Geyserville Ranch; VIP seats at Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza with airfare and hotel; a walk-on role in full costume and make-up designed by the Cal Shakes production team during our 2010 season; hosted dinner parties at the Getty Mansion, a firehouse, and more; and dinner at French Laundry with personal reservation service; to name but a few.

La Dolce Vita tickets are now on sale and begin at $325. To order tickets call 510.548.422 x125 or click Click here to read the complete press release.

2009 Year-End Press Round-Up

The following is a round-up of Cal Shakes’ year-end critical nods.

In his list of the decade's 10 most notable Bay Area theater developments, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Robert Hurwitt lauded the “California Shakespeare Theater renaissance,” writing that Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone infused Cal Shakes “with artistic excitement and made it one of the most important Shakespeare festivals on the West Coast. His Twelfth Night, opening within days of 9/11, remains one of the most luminous productions of the decade." Hurwitt also named Cal Shakes Associate Artist James Carpenter 2009's "MVP”, citing his performances in our Romeo and Juliet as well as roles at Berkeley Rep, A.C.T., San Jose Rep, and others.

On the San Jose Mercury News’ A+E Interactive blog, critic Karen D’Souza named Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, directed by Moscone, one of her favorite productions of the year. The critics of the San Francisco Bay Times included Happy Days as well as Mark Rucker’s production of Noël Coward’s Private Lives in their best-of lists. The East Bay Express included Happy Days in its list of 2009’s best Bay Area productions, and named Cal Shakes Associate Artist James Carpenter the Bay Area’s “MVP”, lauding his performances in our productions of Richard III, Uncle Vanya, and Romeo and Juliet specifically, and writing that “It's been a gift for East Bay audiences to see him play both young Hal and old Henry in Cal Shakes' Henry IV productions two decades apart.”

Interested in Ushering This Season? 1.20.10

Coordinating the schedules of Cal Shakes' hundreds of volunteers each season is a daunting task, so for 2010 we've made it simpler for you to let us know when you're available and what you're interested in. Cal Shakes has automated its volunteer registration process through Shiftboard, an online scheduling software, to make it easier for you to sign up for your favorite opportunities—ushering at the Bruns; helping with Inside Scoop or Summer Shakespeare Conservatories; or administrative tasks in our Artistic, Education, Marketing, or Development departments. We're asking all our volunteers, past and future, to register online at; once we've received and approved your registration, you'll be able to sign up for assignments that work best with your skills and schedule. PLEASE NOTE: You must register with Shiftboard in order to receive volunteer information and to schedule a shift. For more information about Cal Shakes volunteer opportunities, contact Jamie Buschbaum at 510.548.3422 x101 or

The Board Match 1.7.10

On Tuesday, January 12, Cal Shakes will be at the Volunteer Center’s Board Match event at Moscone Center South recruiting for our Board of Directors. Nonprofits count on volunteers like you to lead them to success. The Board Match is a job-fair style event featuring over 100 Bay Area nonprofits whose leadership—including Cal Shakes Managing Director Susie Falk—will be on hand to talk to interested candidates about serving on their organization’s board of directors. There will be a variety of organizations from large to small, focusing on everything from the environment to arts to youth. Serving on a nonprofit board can provide fantastic opportunities for your personal and professional development. You can build new skills, network, broaden your knowledge of the community, and provide essential skills to community nonprofits. We recommend bringing copies of your résumé and business cards to The Board Match to share with your potential match.
DATE: Tuesday, January 12, 2010
TIME: 4:30–7:30pm
PLACE: Moscone Center South, Howard Street, San Francisco
ADMISSION: Free! Bring your friends!
For news from 2009 click here