• Photos from past Shakespeare by the Sea productions 1st & 3rd image: 2009's "Love’s Labour’s Lost" (photo credit: Mickey Elliot); center: 2009's "As You Like It" (photo credit: Marilyn Edwards)

    For Immediate Release:  March 18, 2011 [updated: 5/9/11]

    Shakespeare by the Sea
    Announces 14th Season
    With Admission-Free Performances of
    Much Ado About Nothing and The Tragedy of King Lear
    June 9 – August 13, 2011
    Throughout Los Angeles and Orange County

    LOS ANGELES, CA – Shakespeare by the Sea (SBTS) announces its 14th season of bringing free Shakespeare performances to the masses in Southern California, opening with the romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing on June 9, 2011 followed one week later, on June 16, with the opening of the ultimate family drama The Tragedy of King Lear. SBTS performances run for 10 weeks throughout Los Angeles and Orange County – over 40 performances in all – beginning with shows in San Pedro at Point Fermin Park from June 9th through July 2nd.  Starting July 6th the troupe hits the road on a tour that will reach a total of 21 public parks in 19 towns – from Pasadena to Laguna Niguel – into August.  The production wraps up back in San Pedro for two grand finale performances on August 12 and 13, 2011.  All performances are in the evening starting at either 7:00pm or 8:00pm.  Audiences are encouraged to gather with friends and family early to dine picnic-style under the stars to make the most of this classic entertainment experience.  Admission is always free!  Learn more at www.shakespearebythesea.org or by calling 310-217-7596.

    Cities on this year’s tour include: Altadena, Beverly Hills (new), El Segundo, Glendale (new), Hermosa Beach, La Crescenta, Laguna Niguel, Lakewood, Long Beach, Manhattan Beach, Newport Beach, Playa Vista, Rancho Palos Verdes (2 parks), Rossmoor, Rowland Heights (2 parks), San Pedro, South Pasadena, Whittier, and three more TBD.  See production schedules, full location information, and times at http://www.shakespearebythesea.org/locations.html.

    “Shakespeare by the Sea creates magical experiences with bewitching performances in idyllic park settings throughout the Greater Los Angeles Area,” says founding member and Producing Artistic Director Lisa Coffi, “We not only attract die-hard fans of The Bard, but all sorts of people – even some who are experiencing their very first play.  We are really proud to bring these amazing plays to such diverse audiences, particularly to those who normally would not be able to afford this type of entertainment.”

    Much Ado About Nothing
    The festive Much Ado About Nothing may very well be the first modern romantic comedy.  The play juxtaposes two very different pairs of lovers – the sweet Claudio and Hero are contrasted with the more experienced (and cynical) Benedick and Beatrice who incessantly proclaim their scorn for love, marriage, and each other – until they are tricked into falling in love.

    The Tragedy of King Lear
    Considered one of the great theatrical masterpieces of all time, The Tragedy of King Lear is a heart-wrenching story of betrayal, intrigue, and family dysfunction. The title character descends into madness after dividing his estate between the two deceitful of his three daughters. The dark play is based on the legend of Leir of Britain, a mythological Celtic king.

    Returning once again to SBTS this year are Directors Amy Louise Sebelius and Stephanie Coltrin, Scenic Designer Aaron Jackson, and Costume Designer Valerie Wright-Blair.

    Amy Louise Sebelius, Director –
    Much Ado About Nothing is directed by Amy Louise Sebelius, a founding member of the Garage Theatre in Long Beach.  Sebelius is no stranger to Shakespeare by the Sea, having performed as Kate in SBTS’s 1999 production of The Taming of the Shrew while earning her BFA in Theater from CSU Long Beach. She is a graduate of the Los Angeles Theatre Academy, and holds an MFA from the University of Alabama where she was involved with Alabama Shakespeare.  She teaches acting, theater history, Shakespeare, and improvisation at the Orange County High School of the Arts, Santa Ana College, Santiago Canyon College, and South Coast Repertory. This will be the third installation of Sebelius’ work featured by SBTS.

    Stephanie Coltrin, Director –
    The Tragedy of King Lear is directed by Stephanie Coltrin who currently serves as the Artistic Director for both the Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities (CLOSBC) and Hermosa Beach Playhouse. After completing her studies in Theatre Arts and Directing at Brigham Young University, Coltrin moved to Los Angeles where she had the pleasure of creating theater in every capacity – as a producer, production manager, stage manager, and designer – for various theaters all over town including the Odyssey, Tiffany, Hudson, Blank, and Tamarind Theatres, LATC, Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare, Reprise, McCoy Rigby, and many others. Coltrin is an Ovation Award-winning Artistic Director and Ovation-nominated Director for CLOSBC’s production of Miss Saigon, which won “Best Musical of the Year” in 2009.  This is Coltrin’s second year directing a challenging drama for SBTS.

    Aaron Jackson, Scenic Designer –
    SBTS’s veteran Scenic Designer, Aaron Jackson, returns for his seventh season to create designs that enhance the outdoor performance spaces for the productions. Jackson has the additional challenge of creating a scenic design that will work for both of the alternating plays. He is currently the staff Scenic Artist at UC Irvine/Clair Trevor School of the Arts and has also designed shows in New York, Arizona, Texas, and Georgia.  In addition, he works as an illustrator and concept artist for clients that include Stiletto Entertainment, Cartoon Network, IMAG Productions, and Mercedes-Benz, among others.

    Valerie Wright-Blair, Costume Designer –
    Costume Designer Valerie Wright-Blair is back on board for her eighth season with SBTS.  Wright-Blair graduated from Otis Art Institute and has designed an array of gowns for private clients and celebrities for such high profile events as the Academy Awards® and Emmy® awards.  She has also designed for film and theatre productions including the Westchester Playhouse, Torrance Theatre Company, Little Fish Theatre, and South Bay Civic Light Opera.  Her garments have also appeared in People, National BridalApparel News, and on CNN.

    Shakespeare by the Sea –
    Since 1998, Shakespeare by the Sea has presented quality, admission-free Shakespeare performances in dozens of communities throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties. The free summer festival has become a tradition for thousands of Southern California families. Last year’s attendance reached a record breaking 21,000 total audience members.  Shakespeare by the Sea’s mission is to bring new, contemporary and classic works to an underserved, culturally diverse audience in order to ignite imagination, promote literacy, and encourage artistic expression. Partnerships with local city organizations, as well as generous donations, make these free performances possible.

    For audiences seeking quality, family entertainment, Shakespeare by the Sea’s free performances cannot be beat. The comedies are timeless, the admission ticketless, and the experience priceless.

    This season’s performances are sponsored by Orange County Community Foundation, Union Pacific Railroad, Newport Beach Arts Commission, LA County Supervisor Don Knabe, and LA County Arts Commission.

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    For more information, photos, or interviews, please contact Green Galactic’s Lynn Tejada (née Hasty) at 213-840-1201 or lynn@greengalactic.com.

    Shakespeare by the Sea’s 2008 production of "A Midsummer Night’s Dream;" photo credit: Marilyn Edwards

    Posted on May 8th, 2011 lynn-hasty No comments

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