California Shakespeare Theater Announces 2022 Season With “Romeo y Juliet” and “Lear”

Cal Shakes has announced they will produce two world premiere plays adapted from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and King Lear. The 48th season will begin with Romeo y Juliet running May 25–June 19, 2022 and conclude with Lear running September 7–October 2, 2022.

The bilingual adaptation of Shakespeare’s most beloved play of star-crossed lovers, Romeo y Juliet, is written by Karen Zacarías and will be directed by KJ Sanchez, the director behind the hit Quixote Nuevo that had its world premiere at Cal Shakes in 2018. Romeo y Juliet reimagines the doomed lovers as two daughters of opposing sides set in California during the Spanish Colonial and Mexican rule. Most of the original cast members will return after Romeo y Juliet was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have been longing to work with Cal Shakes again, longing to make art again, longing to be back on that beautiful stage,” said director KJ Sanchez. “I’ve been a huge fan of Karen Zacarías for years and years. The fact that we get to play with a bilingual R Y J makes this production even more dear to my heart. For me, this is the play. This production, this collaborator and this theatre is a dream come true. And it keeps me hanging on each and every day, knowing what we will bring to Bay Area audiences in the spring.”

In the fall, Lear, a modernized version of Shakespeare’s King Lear, will premiere at the Bruns Amphitheater. The adaptation is written by Marcus Gardley, known for black odyssey, a critically-acclaimed production that was on Cal Shakes’ stage two season in a row—2017 and 2018. Lear will be co-directed by Cal Shakes’ Artistic Director Eric Ting and Aurora Theater Company’s Associate Artistic Director, Dawn Monique Williams.

a man wearing a military uniform stands in the foreground with his arms up in the air and a surprised look on his face. A woman sits in a chair behind him. Stage shot from black odyssey
Marcus Gardley, the playwright behind the hit “black odyssey” (pictured above), is the writer behind “Lear,” premiering in 2022 at Cal Shakes. Photo by Kevin Berne

Cal Shakes describes the production: “Set in San Francisco’s Fillmore District from the eminent domain crisis through to the subsequent displacement of the 1960s, and infused with a jazz score, Gardley’s deeply personal Lear reckons with uncomfortable legacies, with the consequences of our actions, and with the vulnerability and ultimate resilience of the human heart to find its way back again.”

In addition to these two productions, Cal Shakes will continue to share the Bruns Amphitheater with other performing arts organizations as part of the Shared Light Initiative that was launched in 2021. Through the fall and summer of 2022, Cal Shakes will open its stage to a variety of dance performances, special events, and concerts.

“A year without theater challenged us to ask hard questions about our role as a cultural touchstone of our community. And the success of our Season of Shared Light has inspired us to continue a practice of opening our remarkable space to thrilling artists and arts organizations from across the Bay,” said Artistic Director Eric Ting. “Anchored by two vital re-imaginings of iconic classics with beloved Cal Shakes artists familiar and new, next summer is sure to be a dynamic return to live performance under the stars.”


Tickets for Cal Shakes’ 2022 season will go on sale in the spring. Cast, creative teams, and Shared Light partners will be announced at a later date. Dates are subject to change based on COVID-19 protocols and restrictions.

Seattle Shakespeare Company Returns to the Stage With Two Shows in 2022

Seattle Shakespeare Company will return to their indoor stage at Center Theatre with a shortened season that will show Shakespeare: Drum and Colours, February 15–March 13, 2022, and Much Ado About Nothing, April 26–May 22, 2022.

The season will begin in February 2022 with Shakespeare: Drum and Colours. An adaptation of Hamlet and As You Like It, this production will alternate performances and features an all-POC Shakespeare repertory company that includes nine actors, two directors, and an all-POC design team. “Both of these programs were really the brainchild of Lamar Legend, our Diversity Programming Coordinator,” said Artistic Director George Mount. “When he approached me with the idea of a rotating repertory of two plays with an all-POC company, my heart took a leap.”

The season will continue with As You Like It which was originally scheduled to be staged in 2020 when the theatre closed due to COVID 19. The classic Shakespeare comedy will be directed by Allison Narver, who staged the company’s 2017 production of The Government Inspector.

In addition to requiring masks to be worn while in the theatre and vaccinations for all patrons, staff, volunteers and employees, Seattle Shakespeare Company has been busy preparing for guests to safely return. “We’ve been evaluating HVAC systems, lobby traffic patterns, and safety procedures to make sure that patrons will both feel safe and be safe while attending our shows at The Center Theatre,” said Managing Director John Bradshaw. Seattle Shakespeare will not be offering season ticket packages—tickets will be sold individually for each of the two performances. Tickets for Shakespeare: Drum and Colours will go on sale on January 4.

ACT Theatre Names Anita Shah as New Managing Director

The ACT Theatre Board of Trustees has announced that Anita Shah will fill the role of their new Managing Director. Shah will begin the new position beginning on January 3, 2022.

ACT Board Chair Eric Bennett said, “Following our exhaustive search for a Managing Director aligned with the bold mission of ACT Theatre, we are incredibly excited that Anita Shah is joining the ACT family.  Anita’s strong theatrical experience and business acumen will be essential to successfully re-opening ACT for our Spring 2022 season and to realize our ambitious strategic plan in the years to come.”

Shah boasts a long career in the theatre, beginning as a technician and then transitioning into producing and organizational leadership. She will also be bringing a solid venue management background to ACT. Prior to her recent move to Seattle, she worked in New York City on Broadway and with organizations such as Lincoln Center, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, and most recently with Blue Man Group. Shah is a highly experienced, successful, and well-regarded leader in the theatre community.

“ I am excited to be joining the passionate team of theatre-makers at ACT. ACT has a rich history and I am honored to be a part of its ongoing story,” Shah said. “I am grateful to the entire ACT family for such a warm welcome. I look forward to working with such dedicated colleagues as we rethink what it means to make theatre, as we challenge ourselves and our audiences, and find new ways to deepen connections to our community. ”

Artistic Director John Langs added, “In this incredible time of change, we feel very fortunate to welcome Anita Shah. Her passion for the theatre as an art form, her depth and variety of experience and her vision for what this theatre can be, galvanized our search. She is a leader who shares ACT’s values and vision. ”

Shah will be replacing Mary Cadera, who has filled the role of Interim Managing Director. Cadera will remain at ACT through the end of the year and spend time with Shah in January to assist with a smooth transition.

The Performing Arts Guide Debuts in Seattle

We’re excited to announce in partnership with ArtsFund, and with the support from our sponsor Windermere Midtown Collective, the Performing Arts Guide. In addition to highlighting the upcoming performing arts events in the Greater Seattle Area, this publication is a way for us all to celebrate the return to live performances.

For over 50 years, we at Encore have endeavored to connect arts, culture and community. To bring audiences closer to the performances they love, we began producing our flagship product, Encore arts programs, and we haven’t looked back since. In the five decades we have produced programs, Encore has grown to include a suite of other products including this website, Encore Spotlight, and our new digital program platform, Encore+, which offers our same beloved program in a contactless and mobile-friendly format.

The Performing Arts Guide has been published in print and digital formats as a collaborative effort with arts organizations of all kinds throughout the region, outlining the best of dance, theatre, music and more.

Released at a time when most arts organizations are making their long-awaited return to the stage, the Performing Arts Guide gives audiences a peek into the best of the upcoming season. The guide can be used year-round and will act as a memento for this remarkable year.

The beautifully curated print publication will be mailed to subscribers and patrons of the participating arts organizations this Friday. The digital version is ready and available for everyone to enjoy.   

Seattle Opera’s “La Bohème” is a Touching Spectacle for McCaw Hall’s Returning Audiences

Before the curtains rose, they already glistened. As the largely AARP card-valid audience buzzed with excitement, I immediately felt out of place: as an opera virgin with an aversion to high art, I was unsure whether I would enjoy a supposed masterpiece in a form known for its formality. However, despite the libretto’s many flaws, Seattle Opera’s sensational vocalists and sweeping scenic design immersed me in the world of La Bohème, dazzling, delighting, and boring me along the way.

All seven principal performers were thoroughly impressive, though I found myself particularly enamored by Kang Wang’s (Rodolfo) soaring falsettone. While his co-star Keri Alkema’s (Mimì) voice was also strong, it didn’t modulate throughout the course of the show, resulting in her arc feeling underdeveloped. This incited my sour reaction to the ending, in which I (spoiler alert) anxiously awaited her death. Nonetheless, the relatively small ensemble filled the space with Giacomo Puccini’s score, a feat worth celebrating.

I was equally enchanted by the stunning scenery and cleverly integrated lighting—the two worked together to brilliantly recreate natural light via pseudo-windows within the set, producing a sense of depth I’ve seldom seen in theatre. Despite the sheer beauty of these visual elements, they detracted from the artistry and intimacy of the piece—no matter how gorgeous a stage picture is, theatricality should enhance the story or else it distracts from it.

The show follows four struggling artists (Rodolfo, Marcello, Colline, Schaunard) as they navigate lovers (Mimì and Musetta), landlords (Benoît), and tuberculosis. The show’s overly sentimental tone didn’t feel authentic considering the characters’ circumstances. I’d argue this was due to the libretto’s focus on rushed romanticism—for instance, Rudolfo and Mimì meet and proclaim their love for one another in the same scene. Meanwhile, the repetitive nature of Puccini’s score was emotionally numbing, creating a disconnect between the characters and audience. If the show took more time with the plot but moved at a slightly faster pace emotionally, I believe it would’ve strengthened my engagement with the characters.

The Seattle Opera chorus walks among the …stunning scenery and cleverly integrated lighting.” Photo by Philip Newton.

As I navigated a sea of gray hair at intermission, I was curious as to why so many older consumers of art are drawn to a story about the struggles of young adults. I believe this is due to the show’s nostalgic value and absence of irreverence. Even as a teenager, watching the experiences of those younger than me in life and art returns me to a glamorized version of those times. In La Bohème, this is supported by a goofily innocent sense of humor.

However, the show’s exaggerated situational comedy reminded me of a cartoon, which I found peculiar considering the vastly different social contexts and conventions for the art forms—perhaps high and low art are more similar than we’d like to admit and one medium shouldn’t be viewed as more important than the other. Likewise, we should avoid the societal expectation that opera is solely for older or more sophisticated arts consumers—it is a medium that can be appreciated and enjoyed by all ages, so it should be treated as such.

While I believe Rent, a modern adaptation of the show, is a more energetic and relatable portrayal of love, loss, and the pursuit of a creative life, La Bohème’s innocent humor and focus on romanticism successfully presents the story with an undertone of warmth. It’s difficult to determine whether I enjoyed the piece or simply appreciated it, but it’s a spectacle to be reckoned with and a worthy experience nonetheless. In addition, the theme of losing loved ones is more relevant than ever as COVID-19 continues to take lives every day.

In school, we’re asked whether we’re passionate about science or the arts as if the two compete. However, before the show, the artists thanked scientists for helping performing arts return in-person via the COVID-19 vaccines. This demonstrates that the two aren’t mutually exclusive: science allows us to exist; art allows us to live.


La Bohème runs at McCaw Hall through October 30. Tickets are available for purchase online.


Kyle Gerstel is a 14-year-old theatre geek who couldn’t be happier to have found TeenTix in 2020. He’s currently directing an entirely youth-driven production of The Laramie Project and assistant directing a local production of Metamorphoses. When not writing articles for the TeenTix Newsroom, you can find him performing in Youth Theatre Northwest productions, writing comedy songs, or obsessing over Bo Burnham.

This article was written on special assignment for Encore Spotlight through the TeenTix Press Corps, a program that promotes critical thinking, communication and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. TeenTix is a youth empowerment and arts access nonprofit. 

Theater of Possibility Makes the Original Musical “Abraham’s Land” Available on Demand

Abraham’s Land, an original musical with words by playwright Lauren Goldman Marshall and music by Pulitzer-nominated composer Roger Ames, is now available on demand for audiences to enjoy from home. Now through October 31, you can purchase tickets to view the edited livestreamed performance provided by Theater of Possibility.

Don’t miss your chance to see the musical that audience members are saying is “…a true work of (he)art and soul” (Coni Pursley) and “…so very timely, not to mention beautiful” (Gail vonHahmann). Abraham’s Land follows an Israeli soldier, Sergeant Yitzhak, during the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the First Intifada. After Yitzhak fatally shoots a Palestinian, Ismail, who he believed to be a threat, he discovers Ismail was an unarmed demonstrator. Filled with guilt, Yitzhak travels to Gaza to ask for forgiveness from Ismail’s family. Yitzhak disguises himself as a Palestinian for his journey, experiencing the humanity of the Palestinians and coming to terms with his own.  

This musical about humanity and forgiveness had its world premiere at Kirkland Performance Center July 15–18, 2021 as the first live theatre production to open after COVID-19 restrictions allowed in Washington state. The performances were also livestreamed to audiences in 37 states and across six countries.

The musical began its production history 30 years ago as a Jewish-Arab collaboration between writer Lauren Goldman Marshall, composer David Nafissian and director Hanna Eady. In 1999 the script was further developed at Seeds of Peace International Camp by Marshall with the help of Israeli and Palestinian teens. Abraham’s Land was workshopped at Village Theatre and Nautilus Music-Theatre in Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

The edited livestream will be available for on demand purchase through October 31. Tickets are pay-what-you-can, ranging from $1 to $100, with a suggested purchase price of $25. Abraham’s Land was produced by Theater of Possibility and Abraham’s Land Musical, LLC.

View a song from the live performance:

Excerpt from “My Very First Orange,” a song from the Theater of Possibility’s production of Abraham’s Land.

San Francisco Opera Will Livestream Performances of “Fidelio” for $25

San Francisco Opera is bringing the drama and energy of live opera directly to audiences’ living rooms with a livestream of Beethoven’s Fidelio for three performances.

While live performances have returned to the stage and audiences are welcomed back to the seats, the digital performances that we have come to know in the past year and a half are not disappearing altogether. Arts organizations like SF Opera are ensuring their patrons can view performances in any way they feel comfortable, whether that be at the War Memorial Opera House or at home, by making their upcoming production of Fidelio available to livestream for just $25.

The performances on October 14, 17 and 20 will be available to livestream on desktop, mobile or tablet devices. As the performance will be livestreamed, audiences will not be able to pause, stop, rewind, or watch on demand—it truly will be a live performance, with all the thrill that comes with one.

Ludwig Van Beethoven’s only operatells the story of a woman who disguises herself as a young man to infiltrate the prison where her husband is being kept by a political rival. Fidelio boasts a strong female lead and plenty of excitement. This brand-new production by director Matthew Ozawa brings the 19th-century opera into the modern era with a staging reflecting 21st-century incarceration.

So starting popping the popcorn, put on your slippers, and pick the comfiest spot on the couch to settle in for a night at the opera, at home.


San Francisco Opera’s Fidelio will run October 14–30, 2021 at the War Memorial Opera House. The livestream will be available for the performances on October 14, 17 and 20.

Forums at TownHall Seattle Will Give Candidates a Platform to Share Their Cultural Plans for the Region

Two candidates’ forums hosted by Inspire Washington will provide general election contenders the opportunity to outline their plans for restoring, supporting and expanding the region’s cultural arts, heritage, and natural science fields. 

Broadcasting from TownHall Seattle, the Seattle Cultural Candidate Forum will be held on October 4 at 7 p.m., for a livestreamed audience and will feature Seattle Mayoral Candidates M. Lorena González and Bruce Harrell, City Council Candidates Teresa Mosqueda, Kenneth Wilson, Nikkita Oliver and Sara Nelson. Seattle School Board candidates will also answer questions from the event’s two moderators, Marcie Sillman and Vivian Phillips.

Questions for the candidates were prepared by a diverse array of cultural leaders to focus on specific needs and areas for growth. The forum will feature performances from local artists between moderated sessions with the candidates.

“Washington’s arts and cultural sector has been pummeled by the pandemic yet remains a critical engine for our economy and the catalyst for reconnecting communities after more than a year of social distancing mandates,” Manny Cawaling, Executive Director of Inspire Washington said. “Here in King County, there are hundreds of cultural organizations doing exemplary work to withstand the mandated closures and restrictions brought about by COVID-19 and assist the artists who make this region such a vibrant place to live. Beyond economic statistics, our programming nurtures growth and strengthens communities. We make a difference and communities are counting on us to restore programming. We are excited to host these forums for voters to gain new insights and to challenge every candidate to be a cultural champion.”

The King County Cultural Candidate Forum will be held on October 12, 7 p.m., to a livestreamed audience and will feature King County Executive Candidates Dow Constantine and Joe Nguyen, County Council District 1 Candidates Rod Dembowski and Sally Caverzan, District 3 Candidates Kathy Lambert and Sarah Perry, District 5 Candidate Dave Upthegrove and Shukri Olow, and District 9 Candidates Reagan Dunn and Kim Khanh Van. The County Candidate Forum will be moderated by Janell Johnson.

This is a critical moment for the cultural sector. Now more than ever, we need champions in order to recover and thrive. Take this opportunity to get involved and share with your friends and be sure to “attend” the livestreams!


Both livestreams are free and available to all. You can RSVP here.    

SF Symphony Makes Access to Their Video Streaming Service, SFSymphony+, Free for All

San Francisco Symphony has announced that their digital programming platform, SFSymphony+, will now be available to all people without a subscription. The platform includes a myriad of performances, special programs and more.

SFSymphony+ was launched in February 2021 and offers viewers the ability to stream content from their home or on the go. Highlights of the 2021/22 digital season include two signature projects led by Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen—LIGETI: PARADIGMS, created in partnership with renowned media artist Refik Anadol and SF Symphony Collaborative Partner and roboticist Carol Reiley, and a new direct-to-digital staged production of Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, directed by Netia Jones.

Three new programs released yesterday on SFSymphony+ include SoundBox: Delirium, curated by pianist Jeremy Denk; CURRENTS: Niji (Rainbow), curated by koto master Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto; and Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, Rhenish, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Additional digital projects to be released on SF Symphony+ throughout the season include a variety of orchestral performances and chamber music with San Francisco Symphony musicians and guest artists.

SFSymphony+ is available for free browser-based streaming worldwide on sfsymphonyplus.org, via TV services including Apple TV, Amazon FireTV, Chromecast, Roku, and smart TVs, and can be downloaded as an app via Apple App StoreAmazon FirestickGoogle Play – Android, and Google Play – TV.

Vaccination and Mask Requirements at Performing Arts Venues in the San Francisco Bay Area

As we prepare to return to live performance, we will help keep you updated with requirements from arts organizations on vaccination status and masking. Be sure to find full information on each organization’s website before attending a performance.

BroadwaySF

All ticketholders 12 years of age or older are required to show proof of full COVID vaccination for entry into the Orpheum Theatre. “Fully vaccinated” means that a ticketholder’s performance is at least 14 days after their final vaccine dose. Proof of a negative COVID PCR test taken within 72 hours of performance will no longer be accepted for patrons who purchased tickets after August 12, with the exception of children under the age of 12. Children under 12 will continue to be required to show the negative test results of a PCR test taken within 72 hours of performance. Children under 5 are not admitted. All patrons are required to wear masks inside the theatre at all times (except when consuming food or beverage in the lobby or auditorium). Prolonged periods of mask removal are not permitted for eating or drinking—masks must be worn between bites and sips. See full protocols.

California Shakespeare Theater

Everyone who comes to the Bruns—including audiences, staff, artists, and crew—will need to bring proof of vaccination (a vaccination card/photo of vaccination card, or a Digital Vaccine Record; and your ID) or a negative COVID-19 PCR result from a test taken within 72 hours before entering the grounds. People are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, or 14 days after a single-dose vaccine. A Cal Shakes staff member will verify your documents at the front gate. If you do not bring your documents with you, you will not be granted admittance to the grounds.

Masks are required when not actively eating and drinking. See full protocols.

San Francisco Opera

Per San Francisco city guidelines, San Francisco Opera will require all patrons ages of 12 and older to show proof of vaccination to attend performances at the War Memorial Opera House and the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera, along with a photo ID.

If you plan to attend a performance with a child under the age of 12, please call the Box Office at (415) 864-3330 to discuss seating and safety options. Please note the operas SF Opera is presenting this season are most appropriate for children ages 12 and up. See full protocols.

San Francisco Symphony

The San Francisco Symphony requires proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 for everyone ages 12 and up entering Davies Symphony Hall. Audience members under age 12 must show proof of a negative COVID-19 (PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event or antigen [rapid] test taken within 24 hours of the event). These protocols are in accordance with policies enacted by the City and County of San Francisco and follow the advice of the San Francisco Symphony Health & Safety Task Force.

Full vaccination is defined as completion of the two-dose regimen of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered two weeks or more in advance of the concert. A negative COVID-19 test must be taken not more than 72 hours before the concert. See full protocols.

Stanford Live

For outdoor shows at Frost Amphitheater, masks are required for unvaccinated patrons, and optional for fully vaccinated patrons. In accordance with Santa Clara County Public Health, masks are encouraged to be worn by all at crowded outdoor events. For indoor shows at Bing Concert Hall, masks are required to be worn by all patrons. Please bring your own face coverings that cover your nose and mouth and wear them at all times. Masks with valves will not be allowed. If you are eating, please cover your face between bites and sips.

All visitors coming to an indoor performance at Stanford Live (Bing Concert Hall, Bing Studio, Memorial Auditorium, Memorial Church) must meet at least one of two criteria: be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 OR receive a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to arrival onsite. To show proof of vaccination, you must bring a photo ID plus one of the following: vaccine card or a photo of your vaccine card PR digital COVID-19 vaccine record using the My Vaccine record App. See full protocols.

TheatreWorks

Every individual must show proof that they are fully vaccinated at the time of their entry into the building, along with a matching photo ID. You may present a physical vaccination card; a clear, legible photo of your vaccination card; or a digital vaccine record. California residents may obtain a digital vaccine record at http://MyVaccineRecord.cdph.ca.gov.

“Fully vaccinated” means that it has been 14 days since your second dose of a WHO or FDA-approved two-dose vaccine (e.g. the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine), or 14 days since your sole dose of a WHO or FDA-approved single-dose vaccine (e.g. the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine). If you or a member of your party are legally exempted from being vaccinated, you must reach out to the TheatreWorks Box Office at 650.463.1960 or boxoffice@theatreworks.org as early as possible prior to your performance date to alert us (four days before your performance is the final cutoff), as you might be permitted to provide a negative COVID test as an alternative to proof of vaccination. See full protocols.