Monday, April 9, 2012


If you liked last year's Shakespeare Santa Cruz season as much as I did (click here to catch up), then get ready to strap on your sword and buckle your swash for SSC 2012: The Sequel.

Hot on the spurred heels of last season's rollicking combo of The Three Musketeers, the first installment of the "Henriad" trilogy, Henry IV, Part 1, and a beloved Shakespearean comedy, the company's 2012 summer season continues in the same splendid vein.  The centerpiece is, of course, Henry IV, Part 2, in which the roistering young Prince Hal must finally choose between the easy pleasures of the alehouse, the brothel, and the boon companionship of Falstaff, his mentor in vice, and the grandeur, power, and profound responsibility of his father's crown.

There is no theatrical sequel to The Three Musketeers, so SSC stalwart Scott Wentworth wrote one. His original stage adaptation of Dumas' last Musketeer novel,  The Man In the Iron Mask, will have its world premiere right here at SSC this summer. Wentworth has already distinguished himself as both actor and director (he staged Henry IV, Part 1 last summer, and will direct Part 2 this year), and I'm eager to see how this Renaissance Man segues into the role of scribe. In the story, the four Musketeers draw swords one more time to restore the corrupt young king's imprisoned twin brother to the throne of France.

The season's comedy is one of my favorites, Twelfth Night. The plot hinges on a shipwrecked woman disguised as a youth for her own protection, a lovesick Duke with whom "he" inconveniently falls in love, and  a woman dismissive of romance who falls in love with the illusion of a man. Full of swift banter, unrequited passion, even a little swordplay, it's an adroit comedy of love, gender, and identity that never goes out of style. It also features Feste,  one of Shakespeare's wittiest, most penetrating Fools.

Btw, do you love this poster?  Note the top hat, the long, duster coat, the spooky Tim Burton-style tree. Steampunk meets Sleepy Hollow? I can't wait!

The SSC 2012 season plays July 24 through August 26. Season tickets and Group tickets are on sale now. Single tickets go on sale May 15. Click here for all the details.

(Poster art by Schipper Design )

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