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The Legend of Robin Hood

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Initial references to the character Robin Hood are not found in historical documentation per se, but rather on the rolls of various English Justices from the 13th century. The legend of the able archer and swashbuckling swordsman known for “robbing from the rich and giving to the poor,” nevertheless has captured the popular imagination ever since the 1200s.

Even William Shakespeare makes mention of Robin Hood in his 16th century play, Two Gentleman of Verona: “By the bare scalp of Robin Hood’s fat friar, this fellow were a king in our wild faction.” The Bard also references Robin Hood in the comedy As You Like It: “Already in the forest of Arden, and many more merry men with him; and they live like the old Robin Hood of England.”


Now, subsequent to various film versions (with actors ranging from Errol Flynn to Sean Connery to Kevin Costner to Russell Crowe in the role of Robin Hood), along with several spoofs and send-ups (see Mel Brooks’ Men in Tights), The Legend of Robin Hood has been reinvigorated by Nathan Makaryk’s latest scripting and staging of this hoary tale of wealth redistribution and the questions it raises and the consequences it yields (at Fullerton’s Maverick Theater, through April 14).

Directed by Makaryk with an emphasis on atmospherics (Mararyk also designed the inventive set – which, along with David Chorley’s rich soundscape and Heidi Newell’s earth-toned costuming, lend to this “Robin Hood” a visceral effect that is never less than enchanting), Robin Hood is a two-and-a-half-hour journey deep into the imperfect past of English speaking people.

Indeed, between the mesmerizing fight choreography (also by Mararyk), and production values as high as the tree tops in Sherwood Forest, this Robin Hood offers action and adventure that easily transcends a rather painstaking plotline. It is a marvelous accomplishment to witness 17 performers traverse the small stage of the Maverick Theater, all the while propelling the drama forward and conveying the themes of equity, justice, and sacrifice that have long been associated with the Robin Hood legend.

In an extraordinary cast, Glenn Freeze is first among equals in his textured portrayal of Baron Roger de Lacy, a perplexed sheriff of Nottinghamshire. As Robin, Frank Tryon at first appears to be a flaccid-faced dandy, but Tyron’s embodiment of Robin’s courage, charisma, and populist inclinations defy the character’s aristocratic demeanor and landholding heritage. Surprisingly, Tryon’s take on Robin becomes immediately credible.

Moreover, Andrea Dennison-Laufer’s Lady Marion is a lovely emblem of femininity’s force and influence. In fact, there’s not an actor here whose performance is less then serviceable, with several players displaying impressive stage skills. Larry Creagan is spot-on as the burly-bodied and huge-hearted, John Little (a name often reversed to Little John in the ballads and fables of the day); Michael Keeny is convincing as the complex William de Wendenal; Jacob Hunter is movingly intense as Will Scarlet (Will’s fate is an component of the play’s surprising denouement); and, as the deadly Guy of Gisbourne, Scott Keister is menacingly magnetic.

In the medieval era, as in our present-day period, each of us see the righteousness of our positions – without often acknowledging or even necessarily understanding how those positions are preordained by the conditions of class and consciousness to which we are subjected. Experiencing this live, onstage interpretation of The Legend of Robin Hood may serve as a meditation on the importance of social justice and economic enfranchisement. Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, et al, are you listening?

The Legend of Robin Hood continues at the Maverick Theater – 110 East Walnut Avenue, Fullerton – through April 14. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with a 3 p.m. Saturday matinee. For reservations, dial (714) 526 – 7070. For online ticketing and further information, visit



Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”


Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.