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Shakespeare in Love

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Shakespeare in Love is a phenomenal piece of live theatre. The Marin Theatre Company has produced the Bay area premiere of Lee Hall’s adaptation of Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman’s film, Shakespeare in Love. Under the direction of artistic director Jasson Minadakis, MTC’s production is engagingly staged with 13 actors performing 35 roles. It is truly an exemplary work of a fine ensemble of performers and a cohesive creative team.

In the Elizabethan era, when women are forbidden to become actors, Viola de Lesseps (Megan Trout) adores theatre, is enamored with the works of Will Shakespeare (Adam Magill), and longs to perform in them. Her position in society finds her engaged to a would-be noble, and she is duty-bound to go through with a loveless marriage.

Will, meanwhile, has lost inspiration but has promised works for which he has already received payment. He becomes newly inspired by his love for Viola. Throughout the play, we see Will being provided with thoughts and phrases that are familiar “purple passages” from a variety of characters that appear “later” in Shakespeare’s works. Similarly, the interactions between Will and Viola provide a real life experience that inspires his creation of Romeo and Juliet.

Dramatic devices of disguise, mistaken identity, comic falls, and backstage rituals provide the entire cast with a multitude of opportunities to demonstrate their versatility in characterization, vocal, and dance skills. Each of the members of the ensemble shines in delightful short moments that connect the plot points. L. Peter Callender, Stacy Ross, Mark Anderson Phillips, Lance Gardner, Sango Tajima, Kenny Toll, Thomas Gorrebeeck, Robert Sicular, Ben Euphrat, Liam Vincent, Brian Herndon, and Molly the Dog are all deserving of high praise.

The action of the play is wonderfully orchestrated with a multitude of rhythms and tempos that are beautifully supported by the creative team. Kat Conley’s scenic design incorporates eclectic architectural styles with warm tones of wood and masonry and a skeletal scaffolding that allows the action to be presented with visual variety quickly and efficiently. Costume designer Katherine Nowacki and lighting designer, Kurt Landisman provide rich textures and color that accentuate the range of emotional climates with subtle nuance. Sound designer Sara Huddleston, fight director Dave Maier, and choreographer Liz Tenuto have also made significant contributions to the seamless cohesiveness of the production.

The performance incorporates a wealth of beautiful live music by Paddy Cunneen under the direction of Jennifer Reason and performed by the members of the ensemble. The music is effectively written and appropriately supports the moods of the action; however, there are far too many moments when the volume of the music forces the audience to work too hard to hear the beautiful language.

Production Dates: November 24‚ 2017 - December 17, 2017 Marin Theatre Company | 397 Miller Ave | Mill Valley, CA 94941 Phone: 415.388.5200 Fax: 415.388.0768  Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




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.