From summer into fall

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet in hoodies and tie-dye.

Romeo and Juliet in hoodies and tie-dye.

Photo courtesy of Davis Shakespeare

8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; $15-$25. Veterans Memorial Theatre, 203 E. 14th Street in Davis; (530) 802-0998; Through October 16.

The Davis Shakespeare Ensemble—typically a summertime company—expands this month with a fall production of Romeo and Juliet. The production, set in a modern times, opens September 29.

Co-artistic director Rob Salas, previously an assistant director for productions at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Utah Shakespeare and elsewhere, will direct a cast that includes local Actors’ Equity Association actress Gail Dartez as the nurse, Ian Hopps as Mercutio and Bay Area performers Gabby Batista and Kyle Stoner as the star-crossed lovers. Many of the cast members have a history with Davis Shakespeare, Salas said.

“Kyle was the bad guy in our summer production of Bells Are Ringing; he was also in a production of The Light in the Piazza in the Bay Area this summer. Ian was the lead in Big Idea Theatre’s The Rover, and he was our male lead in Bells Are Ringing.”

Davis Shakespeare just enjoyed its best summer at the box office—its critically praised productions of Cyrano de Bergerac and Bells Are Ringing drew audiences as big (or bigger) than competing productions at the B Street Theatre and Capital Stage during late July.

With this expansion into the fall and perhaps, even, eventual expansion into spring or the holiday season, the company is positioning itself on par with Sacramento’s small-equity theater companies, with casts including a mix of professionals, young conservatory grads and seasoned community actors.