Midsummer’s stage dream
One season, four stages and six Shakespeare classics
Outdoor Shakespeare is a summer tradition, and this year, there are shows stretching from mid-June into August. The following is a quick guide to the season’s most promising options.
The Davis Shakespeare Ensemble will offer the pastoral comedy As You Like It. The story includes an extended rustic campout in the Forest of Arden; this production moves the setting to Appalachia. Rob Salas will direct—he was assistant director of The Taming of the Shrew at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland this season. As You Like It plays in the gazebo at the UC Davis Arboretum at 1 Shields Avenue in Davis from June 13, to June 30; Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors. Contact (530) 802-0998 for more info, or visit www.shakespearedavis.com.
The Sacramento Shakespeare Festival will alternate the comedy Twelfth Night and the tragedy Julius Caesar in the William A. Carroll Amphitheatre in William Land Park at 3901 Land Park Drive. Director Matt K. Miller sets Twelfth Night, which brims with late-night partying, in a 1970s disco. Performances are scheduled on select dates Friday, June 28, through Saturday, July 27. For Julius Caesar, director Luther Hanson shifts the era from ancient Rome to opera-crazed Italy in the 1870s. Performances begin on Friday, July 5, through Sunday, July 28. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the box office opens at 6 p.m., gates open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. On Sundays, the box office opens at 4 p.m., gates open at 4:30 p.m., and the curtain is at 6 p.m. General admission is $18, and students and seniors get in for $15. Call (916) 558-2228 for details, or visit www.sacramentoshakespeare.net.
To the east, the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival has the perennial comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which director Charles Fee locates in the psychedelic 1960s. The show runs Friday, July 12, through Sunday, August 25, outdoors in Sand Harbor State Park (2005 Highway 28 in Incline Village in Nevada). Show times are Tuesday through Sunday, 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $15 to $85. For details, call (800) 747-4697, or visit www.laketahoeshakespeare.com.
To the west, the California Shakespeare Theater (located outdoors at the Bruns Amphitheater at 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way in the sometimes foggy Orinda) will stage the tragedy Romeo and Juliet from Wednesday, July 3, to Sunday, July 28, and the romance The Winter’s Tale Wednesday, September 25, through Sunday, October 20. Tickets range from $35 to $48; call (510) 548-9666 or check out www.calshakes.org for details.