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Theatricum Botanicum announces 2018 Summer Season at stunning outdoor venue in Topanga

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Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum announces 2018 summer

season of theater and music in spectacular outdoor setting
 

TOPANGA, Calif. (April 2, 2018) — Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is back with an exciting summer line-up of socially conscious theater, music and performance. The Summer 2018 Season, including five plays set to open in rapid succession and perform in repertory throughout the summer together with a host of satellite events, will open June 2 and continue through mid-October in the company’s breathtakingly beautiful outdoor Topanga setting.

Kicking off the season on June 2 will be William Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, co-directed by Ellen Geer and Melora Marshall and featuring David DeSantos in the title role. An allegory for today’s tumultuous times, Shakespeare’s searing tragedy is a cautionary tale of political manipulation and revenge. Rome, a city where the one-percenters rule, is led by a populist general who has nothing but contempt for the common people. Unable to reconcile his disdain for the citizens with his love of country, Coriolanus finds himself driven into the embrace of his sworn enemy.

June 3 will see the return of Theatricum’s signature production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, an annual audience favorite. Theatricum’s magical outdoor setting will once again stand in for the Bard’s enchanted forest, as director Willow Geer conjures up a world of wonder, magic and romance.

Opening June 16 is The CrucibleArthur Miller’s classic parable of mass hysteria that draws a chilling parallel between the Salem witch-hunt of 1692 and the McCarthyism which gripped America in the 1950s. The story of how the small community of Salem is stirred into madness by superstition, paranoia and malice is a savage attack on the evils of mindless persecution and the terrifying power of false accusations.

Joining the season on June 30, long-time Theatricum company member Susan Angelo directs members of the Geer family in a revival of Enid Bagnold’s delightful classic, The Chalk Garden. Dyed-in-the-wool British dowager Mrs. St. Maugham is a selfish eccentric who spends her days gardening, but can’t make anything grow. Her teenage granddaughter, Laurel, is a precocious liar. When enigmatic Miss Madrigal is hired as household companion and manager, the two finally meet their match.

Finally, joining the repertoire on July 28, Theatricum presents a very rare revival of Haitia historical melodrama about the 1802 overthrow of the colonial Haitian government written by William DuBois for the Federal Theatre Project. Subtitled “A drama of the black Napoleon,” Haiti was presented in 1938 by the FTP’s Negro Theatre Unit in a radical and controversial production that saw white and black actors performing together onstage at the Lafayette Theatre in Harlem.

All five mainstage productions will play in repertory through Sept. 30. Unlike most theaters in the L.A. area that stage continuous runs of a single play, Theatricum, using a company of actors, will perform each of the plays in repertory, making it possible to see all five mainstage plays in a single summer weekend.

In addition to theater, Theatricum will present four special events on its mainstage. On SundayMay 13 (Mother’s Day) at 2 p.m.Momentum Place, Theatricum’s yearly offering of modern dance, aerial acts, juggling and performance art curated by Lexi Pearl; on WednesdayJuly 4 from 11 p.m. – 5 p.m.: Theatricum’s fourth annual Family Barn Dance and Bar-B-Que; on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 2 p.m.The Woody Guthrie Storythe Geer family’s annual tribute to the songwriter, folklorist and labor leader who was also a longtime Theatricum friend; and on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 4 p.m.Inara George and Friends, the acclaimed singer/songwriter’s annual concert that benefits the theater’s artistic and educational programming.

Additional summer programming includes Under the Oaks, four evenings of music and performance in the intimate S. Mark Taper Foundation Pavilion; comedy improv with Theatricum’s in-house troupe Off The GridFamily Fundays, offering interactive children’s theater from Creative PlayGround and music from Peter Alsop’s Kids KoncertsTheme Dinner Buffets in the idyllic Theatricum gardens; and Theatricum’s annual Halloween celebration, which sees the bucolic Botanicum transformed into the haunted “BOO-tanicum.”

Click here to view promo trailerTheatricum Botanicum has been named “One of the 50 Coolest Places in Los Angeles” by Buzz magazine, “One of Southern California’s most beguiling theater experiences” by Sunset magazine, and “Best Theater in the Woods” by the LA WeeklyThe enchantment of a midsummer night at Theatricum Botanicum [makes it] crystal clear why audiences have been driving up into the hills since Theatricum’s maiden season way back in 1973. Summer Shakespeare doesn’t get any better than this,” writes StageSceneLA. Says Los Angeles magazine, “The amphitheater feels like a Lilliputian Hollywood Bowl, with pre-show picnics and puffy seat cushions, yet we were close enough to see the stitching on the performers costumes. Grab a blanket and a bottle and head for the hills.”

The beginnings of the Theatricum Botanicum can be traced to the early 1950s when Will Geer, a victim of the McCarthy era Hollywood blacklist (before he became known as the beloved Grandpa on The Waltons), opened a theater for blacklisted actors and folk singers on his property in Topanga. Friends such as Ford Rainey, John Randolph and Woody Guthrie joined him on the dirt stage for vigorous performances and inspired grassroots activism, while the audiences sat on railroad ties. Today, two outdoor amphitheaters are situated in the natural canyon ravine, where audiences are able to relax and enjoy the wilderness during an afternoon or evening’s performance. Theatricum’s main stage amphitheater sports a new and improved sun shade for increased audience comfort, installed with support from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Ralph M. Parson’s Foundation. Theatricum is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Margaret Harford Award for “sustained excellence,” which is the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle’s highest honor.

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga, midway between Pacific Coast Highway and the Ventura (101) Freeway. The amphitheaters are terraced into the hillside, so audience members are advised to dress casually (warmly for evenings) and bring cushions for bench seating. Patrons are welcome to arrive early and picnic before a performance.

For tickets, subscriptions, group discounts and a full schedule of theater, music and family entertainment, call 310-455-3723 or go to www.theatricum.com.

 

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

2018 Summer Schedule at-a-glance

 

MAINSTAGE REPERTORY PERFORMANCES June 2 through Sept.30:
• SaturdayJune 2 at 8 p.m. – Coriolanus (Opening Night)
• SundayJune 3 at 4 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Opening)
• SaturdayJune 9 at 8 p.m. – Coriolanus
• SundayJune 10 at 4 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• SaturdayJune 16 at 4 p.m. – Coriolanus
• SaturdayJune 16 at 8 p.m. – The Crucible (Opening Night)
• SundayJune 17 at 4 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• SundayJune 17 at 8 p.m. – DARK
• SaturdayJune 23 at 4 p.m. – Coriolanus
• SaturdayJune 23 at 8 p.m. – The Crucible
• SundayJune 24 at 4 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (pre-show “prologue” discussion today from 3 p.m.-3:30 p.m.)
• SundayJune 24 at 8 p.m. – DARK
• SaturdayJune 30 at 4 p.m. – The Crucible
• SaturdayJune 30 at 8 p.m. – The Chalk Garden (Opening Night)
• SundayJuly 1 at 4 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• SundayJuly 1 at 8 p.m. – Coriolanus
• SaturdayJuly 7 at 4 p.m. – Coriolanus
• SaturdayJuly 7 at 8 p.m. – The Chalk Garden
• SundayJuly 8 at 4 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• SundayJuly 8 at 8 p.m. – The Crucible
• SaturdayJuly 21 at 4 p.m. – Coriolanus
• SaturdayJuly 21 at 8 p.m. – The Chalk Garden
• SundayJuly 22 at 4 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• SundayJuly 22 at 8 p.m. – The Crucible
• FridayJuly 27 at 8 p.m. – The Crucible
• SaturdayJuly 28 at 4 p.m. – DARK
• SaturdayJuly 28 at 8 p.m. – Haiti (Opening Night)
• SundayJuly 29 at 4 p.m. – Coriolanus (pre-show “prologue” discussion today from 3 p.m.-3:30 p.m.)
• SundayJuly 29 at 8 p.m. – The Chalk Garden
• ThursdayAug. 2 at 8 p.m.* – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (pre-show garden dinner buffet available for purchase)
• FridayAug. 3 at 8 p.m. – Coriolanus
• SaturdayAug. at 4 p.m. – DARK
• SaturdayAug. 4 at 8 p.m. – Haiti
• SundayAug. 5 at 4 p.m. – The Crucible
• SundayAug. 5 at 8 p.m. – The Chalk Garden
• ThursdayAug. 9 at 8 p.m.* – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (pre-show garden dinner buffet available for purchase)
• FridayAug. 10 at 8 p.m. – The Chalk Garden
• SaturdayAug. 11 at 4 p.m. – DARK
• SaturdayAug. 11 at 8 p.m. – Haiti
• SundayAug. 12 at 4 p.m. – Coriolanus
• SundayAug. 12 at 8 p.m. – The Crucible
• ThursdayAug. 16 at 8 p.m.* – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (pre-show garden dinner buffet available for purchase)
• FridayAug. 17 at 8 p.m. – The Crucible
• SaturdayAug. 18 at 4 p.m. – DARK
• SaturdayAug. 18 at 8 p.m. – The Chalk Garden
• SundayAug. 19 at 4 p.m. – The Crucible (pre-show “prologue” discussion today from 3 p.m.-3:30 p.m.)
• SundayAug. 19 at 8 p.m. – Haiti
• ThursdayAug. 23 at 8 p.m.* – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (pre-show garden dinner buffet available for purchase)
• SaturdayAug. 25 at 4 p.m. – Coriolanus
• SaturdayAug. 25 at 8 p.m. – The Crucible
• SundayAug. 26 at 4 p.m. – Haiti (pre-show “prologue” discussion today from 3 p.m.-3:30 p.m.)
• SundayAug. 26 at 8 p.m. – The Chalk Garden
• SaturdaySept. 1 at 4 p.m. – Coriolanus
• SaturdaySept. 1 at 8 p.m. – The Chalk Garden
• SundaySept. 2 at 4 p.m. – Haiti
• SundaySept. 2 at 8 p.m. – The Crucible
• MondaySept. 3 (Labor Day) at 6 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• SaturdaySept. 8 at 4 p.m. – The Chalk Garden (pre-show “prologue” discussion today from 3 p.m.-3:30 p.m.)
• SaturdaySept. 8 at 8 p.m. – Haiti
• SundaySept. 9 at 4 p.m. – The Crucible
• SundaySept. 9 at 8 p.m. – Coriolanus
• SaturdaySept. 15 at 4 p.m. – The Crucible
• SaturdaySept. 15 at 8 p.m. – Coriolanus
• SundaySept. 16 at 4 p.m. – Haiti
• SundaySept. 16 at 8 p.m. – The Chalk Garden
• SaturdaySept. 22 at 4 p.m. – Haiti
• SaturdaySept. 22 at 8 p.m. – The Crucible
• SundaySept. 23 at 4 p.m. – Coriolanus
• SundaySept. 23 at 8 p.m. – The Chalk Garden
• SaturdaySept. 29 at 4 p.m. – Haiti
• SaturdaySept. 29 at 8 p.m. – The Crucible
• SundaySept. 30 at 4 p.m. – The Chalk Garden
• SundaySept. 30 at 8 p.m. – The Crucible
*Pre-performance buffet dinners, served in the Theatricum gardens and attended by costumed fairies, will be available for purchase by ticketholders prior to four Thursday evening performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Aug. 2Aug. 9Aug. 16 and Aug. 23 at 6:30 p.m. Advance reservations required.

MAINSTAGE SPECIAL ENGAGEMENTS:
 SundayMay 13 (Mother’s Day) at 2 p.m.Momentum Place — Lexi Pearl curates Theatricum’s annual offering of modern dance, aerial acts, juggling and performance art.
• WednesdayJuly 4 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Family Barn Dance and BarBQue
• Saturday, Oct. 6 at 2 p.m.: The Woody Guthrie Story — Theatricum’s annual tribute to the songwriter, folklorist and labor leader who was also a longtime Theatricum friend.
• Sunday, Oct. 7 at 4 p.m.: Inara George and Friends in Concert — The acclaimed singer/songwriter and homegrown Topangan returns to Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum for her annual concert that benefits the theater’s artistic and educational programming.

UNDER THE OAKS featuring music and performance in the intimate S. Mark Taper Foundation Pavilion:
• FridaySept. 7 at 8 p.m.The Pacific Trio (chamber music with pianist Edith Orloff, violinist Roger Wilkie and cellist John Walz)
• FridaySept. 14 at 8 p.m.: Rolf Kent’s The Concert Goes Awry” (an evening with the Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated film and television composer)
• FridaySept. 21 at 8 p.m.Blacklisted (a one-of-a-kind evening celebrating labor leader musicians like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger who society once sought to silence)
• FridaySept. 28 at 8 p.m.Composers Collective (an evening of world premiere chamber music from some of Hollywood’s most prominent composers living in and around Topanga)

OFF THE GRID — comedy improv with Theatricum’s in-house troupe:
• FridayJune 29 at 8 p.m. 
• ThursdayJuly 26 at 8 p.m. 
• FridayAug. 31 at 8 p.m.
• ThursdaySept. 27 at 8 p.m.

FAMILY FUNDAYS with Creative PlayGround — interactive theater for ages 2 and up:
• SundayJune 3 at 11 a.m.Aesop’s Fables
• SundayJune 10 at 11 a.m.Ferdinand the Bull
• SundayJune 17 (Father’s Day) at 11 a.m.The Legends of King Arthur
• SundayJune 24 at 11 a.m.The Velveteen Rabbit
• SaturdayJuly 21 at 11 a.m.Three Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
• SaturdayAug. 18 at 11 a.m.The Legends of King Arthur
• SundayOct. 7 at 11 a.m.Ferdinand the Bull
• SundayOct. 14 at 11 a.m.The Velveteen Rabbit
• SundayOct. 21 at 11 a.m.Aesop’s Fables

FAMILY FUNDAYS with Peter Alsop’s KIDS KONCERTS:
• SundayAug. 26 at 10:30 a.m.Masanga Marimba Ensemble
• SundaySept. 16 at 10:30 a.m.Peter Alsop
• SundaySept. 23 at 10:30 a.m.Rhythm Child

BOO–TANICUM — The bucolic Theatricum transforms into the haunted BOO–tanicum for the theater company’s 4th annual Halloween extravaganza:
• Saturday, Oct. 27 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The outdoor amphitheaters at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum are terraced into the hillside of the rustic canyon. Audience members are advised to dress casually (warmly for evenings) and bring cushions for bench seating. Patrons are welcome to arrive early and picnic before a performance.

For more information and to purchase tickets and subscriptions, call (310) 455–3723, or go to www.theatricum.com. Visit us on facebook: www.facebook.com/theatricum. Follow us on twitter: @theatricum and instagram: @theatricum_botanicum.

 

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