Lucy Pollak Public Relations

Theatricum announces 2020 Summer Season in Topanga

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Contact: Lucy Pollak
lucy@lucypr.com (818) 887-1499 (for media only)

 

 

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum announces 2020
summer season of theater
,
music and change


TOPANGA, Calif. (Feb. 26, 2020) — Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum has announced its annual summer line-up of theater, music and performance in its unique and stunning outdoor setting in Topanga. Addressing political, economic and climate change concerns through both words and action, the company will present five plays, opening in rapid succession and performed in repertory throughout the summer; a host of satellite events; and continue its concerted effort to “Go Green” and protect our environment.

The season kicks off on June 6 with William Shakespeare’s political tragedy, Julius Caesar, a chilling — and eerily timely — thriller about power, political change and the elusive nature of truth. In ancient Rome, Caesar’s tyrannical rule has polarized the city. His assassination divides the people, the senators, even his friends, into warring factions, as the republic descends into bloody civil chaos.

June 7 will see the return of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, an annual audience favorite. But this summer, Theatricum changes it up, infusing Shakespeare’s beautiful language with music and song to heighten the pleasure. The most magical outdoor setting in Los Angeles is once again transformed into an enchanted forest inhabited by lovers both fairy and human. Shakespeare conjures a world of wonder, magic and romance where comical misunderstandings and the pain of unrequited love are resolved, and all is reconciled through midsummer night revelries and the enduring power of nature.

Joining the repertoire on June 13 is another buoyant comedy by the Bard, The Merry Wives of Windsor — this time re-set in 1950s small-town America to a score of rockin’ ‘50s tunes. When opportunistic schemer and womanizer John Falstaff blows into town on his Harley and tries to woo two wealthy women at once, the townspeople gleefully plot his comeuppance. Things might seem picture perfect in “Small Town U.S.A”… but just underneath the surface, the fight for change is in full force as the women’s rights movement heats up.

June 20 sees the opening of night, Mother, the Pulitzer Prize-winning two-hander by Marsha Norman, here starring real-life mother and daughter Ellen Geer and Willow Geer. Life in the mother-daughter Cates household is changed forever when 40-something Jessie announces to Mama that she plans to kill herself before the night is over. Over the course of 90 minutes, in real time, Thelma desperately works to convince her daughter that life is worth living. Eloquent and darkly humorous, ’night, Mother has been hailed as an American classic and one of the most powerful contemporary dramas ever written.

Finally, the world premiere of The Last, Best Small Town by local playwright John Guerra opens on July 11. Two neighboring families — one Latinx and one white — live in nearby Fillmore, the self-proclaimed “Last, Best Small Town in Southern California.” Set during the first decade of the 21st century, immediately following the financial crisis, the children of these families come of age, fall in love, suffer loss, and continually hunt for their place in a changed world that can no longer promise them a better life than their parents.

All five productions will play in repertory through Sept. 27. 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 plays in a single summer weekend.

In addition to theater, Theatricum will present four special events on its mainstage. On Sunday, May 10 (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 Saturday, July 4 from 11 p.m. – 5 p.m.: Theatricum’s annual Family Barn Dance; on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m.: the company’s bi-annual The Woody Guthrie Story, a tribute to the songwriter, folklorist and labor leader who was a longtime Theatricum friend; and, on a date in October TBA, a concert by acclaimed singer/songwriter (and native Topangan) Inara George to benefit 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 Grid; Family Fundays, offering interactive children’s theater from Creative PlayGround and music from Peter Alsop’s Kids Koncerts; and Theatricum’s annual Halloween celebration, which sees the bucolic Botanicum transformed into the haunted “BOO-tanicum.”

Theatricum Botanicum continues its campaign to “Go Green” this summer. Efforts include reducing printed marketing materials by at least 40% in 2020; replacing bottled with canned water and refillable containers at concessions; adding additional compost and recycling bins for patrons; and offering free, public classes about composting and sustainable living. Theatricum has entered into a partnership with the Environmental Restoration Group (ERG), EcoMalibu and the California State Coastal Conservancy to “Heal Topanga Creek” by organizing volunteers to remove invasive weeds, trash and debris and to plant native plants. The program will also educate the public about the importance of native plants.

Theatricum 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 Weekly. The 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.

Click here to download high-resolution photos of Theatricum’s spectacular outdoor venue in the Topanga woods.

 

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
2020 Summer Schedule at-a-glance

 

MAINSTAGE REPERTORY PERFORMANCES June 6 through Sept. 27:
Saturday, June 6 at 8 p.m. – Julius Caesar (Opening)
Sunday, June 7 at 4 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Opening)
Saturday, June 13 at 4 p.m. – Julius Caesar
Saturday, June 13 at 8 p.m. – The Merry Wives of Windsor (Opening)
Sunday, June 14 at 4 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Saturday, June 20 at 4 p.m. – Julius Caesar
Saturday, June 20 at 8 p.m. – ’night, Mother (Opening)

Sunday, June 21 at 4 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Sunday, June 21 at 8 p.m. – The Merry Wives of Windsor

Saturday, June 27 at 4 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Saturday, June 27 at 8 p.m. – ’night, Mother
Sunday, June 28 at 4 p.m. – The Merry Wives of Windsor
Sunday, June 28 at 8 p.m. – Julius Caesar
Sunday, July 5 at 4 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Saturday, July 11 at 4 p.m. – The Merry Wives of Windsor

Saturday, July 11 at 8 p.m. The Last, Best Small Town (Opening)
Sunday, July 12 at 4 p.m. – Julius Caesar
Sunday, July 12 at 8 p.m. – ’night, Mother
Saturday, July 18 at 4 p.m. – The Merry Wives of Windsor

Saturday, July 18 at 8 p.m. The Last, Best Small Town
Sunday, July 19 at 4 p.m.  – Julius Caesar  
Sunday, July 19 at 8 p.m. – ’night, Mother
Saturday, July 25 at 4 p.m. – Julius Caesar  
Saturday, July 25 at 8 p.m. – ’night, Mother
Sunday, July 26 at 4 p.m.  – The Last, Best Small Town
Thursday, July 30 at 8 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Friday, July 31 at 8 p.m. – The Last, Best Small Town
Saturday, Aug. 1 at 8 p.m. – ’night, Mother
Sunday, Aug. 2 at 4 p.m.  – The Merry Wives of Windsor
Sunday, Aug. 2 at 8 p.m. – Julius Caesar
Thursday, Aug. 6 at 8 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Friday, Aug. 7 at 8 p.m. – Julius Caesar
Saturday, Aug. 8 at 8 p.m. – The Merry Wives of Windsor
Sunday, Aug. 9 at 4 p.m. – The Last, Best Small Town
Sunday, Aug. 9 at 8 p.m. – ’night, Mother
Thursday, Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Friday, Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. – The Merry Wives of Windsor
Saturday, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m. The Last, Best Small Town
Sunday, Aug. 16 at 4 p.m. – Julius Caesar
Sunday, Aug. 16 at 8 p.m. – ’night, Mother
Thursday, Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Friday, Aug. 21 at 8 p.m.   – ’night, Mother
Saturday, Aug. 22 at 8 p.m. The Last, Best Small Town
Sunday, Aug. 23 at 4 p.m. – The Merry Wives of Windsor
Sunday, Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. – Julius Caesar
Thursday, Aug. 27 at 8 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Saturday, Aug. 29 at 4 p.m. – Julius Caesar
Saturday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. The Merry Wives of Windsor
Sunday, Aug. 30 at 4 p.m. – The Last, Best Small Town
Sunday, Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. – ’night, Mother
Saturday, Sept. 5 at 4 p.m. – The Merry Wives of Windsor
Saturday, Sept. 5 at 8 p.m. – The Last, Best Small Town
Sunday, Sept. 6 at 4 p.m. – ’night, Mother
Sunday, Sept. 6 at 8 p.m. – Julius Caesar

Monday, Sept. 7 (Labor Day) at 6 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Saturday, Sept. 12 at 4 p.m. – The Merry Wives of Windsor
Saturday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. – ’night, Mother
Sunday, Sept. 13 at 4 p.m. – Julius Caesar
Sunday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. – The Last, Best Small Town
Saturday, Sept. 19 at 4 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Saturday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. – The Last, Best Small Town
Sunday, Sept. 20 at 4 p.m. – ’night, Mother
Sunday, Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. – The Merry Wives of Windsor
Saturday, Sept. 26 at 4 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Saturday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. – ’night, Mother
Sunday, Sept. 27 at 4 p.m. – The Merry Wives of Windsor
Sunday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. – The Last, Best Small Town

MAINSTAGE SPECIAL ENGAGEMENTS:
Sunday, May 10 (Mother’s Day) at 2 p.m.: Momentum PlaceLexi Pearl curates Theatricum’s annual offering of modern dance, aerial acts, juggling and performance art.
Saturday, July 4 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Family Barn Dance — Celebrate the 4th at Theatricum with a family hoe-down: barn dance, live music, pie-eating contest, watermelon seed-spitting contest, cake walk, relay races, dunk bucket, family games, silent auction and more.
Saturday, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m.: The Woody Guthrie Story A tribute to the songwriter, folklorist and labor leader who was also a longtime Theatricum friend. The spirit of Woody Guthrie is brought to life through his own words and music in this signature event performed by members of the Geer family and their friends.
Oct. date TBA: Inara George and Friends in concert — Acclaimed singer/songwriter and homegrown Topangan  Inara George 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:
Fridays, Sept. 4; Sept. 11; Sept.18; and Sept. 25 at 8 p.m.

OFF THE GRID — comedy improv with Theatricum’s in-house troupe:
Friday, June 26 at 8 p.m.
Friday, July 24 at 8 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 28 at 8 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m.

FAMILY FUNDAYS with Creative PlayGround — interactive theater for ages 2 and up:
Sunday, June 7 at 11 a.m.: Aesop’s Fables
Sunday, June 14 at 11 a.m.: Ferdinand the Bull
Sunday, June 21 (Father’s Day) at 11 a.m.: The Legends of King Arthur

Sunday, June 28 at 11 a.m.: The Velveteen Rabbit
Saturday, July 18 at 11 a.m.: Hans Christian Andersen
Saturday, Aug. 15 at 11 a.m.: The Legends of King Arthur
Sunday, Oct. 4 at 11 a.m.: Aesop’s Fables
Sunday, Oct 11 at 11 a.m.: The Legends of King Arthur
Sunday, Oct 18 at 11 a.m.: The Velveteen Rabbit
Sunday, Oct 25 at 11 a.m.: Ferdinand the Bull

FAMILY FUNDAYS with Peter Alsop’s KIDS KONCERTS:
Select Sundays in July, Aug. and Sept,: Schedule TBA

BOO–TANICUM
— The bucolic Theatricum transforms into the haunted BOO–tanicum for the theater company’s 4th annual Halloween extravaganza:

Friday, Oct. 30 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.

PHOTOS:
Click here
to download high-resolution photos of Theatricum’s spectacular outdoor venue in the Topanga woods.

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