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THE STORY: Shakespeare in HOLLYWOOD

    Written by Ken Ludwig   &  Directed by Catherine Morrison         

                It is 1934 Hollywood, and Jack Warner is in a “spot” ! His girlfriend, starlet, Lydia Lansing wants to be cast in a “class picture”, not the “dreck” she’s been in so far.

                Enter Max Reinhardt, Jewish, German stage director escaping from the Nazis .He suggests making a movie of Shakespeare’s famous comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” . Jack’s three brothers ( Sam, Harry, and Albert ) are not enthused about the idea. Sam Warner says “That’ll put us right in the crapper”. ( A man with a way with words ! )

               However, Lydia’s talents ( and we’re not talking about acting talents ) – prevail. The studio decides to go ahead with filming , and Jack casts the girlfriend ( of course ) in the role of “Helena”  . A young newcomer, Olivia ( based on  the movie star, Olivia De Havilland starring in her first Hollywood film ) is cast as “Hermia”.

                  Various contract players at Warner Brothers studios are then added; Jimmy Cagney ( as “Bottom” the weaver), Joe E. Brown ( as”Francis Flute”,) and Dick Powell ( as “Lysander”.). These are actors with little or no experience in understanding or playing Shakespeare. ( But the studio is paying them  on a weekly basis anyway, so why not use them ? Why not indeed ? )

                  Complications ensue with the arrival of  the despotic and powerful  movie censor, Will Hays. He comes with a long list of objections from ” The American Legion of Decency” ( a strong lobbyist organization in America at the time ). Another famous person of the period appears in the form of  Louella Parsons, the influential gossip columnist. She could make or break a career, under all her smiles and cooing.

                         Into this mix enter the “real” “Oberon” and “Puck”, characters , from the actual Shakespeare play. These fantasy creatures are plunged straight into the confusing  world of  a movie studio.There they meet  Daryl, the Hollywood “yes -man”,  movie extras , movie fans,  film crew ,and others.

                  Both Oberon and Puck start to impact, and  are personally themselves impacted,   by the people around them with hilarious results .Puck continuously gives a  magic flower  (with a powerful love potion )  to the wrong people !  Love blooms, but with unintended consequences.

                Puck finally gets it right and lovers are re-united.  Lives are changed, the movie gets completed, and. the interfering government villain is vanquished  ( in a very ridiculous way ! ) Like Shakespeare’s  beautiful play – love triumphs over all, by the end of the story.

On stage for an extended run April 14 – May 12

Adults $25 Student/Senior $22

TICKETS ~ Shakespeare in HOLLYWOOD

 

 

 

 

 

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