2009 California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes) today announced casting and creative teams for the second production of The company's 35th anniversary season, Noël Coward's smart and spiky comedy Private Lives, directed by Cal Shakes Associate Artist Mark Rucker. The production will run July 8-August 2 at the Bruns Memorial Amphitheater.
This elegant battle of wits-Rucker's first non-Shakespeare production for Cal Shakes-is what the
director calls "a beautifully crafted play. In a way, it's the quintessential situation comedy," following the exploits of a pair of worldly, newly remarried divorcees whose love for each other remains as overwhelming as it is toxic.
Brash but sophisticated lead Elyot Chase will be played by Stephen Barker Turner, a Cal Shakes Associate Artist who has portrayed such diverse roles on the Cal Shakes stage as the titular character in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby and Count Orsino in Twelfth Night.
Diana LaMar-a frequent player in Baltimore CENTERSTAGE's Shakespeare productions who has appeared locally at A.C.T. (The Real Thing) and Berkeley Rep (The Beaux' Stratagem)-makes her company debut as Amanda, the glamorous, impulsive woman who Elyot cannot live with or without.
Two familiar faces from this season's Cal Shakes production of Romeo and Juliet, Sarah Nealis (Juliet) and Jud Williford (Mercutio) appear in Private Lives as Elyot and Amanda's confounded new spouses. And rounding out the cast is the charming, French-fluent Liam Vincent-Paris in Romeo and Juliet-as the butler Louis.
"This play has been a revelation to me thus far," Rucker explains. "I've been delighted and surprised at what I've found-just how complicated it is. Beneath a veneer of sophistication, private lives can be incredibly brutal and sensual."
Once again showing her award-winning flair for creating interiors on the outdoor stage at the Bruns, Annie Smart (An Ideal Husband, Man and Superman, The Tempest) will design Private Lives' Parisian apartment and adjacent oceanfront hotel balconies, creating what Rucker calls "one of the more intimate spaces I've seen at the Bruns."
Katherine Roth, who previously designed costumes for Cal Shakes' 2006 production of As You Like It, returns to create Private Lives' sumptuous, circa-1930s fashions.
Sound design for Private Lives will be created by Jeff Mockus, who created the rural soundscape of Uncle Vanya, the repressed hush of An Ideal Husband, and the sounds of Pericles' many lands.
Associate Artist Scott Zielinski (An Ideal Husband, Othello, Macbeth) is the production's lighting designer, Cal Shakes Resident Fight Director Dave Maier will choreograph the lovers' glass-shattering spats, and Associate Artist Lynne Soffer is the text and vocal coach.
Single tickets start at $20; discounted group tickets for groups of 10 or more are also available. For
information or to charge tickets by phone with VISA, MasterCard or American Express, call the Cal
Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666. Additional information and online ticketing is available at