Staff Report

PCPA’s production of the romantic comedy “Shakespeare in Love” will play Feb. 7 through March 3 in the Marian Theatre in Santa Maria.

Based on the award-winning screenplay by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman for a 1998 movie, it was adapted for the stage by Lee Hall with music by Paddy Cunneen.

Driving the plot is that Will Shakespeare’s new play, “Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter,” is overdue because Will is suffering a dreadful case of writer’s block. An arranged marriage between the stuffy Lord Wessex and the beautiful stage-struck Viola is also quickly approaching its deadline.

Viola will stop at nothing to appear in Shakespeare’s play even though it is illegal for women to take the stage, so she disguises herself as Sir Thomas Kent. Amid mistaken identities, backstage antics and onstage drama, Will finds his muse in Viola. Their passionate and forbidden love affair inspires Will to write his masterpiece, “Romeo and Juliet.”

The production is directed by Roger DeLaurier with choreography by Katie Fuchs-Wackowski, fight choreography by Mark Booher and Peter S. Hadres, music direction by Ilana Atkins, scenic design by Abby Hogan, costume design by Sara Curran Ice, lighting design by Jennifer ‘Z’ Zornow, sound design by Nathan Schilz, and voice and dialect coaching by Andrew Philpot. The stage manager is Zoia N. Wiseman.

 The cast features two of PCPA’s newest resident artists, Yusef Seevers playing Will Shakespeare and Emily Trask playing Viola de Lesseps.

The cast also features George Walker as Kit Marlowe, Peter S. Hadres as Henslowe, Don Stewart as Fennyman, Erik Stein as Burbage, Amani Dorn as Molly/Mistress Quickly, Polly Firestone Walker as Queen Elizabeth, Kitty Balay as Nurse, Andrew Philpot as Wessex, and Brad Carroll as Sir Robert de Lesseps.

The play adaptation premiered in London’s West End in 2014. Its first U.S. production was at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in February 2017. It has been one of the most widely produced plays for the last two seasons at regional theaters across the U.S.

 “Shakespeare in Love,” the 1998 movie, won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Music. Numerous additional awards came from the Golden Globes, BAFTA Awards and Screen Actors Guild. 

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