Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum 2017 Season

will geer theatricum botanicumWill Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum rises up and speaks out with a summer line-up of socially conscious classic and contemporary plays, music and performance. The 2017 summer season at the company’s unique outdoor setting in Topanga will offer five mainstage productions in rotating repertory as well as a host of satellite events, June 3 through October 1, 2017.

“Each of the plays emphasizes how critical it is to resist and struggle against the forces of inequality and injustice — while also reminding us that there’s humor in being human,” says Theatricum’s artistic director, Ellen Geer. “The plays range from Renaissance Italy to ancient Greece to 1950s and modern-day America, yet each deals with the consequences, sometimes dire, sometimes amusing, of miscommunication and of our inability to reach out and embrace those who might be different from us.”

Kicking off on June 3 with William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, directed by Ellen Geer. Alan Blumenfeld will star as Shylock in what is arguably one of the most controversial plays ever written, a comic tragedy that continues to raise penetrating questions about racism, religion and justice in 2017.

June 4 will see the return of Theatricum’s signature production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Director Melora Marshall conjures up Shakespeare’s enchanted forest in this classic romp of comical misunderstandings and the vagaries of the heart, both human and fairy.

How do lies become truths? Opening June 18, Sir Peter Hall’s stage adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, featuring music by Richard Peaslee and lyrics by Adrian Mitchell, is a brilliant satire about the corrupting influence of power.

Joining the season on July 8, members of the Geer family will star in Other Desert Cities, Jon Robin Baitz’s funny, explosive and entertaining look at unruly family politics that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Mary Jo Duprey (Theatricum productions of August Osage County and The Imaginary Invalid) directs.

Finally, multiple NAACP award-winner Earnestine Phillips will star in Trouble In Mind by pioneering African American playwright Alice Childress. Beginning July 29, this insightful, wickedly funny and often heartrending slice of theatrical life exposes the fault lines of the racial divide.

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum 2017 Summer Schedule and Additional Summer Programming:

Mainstage Repertory Performances 

• Saturday, June 3 at 7:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice (Opening Night)
• Sunday, June 4 at 3:30 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Opening)
• Saturday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice
• Sunday, June 11 at 3:30 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• Saturday, June 17 at 3:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice
• Saturday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m. – Animal Farm (Opening Night)
• Sunday, June 18 at 3:30 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• Sunday, June 18 at 7:30 p.m. – Dark
• Saturday, June 24 at 3:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice
• Saturday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m. – Animal Farm
• Sunday, June 25 at 3:30 p.m.* – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• Sunday, June 25 at 7:30 p.m. – Dark
• Saturday, July 1 at 3:30 p.m. – Dark
• Saturday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice
• Sunday, July 2 at 3:30 p.m. – Dark
• Sunday, July 2 at 7:30 p.m. – Animal Farm (pre-show “prologue” discussion today at 6:30 p.m.)
• Saturday, July 8 at 3:30 p.m. – Animal Farm
• Saturday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m. – Other Desert Cities (Opening Night)
• Sunday, July 9 at 3:30 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• Sunday, July 9 at 7:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice
• Saturday, July 15 at 3:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice (pre-show “prologue” discussion today at 2:30 p.m.)
• Saturday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m. – Other Desert Cities
• Sunday, July 16 at 3:30 p.m. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• Sunday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. – Animal Farm
• Saturday, July 22 – Dark
• Sunday, July 23 – Dark
• Saturday, July 29 at 3:30 p.m. – Desert Cities
• Saturday, July 29 at 7:30 p.m. – Trouble in Mind (Opening Night)
• Sunday, July 30 at 3:30 p.m. – Animal Farm
• Sunday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m. – Trouble In Mind
• Thursday, Aug. 3 at 7:30 p.m.* – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• Friday, Aug. 4 at 7:30 p.m. – Animal Farm
• Saturday, Aug. 5 at 3:30 p.m. – Other Desert Cities (pre-show “prologue” discussion today at 2:30 p.m.)
• Saturday, Aug. 5 at 7:30 p.m. – Trouble In Mind
• Sunday, Aug. 6 at 3:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice
• Sunday, Aug. 6 at 7:30 p.m. – Animal Farm
• Thursday, Aug. 10 at 7:30 p.m.* – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• Friday, Aug. 11 at 7:30 p.m. – Trouble in Mind
• Saturday, Aug. 12 at 3:30 p.m. – Animal Farm
• Saturday, Aug. 12 at 7:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice
• Sunday, Aug. 13 at 3:30 p.m. – Trouble In Mind
• Sunday, Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m. – Other Desert Cities
• Thursday, Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m.* – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• Saturday, Aug. 19 at 3:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice
• Saturday, Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m. – Animal Farm
• Sunday, Aug. 20 at 3:30 p.m. – Trouble in Mind
• Sunday, Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m. – Other Desert Cities
• Thursday, Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m.* – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• Saturday, Aug. 26 at 3:30 p.m. – Animal Farm
• Saturday, Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m. – Other Desert Cities
• Sunday, Aug. 27 at 3:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice
• Sunday, Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m. – Trouble In Mind
• Saturday, Sept. 2 at 3:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice
• Saturday, Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m. – Animal Farm
• Sunday, Sept. 3 at 3:30 p.m. – Trouble In Mind (pre-show “prologue” discussion today at 2:30 p.m.)
• Sunday, Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m. – Other Desert Cities
• Monday, Sept. 4 (Labor Day) at 6 p.m.– A Midsummer Night’s Dream (pre-show “prologue” discussion today at 5 p.m.)
• Saturday, Sept. 9 at 3:30 p.m. – Other Desert Cities
• Saturday, Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m. – Trouble In Mind
• Sunday, Sept. 10 at 3:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice
• Sunday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. – Animal Farm
• Saturday, Sept. 16 at 3:30 p.m. – Trouble In Mind
• Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m. – Other Desert Cities
• Sunday, Sept. 17 at 3:30 p.m. – Animal Farm
• Sunday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice
• Saturday, Sept. 23 at 3:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice
• Saturday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. – Animal Farm
• Sunday, Sept. 24 at 3:30 p.m. – Trouble In Mind
• Sunday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. – Other Desert Cities
• Saturday, Sept. 30 at 3:30 p.m. – Trouble In Mind
• Saturday, Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. – Other Desert Cities
• Sunday, Oct. 1 at 3:30 p.m. – The Merchant of Venice
• Sunday, Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. – Animal Farm
*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. 3; Aug. 10, Aug. 17 and Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. Advance reservations required.

Mainstage Special Engagements:

Saturday, April 1 at 1 p.m.
Re-PETE Celebration 2017: The Songs and Spirit of Pete Seeger–The Rising of the Women — Audiences are invited to sing along at a tribute to late singer/songwriter and activist Pete Seeger in what has become an annual tradition at Theatricum Botanicum.

Sunday, May 14 (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.

Tuesday, July 4 from 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Family Barn Dance and Bar-B-Que

Under The Oaks featuring music and performance in the intimate S. Mark Taper Foundation Pavilion:
• Friday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m.: Red Channels (chamber music)
• Friday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m.: Composers’ Collective
• Friday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m.: Alsop 4 Adults
• Friday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m.: Those Who Rise: from Dr. King to Michelle Obama

Off The Grid – comedy improv with Theatricum’s in-house troupe on the last Friday of every month:
• Friday, June 30 at 8 p.m.
• Friday, July 28 at 8 p.m.
• Friday, Aug. 25 at 8 p.m.
• Friday, Sept. 29 at 8 p.m.

Botanicum Seedlings: A Development Series For Playwrights furthers new works and new voices, presenting free readings of new plays:
• Sunday, Aug. 20 at 11 a.m.
• Sunday, Aug. 27 at 11 a.m.

Family Fundays with Creative PlayGround – interactive theater for ages 2 and up:
• Sunday, June 4 at 11 a.m.: Aesop’s Fables
• Sunday, June 11 at 11 a.m.: Ferdinand the Bull
• Sunday, June 18 at 11 a.m.: The Legends of King Arthur
• Sunday, June 25 at 11 a.m.: The Velveteen Rabbit
• Saturday, July 15 at 11 a.m.: Three Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
• Saturday, Aug. 19 at 11 a.m.: The Legends of King Arthur
• Sunday, Oct. 1 at 11 a.m.: Ferdinand the Bull
• Sunday, Oct 8 at 11 a.m.: The Velveteen Rabbit
• Sunday, Oct 15 at 11 a.m.: Aesop’s Fables
• Sunday, Oct. 22 at 11 a.m.: Halloween Stories

Family Fundays with Peter Alsop’s Kids Koncerts (artists TBA):
• Sunday, July 16 at 10:30 a.m.
• Sunday, July 30 at 10:30 a.m.
• Sunday, Aug. 6 at 10:30 a.m.
• Sunday, Aug. 20 at 10:30 a.m.
• Sunday, Aug. 27 at 10:30 a.m.
• Sunday, Sept. 10 at 10:30 a.m.
• Sunday, Sept. 17 at 10:30 a.m.
• Sunday, Sept. 24 at 10:30 a.m.

BOO–Tanicum – The bucolic Theatricum transforms into the haunted BOO–tanicum with the theater company’s 4th annual Halloween extravaganza:
• October, 2017 (date TBA)

About Tracey Paleo

monsterid
Tracey Paleo is Associate Editor at FootLights Magazine. She's also the Founder and Chief Editor of the arts and culture site, Gia On The Move, where she often reviews live performance events.

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