Cal Shakes Celebrates 45th Season with Two ‘Best’ Works, Two Modern Classics

(Contributed Photo)
Acclaimed director Tyne Rafaeli returns to Cal Shakes to helm Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights’ Dream, on stage May 22 – June 9.

    The stars shine over California Shakespeare Theater’s majestic hills this summer as the company celebrates its 45th season at the Bruns Amphitheater. Company Artistic Director Eric Ting says he is excited about the big plans for the season’s productions.
    “We’re bringing back two beloved plays by William Shakespeare that collectively represent the best of his works, and we’re pairing them with two modern classics: one old, one very new. It’s a season of glorious comedy, stark tragedy and complex humanity that grapples with the timeless question: How are we responsible to one another?” said Ting.
    Opening the 2019 season is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Tyne Rafaeli. The show runs May 22 -June 9. Ting says he is thrilled to welcome Rafaeli back to the Bruns after her successful 2017 run of Measure for Measure.
    According to Rafaeli, A Midsummer Night’s Dream centers around four lovers who escape into the woods and find themselves entangled in a world turned upside-down. When it comes to love, what’s fantasy and what’s reality? Tricks abound and wires cross as they seek escape from (or surrender to) the clutches of love.
    Rafaeli is a British-American director based in New York who directs classics, new plays and musicals in London and the United States.  Her recent productions have been at the Roundabout Theatre Company, Playwright’s Horizons, the Geffen Playhouse, Goodspeed and Juilliard. Rafaeli is a 2016-18 Time Warner Directing Fellow at the Women’s Project Theatre and received the 2014 SDC Sir John Gielgud Fellowship for Classic Direction.
     Ting directs The Good Person of Szechwan by Bertolt Brecht, the second show of Cal Shakes’ season running July 3-21. It is the first time Cal Shakes has produced a Brechtian work, which is a fable for current times exploring the lengths one must go to survive in the modern world.
    Ting is introducing Cal Shakes’ audiences to the visions of two new directors this season. Megan Sandberg-Zakian directs the world premiere of House of Joy by Madhuri Shekar, produced as part of Cal Shakes’ New Classics Initiative (NCI), running Aug. 14 to Sept. 1.  
    The NCI seeks to engage living writers in dialogue with classical works. Shekar’s work got the attention of Cal Shakes at the 2018 Bay Area Playwrights Festival and is an action-adventure romance set in a harem at the beginning of the end of the Mughal Empire.
    The final show of the season, Shakespeare’s Macbeth directed by Cal Shakes newcomer, Victor Malana Moag, runs Sept. 18 to Oct.  6. Determined to fulfill a prophecy of greatness, Macbeth’s hunger for power consumes all he holds dear in a cautionary tale of unbridled ambition.
    All shows are at the Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda. Single ticket prices vary from $39-$63 based on the performance.  Discounts are available for seniors, youth and full-time K-12 educators. Prices for season packages start at $132.  For information or to purchase tickets by phone, call the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510-548-9666. For more information, go to

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