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IN-PERSON EVENT: Santa Cruz Shakespeare 2023 Season Preview

Sunday, June 11, 2023 - 6:00pm

IN-STORE EVENT: Join Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s Co-Artistic Director Mike Ryan for a sneak peek at their 2023 Season, A Summer of Legacy that runs July 8th–August 27th.

The 2023 Summer Festival will feature three productions including The Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson—an ode to the preservation story of Shakespeare's First Folio 400 years agoThe Taming of the Shrew and King Lear by William Shakespeare will round out the festival, alongside this season's Fringe show, Exit, Pursued by a Bear by Lauren Gunderson.

Performances will take place at The Audrey Stanley Grove in DeLaveaga Park. See the Santa Cruz Shakespeare website for tickets and further information:

Your registration helps us plan for your arrival and keep in touch with any changes. Thank you for registering!

Our 2023 Season – A Summer of Legacy

What lurks just below the surface of a “civilized” society?  Over the past nine years, during my tenure as Artistic Director, we have been confronted with the reality of just how tenuous our democracy is, how eager some factions of our own country are to strip away the rights of their fellow citizens, and how authority can be wielded as a weapon. The two Shakespeare plays of our 2023 season plunge us deeply into the middle of the unsettling fragility of our present moment. 

In The Taming of the Shrew, characters struggle against the roles they have been prescribed, be they gender, class, or age.  And while the results of these struggles provide some of the most hilarious moments in the canon, they also leave us with unsettling questions about the human cost of maintaining the status quo. 

King Lear charts a monarch’s disturbing descent into madness, explores how the craving for power can shatter both kingdoms and families, and paints a chilling picture of the plight of humanity in an indifferent universe.  King Lear will mark Paul Whitworth’s debut at The Grove in the title role. 

Rounding out the season is Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will.  A play that tells the funny and moving story the two actors who worked to preserve Shakespeare’s legacy with the creation of the First Folio, it is a love letter to the Bard of Avon and his plays.  2023 will mark the 400th anniversary of the printing of the First Folio, and this production will be part of a broader celebration of that achievement in conjunction with UCSC’s Shakespeare Workshop. 

It brings me great pleasure to announce that incoming artistic director Charles Pasternak and I will be playing the roles of Condell and Heminges, the men who collected Shakespeare’s texts, as we co-lead the company in my final season at the helm. Come join us in The Grove to see what the excitement is all about!

– Mike Ryan

Mike Ryan, along with Marco Barricelli and the Shakespeare Play On Board of Directors, founded Santa Cruz Shakespeare in 2014, and he has been the Artistic Director since. A 25-year veteran actor, he’s performed with regional theaters and Shakespeare festivals throughout the country. He received his MFA from UCSD and his BFA from SMU where he was a National Merit Scholar.