Paying homage to 1950's American television sitcoms, producing artistic director Ben Donenberg updated the Bard classic. "I'm a big fan of 'I Love Lucy' and the Lucy-Ethel calamities," said Donenberg in a release. "In Merry Wives, Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Page have similar comedic mishaps with their schemes involving Falstaff, the play's unwilling villain." This year's 18th annual SF/LA Summer Festival production will perform in downtown Los Angeles' Pershing Square (July 9-26) and Palos Verdes' South Coast Botanic Garden (July 31-Aug. 10). The opening is set for July 12.
The cast includes Irwin Appel, Patricia Belcher, Isaac Bright, Tim Choate, Laurence Cohen, Honey Crawford, Gregg Daniel, Fidel Gomez, Geoffrey Lower, Judith Moreland, Patrick O'Brien, Fred Sanders, Warren Sweeney and Shana Wride.
The Merry Wives design team includes Trevor Norton (scenic and lighting), Linda C. Davisson (costumes) and Jon Gottlieb (sound). The production also features original music by David O.
Audiences are encouraged to bring blankets or low lawn chairs, as seating at both venues is "picnic style." Performances in Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive Street, are free with a canned food donation for charity. For tickets to shows at Palos Verdes' South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Blvd., and more information, call (213) 481-2273 or visit www.shakespearefestivalla.org.