Old Hollywood meets Elizabethan England in a new revival of Two Gentleman of Verona by San Jose Repertory Theatre. The new production directed by Jeff Steitzer, transports William Shakespeare's comedy to 1920's Hollywood, where Proteus and Valentine (aka classic silent film comedian Harold Lloyd and "America's Boyfriend" and silent film idol Buddy Rogers) learn some important lessons about love and friendship. Two Gentleman of Verona plays Dec. 7-Jan. 12 with an opening night Dec. 13.
In this version of Shakespeare's early comedy, Verona becomes small town Kansas and Milan becomes Hollywood as best friends Proteus and Valentine arrive at the start of the film industry to begin their careers. The ladies they love — Silvia and Julia — become Myrna Loy and Mary Pickford (those who know their film history can guess how the plot works out) , Launce is a cross between Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin (with a constant companion, the dog Crab) and The Duke and Eglamour are the movie moguls Jesse L. Lasky and D.W. Griffith.
Andrew Heffernan is Valentine with T. Edward Webster as Proteus. Amanda Duarte and Jennifer Lee Taylor are the movie starlets, Julia and Silvia, and Benjamin Stewart and Chris Ayles are the moguls, The Duke and Eglamour. John Altieri is Launce with Charley as his faithful canine friend. Also in the cast are Andy Murray (Speed), Remi Sandri (Thurio), Maureen McVerry (Lucetta), Tom Blair (Antonio), Zach Hummell, Dale Stahl and Taylor Valentine.
San Jose Repertory Theatre is located at 101 Paseo de San Antonio between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. For reservations, call (408) 367-7255. San Jose Repertory Theatre is on the web at http://www.sjrep.com.
– By Christine Ehren