Sure, he's best known for creating "Brady Bunch" and "Gilligan's Island," but Sherwood Schwartz tackles the serious world of Shakespeare's Othello in The Trial of Othello, opening July 21 at Los Angeles' Theater West. The continuation of Shakespeare's tragedy began performances July 14 for a run through Aug. 13
After surviving a suicide attempt, Othello is brought to trial for the murder of his wife, Desdemona. He welcomes the death penalty, but his lawyer has other plans, hoping to get the general off on a diminished capacity defense. Iago, however, needs to testify, and that's something he refuses to do, until the trial begins to wear away at his carefully hidden motivations.
Schwartz, best remembered for devising "The Brady Bunch" and "Gilligan's Island," began writing 61 years ago for radio's "The Bob Hope Show" and "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" before moving on to television's "The Red Skelton Show" and "My Favorite Martian." His theatrical works have includes Rockers and Gilligan's Island: The Musical.
Hawthorne James stars as Othello. Also in the cast are David Brandt, Kevin Symons, Christopher Thomas, Stephen Reynolds, Ronald Porembski, Susan Priver, Lynn Pickett, Jeanne Jackson and Marvin Kaplan of "Alice" as Lodovico.
Designing The Trial of Othello are J.M. Altadonna (sets), Peter Strauss (lighting) and Charles Winston (costumes). Leesa Freed is the stage manager. Tickets are $15. Theatre West is located at 3333 Cahuenga Boulevard. For reservations, call (323) 851-7977. Theatre West is on the web at http://www.theatrewest.org.
-- By Christine Ehren