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In 'MacHomer,' One Actor Brings 'The Simpsons' to Shakespeare

Theater * Rick Miller voices about 50 of the TV show's characters in a takeoff on the Bard. Fox isn't laughing.

March 31, 2001|PHIL DAVIS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

"I never thought it would become a show in itself, but it did," Miller said. He started out performing at small fringe theater festivals in 1995. He set up the show himself, working the lights and displaying his own paintings of Simpsons characters in medieval garb. As the show grew in popularity, he added more lights and fog until it became a true multimedia experience, not "one guy on a stage doing lines."

The show was a big hit at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, where he met the cast of "The Simpsons" and creator Matt Groening. Miller said they were impressed.

But lawyers for Fox, who are notoriously protective of the copyrighted voices and images of Simpsons characters, were not amused. Miller is still negotiating with Fox for official permission to do the show.

"We're trying to work with him, but technically he's doing something we don't authorize," said Fox spokeswoman Victoria Coffman. "Fox owns those voices. Our actors can't even go out and do commercials with those voices."

Miller said "MacHomer" is his homage to "The Simpsons." "It's fun. It's silly, but it really is a tribute to both 'The Simpsons' and Shakespeare," he said. "It's certainly not meant to change your life, but it's meant as an appreciation of satire in general. It's spoken to a lot of people, so I hope I can keep doing it for a while."

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"MacHomer," Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive. 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. The 3 p.m. show is sold out, but the Barclay has added a four-performance return engagement Aug. 25-26. Ticket prices for the August shows will rise to $16-$22, but those buying in advance by Sunday will get a discount and pay the April 1 rate of $15-$20. (949) 854-4646.

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