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Old Globe to revive Shakespeare in repertory

September 28, 2003|Don Shirley

Real repertory will return to San Diego's Old Globe Theatre next summer because "I stuck my neck out and I've been terribly stubborn about it," says the company's longtime leader, Craig Noel, who has worked at the Globe since 1937.

The theater presented Shakespeare in repertory during most summers from 1949 to 1984. But the policy ended because too many actors were unwilling to sacrifice sitcom salaries for the demands of rep and because Jack O'Brien, who took over as artistic director in 1981, wanted to expand the theater's other offerings, Noel says.

Since then, Noel has become jealous of the extensive rep system at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which like the Old Globe was founded in 1935. "But our productions are more interesting and better acted than theirs," he says.

He now has persuaded his colleagues to bring back a three-play festival on the alfresco Lowell Davies Festival Stage, using a core company of about 14 professional actors, assisted by graduate students.

They'll open "Antony and Cleopatra" on June 25, "As You Like It" on June 29 and "The Two Noble Kinsmen" (by John Fletcher with Shakespeare) on July 2. All three will run almost until October. With matinees of other plays in the Old Globe's two indoor spaces, theatergoers will be able to see five Old Globe productions in three days.

Darko Tresnjak, who directed the Old Globe's "Pericles" in 2002, has been named artistic director of the rep festival and will stage "Antony" and "Kinsmen."

O'Brien, still the theater's primary artistic leader, is expected to be occupied next summer preparing a musical version of the 1988 movie about con artists "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," with a score by David Yazbek of "The Full Monty," for a possible Old Globe pre-Broadway tryout in the fall.

-- Don Shirley

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