Shakespeare Santa Cruz (SSC) artistic director Marco Barricelli announced the company’s 2011 lineup today, noting some exciting new developments as SSC heads into its 30th anniversary season.

“To celebrate our first 30 years, I am thrilled to bring back a celebrated production from our past, to embark on a three-year cycle of history plays, and to announce the return of our annual holiday musical co-produced with the UCSC Theater Arts Department,” said Barricelli.

“I am also pleased to announce a renewed partnership with Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, where SSC last performed in 1992,” he added.

The season will open with an updated version of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors--one of the most popular productions in SSC’s history--directed by Danny Scheie in the indoor Mainstage Theater. Former artistic director of SSC from 1993 to 1995, Scheie is currently on the faculty of the Theater Arts Department.

Playing in the outdoor Festival Glen will be The Three Musketeers adapted by Linda Alper, Douglas Langworthy, and Penny Metropulos, based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas, and directed by Art Manke (2008’s Bach at Leipzig). 

Also playing in the Glen will be Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part One, directed by Scott Wentworth (2009’s Love’s Labor’s Lost). 

Barricelli noted that this will mark the beginning of a three-year cycle of Shakespeare’s history plays known as the “Henriad,” which will continue in 2012 with Henry IV, Part Two, and conclude in 2013 with Henry V.

“The history plays feature some of the most dramatic storytelling in the canon, and I think it will be very exciting for our audience to follow this story over the next three seasons,” he said.

The annual Fringe show--featuring SSC’s acting interns--will round out the season in the Sinsheimer-Stanley Festival Glen. This year’s production will be The Brothers Menaechmus by Plautus, directed by theater arts professor/actress Patty Gallagher (2009’s The School for Fiancé(e)s).

After the close of this year’s summer season, SSC’s production of The Comedy of Errors will move to Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, where it will have an extended run from September 9  to 18 in the 1200-seat, outdoor Lilian Fontaine Garden Theatre. 

Barricelli noted that SSC and Montalvo Arts Center have a history of collaboration going back two decades, when SSC transferred several productions there during the early '90s. 

“Renewing our relationship with Montalvo Arts Center is a hugely important development in growing our institution and broadening our reach to audiences outside of Santa Cruz County,” Barricelli observed. “This is an exciting first step in what I hope will be a long and very fruitful partnership.”

  --Annual Holiday Musical and Benefit Performances to Return in Fall--

The ever popular SSC holiday show returns in 2011 after a two-year break with A Year With Frog and Toad--a family-friendly musical based on the “Frog and Toad” books by Arnold Lobel.

The show played 88 performances on Broadway in 2003 and was nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

A co-production with the UCSC Theater Arts Department, A Year With Frog and Toad will run from November 18 to December 11 in the Mainstage Theater.

The collaboration between SSC and Theater Arts on a holiday show began in 1997, under former artistic director Paul Whitworth, and continued until 2009 when budget cuts forced a two-year hiatus.

“I’m really pleased that we can bring the holiday show back this year,” said Theater Arts chair David Lee Cuthbert. “The holiday show is a wonderful opportunity for our students to gain experience working with a professional company, and I know it’s a tradition loved by the community.”

And longtime Oregon Shakespeare Festival actor Robin Goodrin Nordli will bring her original, one-woman show Bard Babes to the Mainstage Theater on November 19 and 20 for SSC’s second annual benefit performance for its education and internship programs. 

Also coming up: Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s 30th birthday bash on Cooper Street in downtown Santa Cruz on Saturday, April 16, from 1 to 5 p.m. The event will be free and open to the public. Stay tuned for more details!

For more information about the 2011 Shakespeare Santa Cruz season, go to shakespearesantacruz.org, or call the UCSC Ticket Office at (831) 459-2159.