The 32nd season of Shakespeare Santa Cruz (SSC) opens July 23 with Shakespeare’s popular and thought-provoking comedy, The Taming of the Shrew.

In an unusual casting twist, real-life married couple Fred Arsanault and Gretchen Hall play sparring lovers Petruchio and Kate in this production, directed by Edward Morgan.

As SSC Artistic Director Marco Barricelli has noted, The Taming of the Shrew is a “fun, joyful, passionate play that is more than just a battle-of-the-sexes comedy, it’s a fascinating comment on relationships.”

All SSC shows this summer take place outdoors among the redwoods in the Sinsheimer-Stanley Festival Glen—now equipped with a brand new stage and featuring realigned seating for better viewing and a more intimate theater experience.



“This was a fantastic opportunity to take everything we’ve learned over the last years and greatly improve the audience experience,” noted SSC designer Michael Ganio.

Barricelli added: "I'm very pleased that we were able to build a new structure that offers directors, actors, and designers the space and expanse to fully execute their artistic visions."

Barricelli will return to the SSC stage in Henry V-- the final play in SSC’s making-of-a-king trilogy—which opens on August 6. Actor Charles Pasternak also returns for the title role in Henry V, as the three-year history cycle comes to a close.

This summer’s Fringe show will be Tom Jones, adapted by Jon Jory from the classic Henry Fielding novel. A bawdy and rollicking comedy, this play will be directed by SSC alumna and UCSC Theater Arts faculty member, Patty Gallagher. It makes its West Coast premiere for two performances only, August 20 and 27.

Shakespeare Santa Cruz also has a number of educational events available to the public this summer in addition to the plays.

“There’s much more to Shakespeare Santa Cruz than just attending a performance or two,” noted Barricelli. “We want our community to meet the artists, learn about the plays and processes, and have the opportunity to ask questions and have a voice in what we do.”

These events include SSC’s free discussion series at the Nickelodeon Theater in downtown Santa Cruz, where community members have the opportunity to meet SSC actors and directors as they discuss each production and answer questions from the audience.

The director and cast of Henry V
 will be at the “Noon at the Nick” series on July 19, and the director and cast of Tom Jones are scheduled for July 28. Admission is free and open to the public.

Backstage tours will also be available every Saturday from July 27 to August 31, beginning at 11:45 a.m. The cost is $5 (payable by cash or check), or free for donors contributing $75 and up. To make reservations contact Gina Marie Hayes at 831-459-5109 or gmhayes@ucsc.edu.

Tickets for the 2013 Shakespeare Santa Cruz summer festival can be purchased online at http://www.shakespearesantacruz.org/tickets/ or by calling 831-459-2159. The season runs through September 1.

For more information, visit the SSC web site.