William Shakespeare died 400 years ago, but the great playwright seems just as popular as ever. Whether you prefer Richard III to Henry V or Beatrice and Benedick to Romeo and Juliet, you’ll be able to spot his work on stages across L.A. this summer.
Check each theater company’s website for specific performance information, and remember that these productions are not children’s plays, although children are welcome. Parental discretion is advised.
The Independent Shakespeare Company (www.iscla.org) will present its Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival at Griffith Park’s Old Zoo. This summer, the theatrically inventive troupe will rock 7 p.m. performances of Richard III June 25-July 24 and The Tempest July 30-Sept. 4. Shows take place Thursday-Sunday and a good number of Wednesdays.
The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company (www.kingsmenshakespeare.org) returns to Thousand Oaks to show off the dark and light sides of Shakespeare’s works. They start off with the war drama Henry V June 24- July 10 before turning to the romantic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream July 15-31. Shows take place at California Lutheran University, 60 W. Olsen Rd., Thousand Oaks, and cost $20 for ages 18 and up.
The Theatricum Botanicum’s bucolic location (1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga; www.theatricum.com) is a lovely setting for its production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to be performed June 4-Oct. 2 in repertory with Romeo and Juliet, which the company has contemporized by setting it in East Jerusalem. Performances take place at various times, Sat.-Sun. and select other days, and tickets are $25-$38.50 adults, $10 ages 5-15.
If you prefer seeing theater indoors, the Long Beach Shakespeare Company (www.lbshakespeare.org) will stage The Merchant of Venice May 27-June 18, and Much Ado About Nothing Aug. 26-Sept. 17 inside its Richard Goad Theater (4250 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach) Tickets are $22.50 adults, $12.50 children.
One of Southern California’s local theater treasures is Shakespeare By The Sea, which brings the bard’s great plays to a great many locations. This summer, the troupe will travel from Seal Beach to Woodland Hills, San Pedro to Pasadena June 16-Aug. 20, performing summer repertory productions of Othello and Cymbeline. The shows are all free! For a complete list of performances, locations and dates, go to www.shakespearebythesea.org.