THE $5 SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

Critics

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Reviews: 9

Audience

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Reviews: 1

THE 6TH ACT
Presents A World Premiere Play!
THE $5 SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

Written by MATTHEW LEAVITT
Directed by JOEL ZWICK

The 99-Seat Skewering begins Friday, February 7
at Theatre 68 in North Hollywood!

“Do we really need a publicist?”

THE 6th ACT presents a world premiere comedy, a heartfelt love letter to all things 99-seat theatre, THE $5 SHAKESPEARE COMPANY, written by Matthew Leavitt (The Boomerang Effect) and directed by Joel Zwick (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” Serrano The Musical). THE $5 SHAKESPEARE COMPANY will open on Friday, February 7 at 8pm and run through Sunday, March 8, 2020 at Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd. in Hollywood.

THE $5 SHAKESPEARE COMPANY earnestly and hilariously exposes the trials and tribulations of doing intimate theatre in Los Angeles. Through a fictional down-and-out Shakespeare company in Hollywood, this play examines the significance (and insignificance) of doing 99-seat theatre for little-to-no pay, when there are more people on stage than in the audience, in a town obsessed with film and television. Can art have meaning if it fails to connect to an audience, and likewise can our lives have meaning if we fail to connect with each other?
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM AND CAST

MATTHEW LEAVITT (Playwright) a life-long Los Angeles native, is an award-winning playwright, director, librettist, and the co-artistic director of The 6th Act. He most recently directed their critically acclaimed production of Hamlet. His play The Boomerang Effect (published by Samuel French) had hugely successful runs at both The Odyssey and The Zephyr Theatres, and has enjoyed productions throughout the US and UK. In 2013, he was commissioned by LA Opera to write the libretto for a new opera Orpheus, with award-winning classical and film composer Nathan Wang. Leavitt have also completed their second LA Opera commission, a new opera The Wreck of the Miranda. Other directing credits include: Double Play at the Stephanie Feury Theatre, Barfly Shakespeare (The 6thAct), Twelfth Night (Village Green Productions), The Taming of the Shrew (Village Green Productions), Arrival (Sci-Fest LA), Human History (Sci-Fest LA), Crossed Currents (JANM Tateuchi Democracy Forum), Ladies of State (Working Stage), Goes The Weasel (Ammunition Theatre Company), as well as assistant director/dramaturg for Romeo and Juliet at A Noise Within.

JOEL ZWICK (Director) Mr. Zwick directed “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. Recent films include “Fat Albert” and “Elvis Has Left the Building.” Mr. Zwick directed the Broadway production of George Gershwin Alone at The Helen Hayes Theatre. He and Hershey Felder have also collaborated on Monsieur Chopin, Beethoven As I Knew Him and Maestro. Mr. Zwick began his theatrical career at La Mama E.T.C., as director of the La Mama Plexus. He has directed on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Broadway touring companies. Previous New York productions have included Dance With Me (Tony nomination), Shenandoah (Broadway national tour), Oklahoma (national tour) and Cold Storage (American Place Theater). He acted in the original New York production of MacBird. He directed Esther (Promenade Theater, NY), Merry-Go-Round (Chicago and Las Vegas), Last Chance Saloon and Woycek (West End, London). Currently, Mr. Zwick is recognized as one of Hollywood’s most prolific director of episodic television, having the direction of over 650 episodes to his credit. Mr. Zwick has taught drama at Yale University, Brooklyn College, Queens College, Wheaton College, and the University of Southern California. He is a graduate (B.A., M.A.) of Brooklyn College.
LIZA SENECA (Co-Artistic Director, “The 6th Act”) is originally from The Netherlands, but has called Los Angeles home for many years now. An actress, producer, and director, she has appeared on countless LA, NYC, and regional stages. Select theater credits include Ameryka (Center Theatre Group/Critical Mass), The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Cloud 9 at Antaeus, Pericles, Henry VI, Parts 1, 2, & 3, and The Merchant of Venice with the Porters of Hellsgate, Macbeth (Colorado Shakespeare Festival), Pulp Shakespeare (NYC and LA Premieres), Collected Stories (The Group Rep), Matthew Leavitt's The Boomerang Effect (World Premiere - Odyssey), A Shayna Maidel (ICT), Much Ado About Nothing (Kentucky Shakespeare) and most recently An Evening of Betrayal (The 6th Act). She is a member of both The Antaeus Company and The Porters of Hellsgate. She has been seen on television in recurring roles on The Following and Bucket & Skinner’s Epic Adventures, Grey’s Anatomy, Lie to Me, Monk, Big Love, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and Alias. Her film work includes Night Eyes, Zwartboek (Black Book), and The Drama Club, among others. Her voice can be heard in numerous commercials, industrials, and films, including Ready Player One, Finding Dory and Lego Batman. She is the co-creator and producer of the Bard tribute series This Week in Shakespeare -www.youtube.com/weeklyshakes

The cast of THE $5 SHAKESPEARE COMPANY will feature (in alphabetical order): Kenajuan Bentley (Grimm ) as “Randall,” Emerson Collins (Rent on Fox, Bravo's The People's Couch, Del Shores' Southern Baptist Sissies) as “Everett,” Carolina Espiro (FBI on CBS) as “Elena,” Natalie Lander (The Middle on ABC, Lopez on TV Land) as “Spencer,” Luke McClure (Del Shores' Yellow, 6TH ACT’s Hamlet) as “Louis,” Cindy Nguyen (Diana of Dobson's at Antaeus) as “Camille,” Andy Robinson (“Deep Space Nine,” Julius Weezer) as “Chester,” Liza Seneca (Ameryka at The Kirk Douglas, Caucasian Chalk Circle at Antaeus) as “Lillian,” Adam J. Smith (12 Angry Men and Intimate Apparel at The Pasadena Playhouse) as “Jacob” and Jamie Zwick (Time Stands Still at The Lounge) as “Noel.”

The Design Team for THE $5 SHAKESPEARE COMPANY is as follows: Set Design by Chris Winfield; Lighting Design by Chu-hsuan Chang; Sound Design by Nick Neidorf; Costume Design by Ashphord Jacoway. The Production Stage Manager is MacKenzie Smith. THE $5 SHAKESPEARE COMPANY is produced by Matthew Leavitt and Liza Seneca.
SCHEDULE AND PRICING

THE $5 SHAKESPEARE COMPANY will open on Friday, February 7 at 8pm and run through Sunday, March 8, 2020 at Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood.

Performances are Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm.

Ticket prices are $35.

For tickets, please visit https://fivedollarshakespeare.eventbrite.com
to purchase tickets online or to view complete schedule.

Reviews

Michael Van Duzer

The best parodies come from not only a detailed understanding of the subject but also a true affection for it. Playwright Matthew Leavitt proves that he has both affection and understanding for the Los Angeles small theatre performer in his new play, “The $5 Shakespeare Company.”

sweet - Michael Van Duzer - Show Mag - ...read full review


Avatar

Author Leavitt's  unfettered love of theatre shines as each of the company members bring their hopes and dreams to light in  well crafted exposition.

...With moments of true pathos, this one is mostly for fun and succeeds.

Will the company survive departures and success?  This is a late report, but heading to NoHo for this show is a must for lovers of the local scene.  Don't miss it.

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Joel Zwick does an excellent job of defining each actor while allowing the ensemble mood to take over. The actors cleverly dig into their characters, probably at least partially based on how the reality of the script echoes their daily lives.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines


Avatar

Meta stories often are complicated to pull off. The contrived nature of theater is put directly under the microscope by the play itself. But “The $5 Shakespeare Company” proves to be cleverly self-referential, bursting with humor that pulls the audience into the world of theater actors. It’s a love letter to Shakespeare and to theater lovers.

sweet - Nikki Munoz - LA Times - ...read full review


Marc Wheeler - Stage and Cinema

In a climate where even Equity — the stage actors’ own union — is doing their darndest to make it nearly impossible for 99-seat theaters to survive (including those producing stellar, innovative work), this particular “love letter” isn’t helping.

sour - Marc Wheeler - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

A non-stop mix of hilarious backstage shenanigans and thoughtful character development, The $5 Shakespeare Company hits it out of the park in lovingly parodying the world of 99- seat theatre. The world premiere production of Matthew Leavitt’s spot-on script combines zany action and rapid-fire wit with excellent performances from its talented cast.

sweet - Mary Mallory - Tolucan Times - ...read full review


Avatar

The play is a love letter to L.A. theatre, Shakespeare, and all the artists who put up with less-than-desirable circumstances out of their yearning to perform. The $5 Shakespeare Company shares that feeling of magic that comes with performing stories that have been around long before our time, and which will remain long after we are gone.

sweet - Julia Stier - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

Overall, I found the play entertaining and quite funny — and one that even made me laugh out loud (which is rare). The performances were strong, and the story was in essence a love letter to the people that do intimate theatre for rewards that are certainly not monetary, but are more spiritual. I think it is well worth seeing, especially if you (like me) are an audience member that loves the creativity that only small theatres can bring.

sweet - Daniel Faigin - Observations Along the Road - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

Leavitt has written some fun characters and the cast ably inhabits their roles under the assured direction of Joel Zwick. Besides painting a truer-than-life exhibit of the 99-seat theatre scene and its inhabitants (doing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Hawaiian shirts, muumuus, leis and flip flops) Leavitt also pokes some satiric jibes at Scientology. Cell phones on stage, oiled hunks causing their leading ladies to break out in hives, cheap props and cheesy costumes—they are all here.

sweet - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Previous The 6th Act productions have showcased the company’s knack for innovative Shakespeare, and The $5 Shakespeare Company proves itself every bit the winner. Simply put, this love letter to zero-budget L.A. theater is as entertaining and invigorating as L.A. theater gets.

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Michael Van Duzer

The best parodies come from not only a detailed understanding of the subject but also a true affection for it. Playwright Matthew Leavitt proves that he has both affection and understanding for the Los Angeles small theatre performer in his new play, “The $5 Shakespeare Company.”

sweet - Michael Van Duzer - Show Mag - ...read full review


Avatar

Author Leavitt's  unfettered love of theatre shines as each of the company members bring their hopes and dreams to light in  well crafted exposition.

...With moments of true pathos, this one is mostly for fun and succeeds.

Will the company survive departures and success?  This is a late report, but heading to NoHo for this show is a must for lovers of the local scene.  Don't miss it.

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Avatar

Meta stories often are complicated to pull off. The contrived nature of theater is put directly under the microscope by the play itself. But “The $5 Shakespeare Company” proves to be cleverly self-referential, bursting with humor that pulls the audience into the world of theater actors. It’s a love letter to Shakespeare and to theater lovers.

sweet - Nikki Munoz - LA Times - ...read full review


Marc Wheeler - Stage and Cinema

In a climate where even Equity — the stage actors’ own union — is doing their darndest to make it nearly impossible for 99-seat theaters to survive (including those producing stellar, innovative work), this particular “love letter” isn’t helping.

sour - Marc Wheeler - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

A non-stop mix of hilarious backstage shenanigans and thoughtful character development, The $5 Shakespeare Company hits it out of the park in lovingly parodying the world of 99- seat theatre. The world premiere production of Matthew Leavitt’s spot-on script combines zany action and rapid-fire wit with excellent performances from its talented cast.

sweet - Mary Mallory - Tolucan Times - ...read full review


Avatar

The play is a love letter to L.A. theatre, Shakespeare, and all the artists who put up with less-than-desirable circumstances out of their yearning to perform. The $5 Shakespeare Company shares that feeling of magic that comes with performing stories that have been around long before our time, and which will remain long after we are gone.

sweet - Julia Stier - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

Overall, I found the play entertaining and quite funny — and one that even made me laugh out loud (which is rare). The performances were strong, and the story was in essence a love letter to the people that do intimate theatre for rewards that are certainly not monetary, but are more spiritual. I think it is well worth seeing, especially if you (like me) are an audience member that loves the creativity that only small theatres can bring.

sweet - Daniel Faigin - Observations Along the Road - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

Leavitt has written some fun characters and the cast ably inhabits their roles under the assured direction of Joel Zwick. Besides painting a truer-than-life exhibit of the 99-seat theatre scene and its inhabitants (doing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Hawaiian shirts, muumuus, leis and flip flops) Leavitt also pokes some satiric jibes at Scientology. Cell phones on stage, oiled hunks causing their leading ladies to break out in hives, cheap props and cheesy costumes—they are all here.

sweet - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Previous The 6th Act productions have showcased the company’s knack for innovative Shakespeare, and The $5 Shakespeare Company proves itself every bit the winner. Simply put, this love letter to zero-budget L.A. theater is as entertaining and invigorating as L.A. theater gets.

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Joel Zwick does an excellent job of defining each actor while allowing the ensemble mood to take over. The actors cleverly dig into their characters, probably at least partially based on how the reality of the script echoes their daily lives.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines