In addition to Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Nightâs Dream, a third productionâthe world premiere of The Last, Best Small Town by Latine playwright John Guerraâwill join the repertory on July 31. This is a tale of small town America set in the nearby town of Fillmore, the self-proclaimed âLast, Best Small Town in Southern California.â
Unlike most theaters in the L.A. area that stage continuous runs of a single play, Theatricum, using a company of actors, will perform each of the plays in repertory, making it possible to see all three plays in a single summer weekend.
Will Geerâs Theatricum Botanicumâs 2021 Repertory Season is sponsored by the S. Mark Taper Foundation. It has been named âOne of the 50 Coolest Places in Los Angelesâ by Buzz magazine, âOne of Southern Californiaâs most beguiling theater experiencesâ by Sunset magazine, and âBest Theater in the Woodsâ by the LA Weekly.
âThe enchantment of a midsummer night at Theatricum Botanicum [makes it] crystal clear why audiences have been driving up into the hills since Theatricumâs maiden season way back in 1973. Summer Shakespeare doesnât get any better than this,â writes StageSceneLA. Says Los Angeles magazine, âThe amphitheater feels like a Lilliputian Hollywood Bowl, with pre-show picnics and puffy seat cushions, yet we were close enough to see the stitching on the performers costumes. Grab a blanket and a bottle and head for the hills.â In 2017, Theatricum was named âone of the best outdoor theaters around the worldâ by the Daily Beast.
Theatricumâs beginnings can be traced to the early 1950s when Will Geer, a victim of the McCarthy-era Hollywood blacklist (before he became known as the beloved Grandpa on The Waltons), opened a theater for blacklisted actors and folk singers on his property in Topanga. Friends such as Ford Rainey, John Randolph and Woody Guthrie joined him on the dirt stage for vigorous performances and inspired grassroots activism, while the audiences sat on railroad ties.
Today, two outdoor amphitheaters are situated in the natural canyon ravine, where audiences are able to relax and enjoy the wilderness during an afternoon or evening performance. Theatricumâs main stage amphitheater sports a new and improved sun shade for increased audience comfort, installed with support from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Ralph M. Parsonâs Foundation.
Theatricum is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Margaret Harford Award for âsustained excellence,â which is the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circleâs highest honor.