SANTA CRUZ SHAKESPEARE 2017 3 Welcome to Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s 2017 season! Looking around, it may be hard to believe that only four years ago we were struggling to rebrand ourselves as a new and independent non-profit theatre company. Through all of the excitement and transformation it has been astonishing to experience, first-hand, the love that you, our amazing audience members and donors, have shown us. It has been the most sustaining of foods, and it has ensured our survival. So, it is beyond gratifying to find ourselves in a place where we are no longer fighting to survive, but are instead celebrating growth. As we return to a three show season, expand the Fringe, develop new educational programs, and plot the return of the holiday show, there are more reasons than ever to feel a new confidence. The 2017 season reflects this new-found strength. Unlike the past three seasons, we are exploring some of Shakespeare’s more complicated and problematic texts. These plays, with their unsettling conclusions and moral ambiguities, can be more difficult to stage, but are also, in many ways, more uniquely suited to grappling with the complexities of political and social life in our 21st century. Measure for Measure, our first ever co-production with the California Shakespeare Theater, wrestles with the nature of authority, the relationship between morality and executive power, and the politics of the body, all topics of prominence in our daily news feeds and conversations. The Two Gentlemen of Verona pits friendship against love and examines the collateral damage caused by male rivalry. Neither play has been produced by the Festival in a combined total of 44 years. Rounding out the social and political complexities of our Shakespeare offerings is a play of hilarious logistical complexity: The 39 Steps, adapted by Patrick Barlow. How can four actors recreate the Hitchcock masterpiece in front of a live audience? How wonderful to celebrate Hitchcock in Santa Cruz! Alfred Hitchcock loved this part of the world and drew inspiration for many of his films from the area, and he and his family kept a summer home for over forty years in Scotts Valley called “Heart of the Mountain.” In a long-standing tradition, we will be offering our interns a chance to shine in this year’s Fringe show: an adaptation of Voltaire’s Candide, devised and created by them and the director of the production, Kate Jopson. In addition, this year we are expanding our fringe offerings. We will also be presenting two play readings, both free to the public. The first, A Most Dangerous Woman, by Cathy Tempelsman, is an exploration of the life of author George Eliot, presented in partnership with The Dickens Universe. The second, The Night that Never Existed, by Humberto Robles, translated by Rochelle Trotter, is a partnership with The American Shakespeare Collective, and imagines a secret meeting between Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth I. Finally, I invite you to take a look at the Artistic Director Retrospective in this playbill. None of the success we now enjoy would have been possible without those fearless leaders who sparked your passion and imagination over the Festival’s 36-year history. I dedicate this season to them. They have taught me that artistry and persistence pay off…and that we have the best audiences in the world right here in Santa Cruz. Artistic director’s welcome Mike Ryan Artistic Director