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Shakespeare in Hollywood Brings Wit, Glamour and Loads of Laughs

February 6, 2008

Perry Smith Photo. Top: Matt Frazier and Andy Geary. Bottom: Robb Russ and Lisa McGurn

“The course of true love never did run smooth,” sets the tone for one of Shakespeare’s most celebrated and beloved plays of all time. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is the inspiration for “Shakespeare in Hollywood,” the latest farce by Ken Ludwig, which will be performed at the Johnson Theatre Feb. 20-24.

Set against the backdrop of the depression, growing anti-Semitism and Hitler’s rise in Europe, the play is filled with historical underpinnings that make the madcap farce deserving of a closer look.

It’s 1934 in Hollywood; Oberon and Puck have magically materialized on a Max Reinhardt movie set. Dazzled by the glamour of showbiz, the two are ushered onto the silver screen to play (who else?) themselves. They are joined by tinsel town legends Jimmy Cagney, Dick Powell and the mother of all gossip columnists, Louella Parsons.

Love triangles, mistaken identity and nimble dialog take audiences through the magical world of Shakespeare's famous fairies, their contemporary counterparts, and outrageous Hollywood movie stars. The undercurrent of the ongoing war between the arts and the self-proclaimed “moralists” who threaten censorship keeps this farce firmly rooted.

“Ludwig masterfully interweaves the serious issues of prejudice and censorship with Shakespeare’s timeless comedy of wayward love, and creates magic,” says director Deborah Kinghorn, a UNH professor. “He teaches us that true love, true passion for anything worthwhile, is worth struggling for.”

“Shakespeare in Hollywood” shows at 7 p.m. Feb. 20-23 and at 2 p.m. Feb. 24.

For tickets, contact the MUB ticket office, Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., at 2-2290 or online at www.unhmub.com/ticket.

Tickets are $12.50 for general admission and $10.50 for seniors, UNH ID holders and groups of 15 or more. The box office opens one hour prior to curtain in the lobby at the Paul Creative Arts Center. For more information and show times, call the theatre and dance office at 2-2919, or go to www.unh.edu/theatre-dance.

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