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Shakespeare in Hollywood

Shakespeare in Hollywood

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A Comedy

Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and winner of The Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play of the Year. It's 1934, and Shakespeare's most famous fairies, Oberon and Puck, have magically materialized on the Warner Bros. Hollywood set of Max Reinhardt's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Instantly smitten by the glitz and glamour of show biz, the two are ushered onto the silver screen to play (who else?) themselves. With a little help from a feisty flower, blonde bombshells, movie moguls, and arrogant "asses" are tossed into loopy love triangles, with raucous results. The mischievous magic of moviedom sparkles in this hilarious comic romp. Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare in Hollywood had its world premier in 2003 at Arena Stage and won the Helen Hayes award for Best New Play of the Year.

For nine men and three women. Unit set.


"'Shakespeare in Hollywood' will charm your socks off. It left me smiling in my Amtrak aisle seat all the way home to New York."
The Wall Street Journal

"Shakespeare in Hollywood is so deliciously inventive, you'd swear Ludwig and the Bard were in cahoots. At once poignant and funny, literary and farcical, sophisticated and silly, political and fanciful, high-brow and low-brow … a delight!"
The Baltimore Sun

"Lights, camera, action -- there's plenty of it in Ken Ludwig's fantastical farce … Ludwig has constructed an amazingly dense and layered romp [and] clearly had a ball fusing Shakespearean diction with the wisecracking verbal jousting that characterized pre-World War II comedies."
The Boston Globe

"A fast, funny, entertaining night."

"Mischief, mayhem and laughter abound as the Good Theater tackles this farcical notion in Ken Ludwig's devilishly funny play "Shakespeare in Hollywood." ...There's never a dull moment in this fun-filled piece."
The Portland Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

"Wit Makes a Hit!"
The Advocate, Baton Rouge LA


Winner of the Helen Hayes Award as Best New Play of the Year.

Full Reviews

- Arena Stage Production

The Baltimore Sun

Chicago Tribune

The Wall Street Journal

- Lyric Stage, Boston Production

Boston Globe
- Monterey Production

Monterey Herald
- Umpqua Actors Community Theatre Production

Oregon News-Review

-Good Theatre Production

Portland Herald Maine Sunday Telegram

The Phoenix

Portland Press Herald

-Baton Rouge Little Theater Production
The Advocate, Baton Rouge LA


Starlets, Scandal, and Shakespeare: Haverford Alum's Play Brings the Bard to the Backlots of Hollywood by Brena McBride

Foreword to Shakespeare in Hollywood by Ken Ludwig

Illustrated Glossary to Shakespeare in Hollywood [Word Document]

Quotes about the making of the film version of A Midsummer Nights Dream by Walter Bilderback

Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Hollywood by Walter Bilderback

Shakespeare On Screen by Walter Bilderback

Shakespeare in Hollywood - Notes on Max Reinhardt by Walter Bilderback

Comedy and the Great Tradition by Ken Ludwig

Simon Reade discusses how the RSC commissioned Shakespeare in Hollywood


Origins of Shakespeare in Hollywood

Interview with Ken Ludwig on Shakespeare in Hollywood

Licensing Information

Click here.

Production Photos

Arena Stage production PC: Scott Suchman, Courtesy of Arena Stage,
directed by Kyle Donnelly
Wilma Theatre production PC: Jim Roese,
directed by Jiri Ziska
Arena Stage poster artwork by Jody Hewgill

Maggie Lacey as Olivia Darnell - Casey Biggs as Oberon (Arena Stage)

Alice Ripley as Lydia Lansing - Robert Prosky as Max Reinhardt (Arena Stage)

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Left Emily Donahoe as Puck - Casey Biggs as Oberon (Arena Stage)
RightRobert Prosky as Max Reinhardt - Everett Quinton as Will Hays (Arena Stage)

Rick Foucheux as Jack Warner - Michael Skinner as Daryl -Robert Prosky as Max Reinhardt - Alice Ripley as Lydia Lansing (Arena Stage)

Ellen Karas as Louella Parsons - Adam Richman as Jimmy Cagney (Arena Stage)

The Wilma Theater Production:

Michael Sharon as Oberon - Caroline Tamas as Puck (The Wilma Theater)

Shakespeare in Hollywood at The Maret School
Director, Rachel Lurie Gayer
PC: Charles Fischl:

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Full Cast

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Left: Anna Smeragliuolo as Lydia Lansing and Doug Eacho as Dick Powell
Right: Katherine Haselkorn as Olivia Darnell

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Malcolm Scott as Oberon and Emily Boland as Puck

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From left to right: Kendra Mitchell, Betsy Paul, Rebecca Rubin, Lily Lamb-Atkinson, and Gabrielle Watkins

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