A Shakespeare Update

A little belated, but in honor of what we think is the Bard’s 450th Birthday, I thought I would post an updated on my posts from January and September about Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Clearly it hasn’t been a priority, but I was incredibly excited to hear that the organization has met its goals and will be offering a 2014 season.

The new Santa Cruz Shakespeare, will be offering As You Like It and The Merry Wives of Windsor this July, under the leadership of the new co-Artistic Director Mike Ryan.  For those familiar with Shakespeare Santa Cruz productions, Mike Ryan has long been a favorite actor and community participant.

While I am thrilled that amazing outdoor Shakespeare performances will continue in Santa Cruz, I will admit that this is tempered with a bit of wistfulness. I will not be in the United States this year to watch any Shakespeare performance. Perhaps, I’ll just have to return to England and catch a play at the Globe.

An end or a new beginning? Shakespeare Santa Cruz

I promise mostly to make this blog about my adventures living in Bordeaux and about my experiences with wine. But on occasion I will vent my opinions or promote other things. Or even ask for help. This is once such occasion.

I will confess Shakespeare has long been my favorite playwright and writer. I have seen countless performance, read all of the sonnets & poems and 22 of the plays (yes I know my geek flag is flying high), took a Shakespeare class in college because I could (yup it raised itself a little higher) and own several copies of the complete works.

Not too long ago I posted about Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Sack wine and a wonderful performance of Henry V. I encouraged the San Francisco Bay Area folks to go see a show and enjoy the majesty of Shakespeare’s work performed outside by an awesome team. But abruptly – before the festival was completed and without speaking to the festival staff and board of directors – the University of California Santa Cruz pulled funding and support for the program effectively ending the 32 year tradition of excellent theater. Much of the reasoning behind the statement doesn’t add up and the community of fans is hugely disappointed. You can read the university’s statement here.

I write today to spread the word that an exploratory committee has been formed to explore additional options for creating an independent, non-profit professional theater organization in Santa Cruz to continue this tradition of excellent theater. But Shakespeare Santa Cruz is more than just a theater company – they are a link to the community and an invaluable arts education asset.

If you are a fan of Shakespeare Santa Cruz, would like to know more or would like to help please email:  shakespeareplayon@yahoo.com. Despite my pending departure I will be doing all I can to continue to support Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Please join me. 

“If sack and sugar be a fault, God help the wicked!”

Wine in its many forms has been gracing tables, parties, flasks and more for hundreds of years. With technological advances and better production some things have changed, some things have stayed the same and some things have been forgotten. But in celebration of the Bard himself, Shakespeare Santa Cruz and the spirit of exploration Sones Cellars has created their very own Sack. Oxidized, fortified and sweetened – Sack was once what passed for white table wine in Elizabethan England. White wine was imported from Italy or Spain. But given the limitation of the times upon arrival in England the wine would have spoiled and been oxidized. To return it to a drinkable state it would have been fortified with either brandy or sherry and then sweetened. After doing the research the Sones’ created their own – awesome – version. Served warm, cold or mixed in a cocktail it is a fun taste of history.

Last night I joined the Sones family and the Sones Cellars Family – for a picnic and a wonderful – and Sones Cellars sponsored  – performance of Henry V in the UC Santa Cruz Sinsheimer-Stanley Festival Glen. (Shakespeare is always better when it’s performed outside, don’t you think?)


The past two seasons, Shakespeare Santa Cruz has put on performances of Henry IV Part 1 and Part 2 – the inspiration for the research, creation and bottling of the Sones Cellars’ Sack. Of course, much of the historical record about Sack comes from Falstaff’s famous drunken soliloquy in Henry IV Part 2. It follows then that this year the festival added Henry V to the line up.  If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area I highly encourage you to make the trip to Santa Cruz visit the Sones Cellars tasting room to try some Sack and enjoy a performance of either Henry V or Taming of the Shrew. I can say that Henry V was magical and I can’t wait to see Taming of the Shrew.

Click here to visit the Sones Cellars website.

Click here to learn more about Shakespeare Santa Cruz.