Cardenio

Bonjour Citygaragistes,

Tickets are on sale now for the first production of 2023: “Cardenio,” based on a lost play of Shakespeare. As we told you last week, we will now be doing performances on Thursdays, which will be pay-what-you-can at the door (or full price if you want to make reservations and guarantee your seats). There will be a preview on Friday, February 24th with complimentary champagne, and our traditional City Garage pot luck buffet on opening night, Saturday, February 25th. Make your reservations now to join us!

Cardenio tickets at TicketLeap

Cardenio by Stephen Greenblatt and Charles L. Mee
February 24 – March 3.26.23

What could be better than a wedding party in the hills of sunny Italy? What could go wrong? It turns out, just about everything in this re-imagining of a lost play of Shakespeare’s by noted Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt and Obie Award-winning playwright Charles L. Mee. Come join us for this romantic adventure as three mis-matched couples struggle to sort themselves out—even the newly married bride and groom! Anselmo invites his closest friends to his mother’s house in Tuscany for an intimate celebration. Uncertain of his young bride Camila’s love, he persuades his best man to put her to the test. Her furious reaction, when she finds out, manages to send all three couples into confusion as their own conflicts come out in the open—with results that at first seem disastrous, but, of course, end happily. Working from such texts as exist for this “holy grail” of Shakespeare lovers, Greenblatt and Mee have crafted a joyful play with all the hallmarks of Shakespeare’s great comedies: playful, sensual, sexy, filled with exuberant language, an intoxicating affirmation of the power of love—even if it begins in confusion.

Nudity.

And merci a final time to all our generous supporters who helped us toward matching our new grant of $27,000 from the California Arts Council: Kasey Esser and Joel Drazner. It’s not too late if you want to join them. Please help us make it the rest of the way.

California Arts Council Grant campaign.

Love,

Frederique

The Penelopiad

Bonjour Citygaragistes,

It’s the last weekend for “The Penelopiad.” Don’t miss it! We were sold out last weekend so if you haven’t made your reservations, do it now. Critics have been saying some wonderful things:

Top Ten! Recommended!
“To see a cast of 13 women onstage is a delight, and to see 11 of them metamorphose into a raft of ducks, a ship, a group of weavers, a pair of sacrificial animals, and more — feels like a modern yet anciently rooted chorus at its best and is a credit to Frédérique Michel’s choreography and direction.”
Amanda L. Andrei, Stage Raw

“Yet another amazing and arousing production at City Garage Theatre retelling the story of the Trojan War. With choreography, singing and nudity… plenty of it!”
Edward Goldman, Art Matters

“What really makes up the beating heart of this production are the twin beats of ritual and theme. In a true echo of Greece’s ancient theatre, much here is made of dance and masks….The way the cast members became ships, became waves, became ghosts, became slaughtered animals, etc. was part of how director Frederique Michel brought a frankly difficult play to life….A wonderful dive into the imagination.”

David McDowell Blue, The World Through Night Tinted Glasses

“Approaches the “hallelujah” level!”
Don Shirley, Angeles Stage

“Masterful… The Penelopiad stands out as one of City Garage’s most memorable productions.”

-Will Manus, Total Theater.com

“A wonderful all-female ensemble….directorially brilliant.”

-Joseph Hazani, A Dilettante

“The Penelopiad receives a bracing, audacious performance as Santa Monica’s City Garage returns to full swagger….The adaptation is a corker….fragrant, dark, and bitter with an eye-opening kick. “

– Ravi Narasimhan, Backscatter

“In The Penelopiad at CityGarage it is the women who finally illuminate the actual tragedy of Homer’s epic. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!”

-Tracey Paleo, Gia on the Move
MARGARET ATWOOD’S, THE PENELOPIAD at City Garage

Get Your Tickets now for the final weekend!

Penelopiad Tickets

Please note that while masks and proof of COVID-19 vaccination are no longer required at City Garage, both are strongly recommended for the safety of our performers, staff, and other audience members.

Help us make our Match!

Thanks to all who have contributed so far toward our goal of $27,000 to match the new grant we received from the Caflifornia Arts Council. Merci to our new donors of this last week, Elizabeth Oakes, Samuel Goldstein, and Roger Director, So far, thanks to all of you, we’ve raised $11,750.

Ruth Flinkman and Ben Marandy
Kat Adibi (in memory of Bill Moynihan)
Anonymous
Jeff Atik
Holly and Harold Dunnigan
Peggy Flood
Emyr Gravell
David Tillman
Ann Wang
Michelle and Curt Wittig
Talma Zelitzki
Lisa and Bill Gray
Nina Kamberos
Pamela St. Clair Johnson
Ann Bronston
Berta Finkelstein and Bill Claiborn
Tom Laskey
Ernest Tam
Myron Meisel
Steve Diskin
Lindsie Carlson
Philip Brandes
Ravi Narasimhan
Sharon and Chester Graine
Rafaele Commitante
Geraldine Fuentes
Elizabeth Oakes and Samuel Goldstein
Roger Director

Can you please, please help us get the rest of the way before the end of the month? Make your gift by following this link:

California Arts Council Grant campaign.

And don’t forget to support us on Patreon and get access to our whole library of City Garage Classics.

Here’s the link to our Patreon Page.

Merci, and see you soon at City Garage!

Love,

Frederique 👠👠

Beach People

Bonjour Citygaragistes,

Join us at the beach for sun and fun with our sexy cast for the final weekend of “Beach People.” It’s been a hit with both audiences and critics. Don’t miss your last chance to see it before it leaves the stage.

Top Ten! Recommended!

“Michel’s staging balances the humor and pathos with equal panache and her cast does not equivocate. Beyer and Thompson hold our sympathy as the angst-ridden couple, and they deliver Duncombe’s machine-gun dialogue with skill and flamboyance.”
Stage Raw

WOW!

“Impressively acted by a skin-revealing cast of four….Amazing…a hoot!”
Stage Scene LA

Highly Recommended!
Theatre in LAOn Stage Los Angeles

“Who ever heard of an existentialist rom com?….This is a fun idea. More though, it is a funny show….both broad and subtle….Genuinely delightful as well as silly (and painfully true).”
The World Through Night Tinted Glasses

“A fast paced comical drama…leaning toward a lot of life’s questions that hold no answers. And that’s the best part!”
Accessibly Live Off-Line

“Where is happiness found if not on a beach? It is that irony that is the center-piece to the theatrical excitement and excellently florid script of Beach People….which sings in the laughable absurdity of being inundated in such a technologically complex world whereby no one has any idea of how any of it all works.”
— Joseph Hazani, A Dilettante

If you haven’t got your tickets yet, get them today!

Reservations at TicketLeap
Proof of vaccination and masks required.

City Garage Underground: Final two shows of “Somebody Somewhere” by Anthony Sannazzaro
And don’t miss the last two performances of “Somebody Somewhere,” the first in our new City Garage Underground series. Written and directed Anthony Sannazzaro, the piece centers on a young man reliving the defining moments of his life and a man and woman dealing with the grief of loss. Last two shows this Wednesday and Thursday, September 7th and 8th . Here is a link for tickets:

Reservations at TicketLeap

Proof of vaccination and masks required for all performances at City Garage.

Merci, and see you soon at City Garage!

Love,

Frederique 👠👠

The Birthday Party

Bonjour Citygaragistes,

Only two performances left of “The Birthday Party.” If you haven’t seen it yet, this is your last chance!

“My friends, I urge you to see this challenging and inspiring performance of The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter. Superb acting and stage directing in an intimate space with only a few dozen seats. You can still buy tickets for this performance for the month of July. I hope you take the time to enjoy it.”

–Edward Goldman, Art Matters

“This production knocked it out of the park.”

–Night Tinted Glasses

“The Birthday Party is open for a lot of interpretations for its real meanings. Even if one doesn’t win in this guessing game, the stage presentation at City Garage makes great theater as viewed on its intimate stage.”

–Accessibility Live Onstage

Top Ten, Recommended!

The Birthday Party was not intended to be a realistic depiction of everyday life among working class Brits; instead, it was meant to relay awareness of the dark oppressive forces that lie beneath the surface of daily living….Much of the humor and pure entertainment in this production is reflected around Flood’s utterly engaging persona, a beacon amidst the baleful shadows and apocalyptic themes…an adept, well-paced production…a tale of authoritarianism run amuck.”

–Deborah Klugman, Stage Raw

“City Garage has revisited The Birthday Party in a splendid production that captures Pinter’s specialty as a playwright: grotesque naturalism wrapped around a core of menace and depravity…. superb acting and directing.”

–Will Manus, Total Theater

Make your reservations now!
Buy Tickets Now
Please note our current COVID protocols.

And merci to our many donors who have added more candles to our cake.


Picture of a Birthday Cake

Please join them with your donation of $100 to add another candle. Can we get one for each of our last 35 years? Only twelve more to go. Here’s a link you can follow to add yours to the cake:


Birthday Candles




Coming August 5th “Beach People” by Charles A. Duncombe.

Tickets now on sale!

Close your eyes and listen to the sound of the waves, feel the sun on your skin, have a pina colada, smell the coconut oil. A couple baking happily on the sand seem to have found paradise until their life is turned upside down by a beautiful girl in bikini who has a thing for fruit salad and eastern philosophy. And what about the handsome waiter in a speedo? This is how a day at the beach turns into existential panic. Two floundering people struggle to figure it all out—literally—in this new comedy about love, sex, and the meaning of life by award-winning playwright Charles A. Duncombe.

https://city-garage.ticketleap.com/beach-people/

Animal Farm

This week on “Animal Farm” Steven talks with Roger Q. Mason, playwright of Lavendar Men, opening next week at Skylight Theatre/Playwrights’ Arena.

A Tribute

It is with great sadness that we share with you that this last week we lost one of our dear friends and long-time company members, the very talented, bright young woman and mother of twins, Liz Hight. Here is one of her great performances, in Eugene Ionesco’s The Lesson. She will be missed by her family and friends.

Watch The Lesson

Merci, and see you soon at City Garage

Love,

Frederique 👠👠

Voices from Ukraine

As part of the Worldwide Ukrainian Play Readings Project, a global effort to raise humanitarian aide for the people of Ukraine, more than a hundred theatre companies around the world have presented over 170 readings of 22 plays by Ukrainian playwrights, all of them written since the war began. Here is the reading City Garage presented on May 15th. If you want to support this cause, here are links to some charities on the ground in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Emergency Performing Arts Fund (https://www.uepaf.org.ua/)
Children’s stories (https://voices.org.ua/en/childrens-stories/)
Humanitarian aid for Ukraine (https://www.lphr.org/en/humanitaere-hilfe-ukraine/)

Here’s the video of the reading:

Thanks again to the donors who supported the reading:

Chopper Bernet, Nathan Birnbaum, Holly and Harold Dunnigan, Anne Guillen, Lisa and Bill Gray, Jana Hatch, Garv Manocha, Roger Marheine, Graciela Markarian, Myron Meisel, Bottara Kahn Nabaie, Veronique Pascal, Sirpa Raitanen, Laurel Schmidt, Pamela St. Clair-Johnson, Michael Toman, Gustav Vintas.

“Endgame” by Samuel Beckett

Bonjour Citygaragistes,

It’s the last weekend for Samuel Beckett’s “Endgame!” Don’t miss a chance to see this wonderful and haunting show. Make your reservations today!

Buy Tickets Now

“Top Ten” – Recommended! Stage Raw

“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.” This line from Samuel Beckett’s grim yet witty one-act, a classic of the existentialist “Theatre of the Absurd” canon, may best sum up the playwright’s bleak philosophy. Laughter at those less happy than us – at least for now – may be our only solace in the face of the inevitable. What with the pandemic and Putin, what better way to spend an evening?….Director Frédérique Michel has a knack for comic timing, exemplified with Clov’s business with sundry props and the characters’ flippant comments, some of which Beckett uses to teasingly suggest that his characters are in on the bizarre gag. And the ensemble is well matched for its depiction of a dysfunctional family – and world – on its last – whether missing, useless, or damaged – legs.”

“How We Buried Stalin” – Russian dissident playwright Artur Solomonov on “Animal Farm”

Also, this week on a special episode of “Animal Farm,” Steven talks with Russian playwright Artur Solomonov who’s controversial play “How We Buried Josef Stalin” was dropped by the Moscow theater that commissioned it under the pressure of Putin’s regime. Steven has an extended conversation with the playwright about the nightmares taking place in both Ukraine and Russia and how Solomonov’s play explores the recent revival of Stalin worship in Russia and what that might portend. Please watch.
Animal Farm


Refugee Support for Ukraine

In 2000 we did a production about human rights abuses in Chechnya called “Atrocities.” Tragically, the same thing is now playing out all over again before the world’s horrified eyes. We thought we would offer the production online for the next few weeks, as well as the text. Please show your support of the millions of displaced citizens of Ukraine by giving directly to UNICEF, Amnesty International, or the charity of your choice. Here are links:

UNICEF USA Official Site – Help Children in Ukraine

https://www.amnestyusa.org

Watch the City Garage Classic production “Atrocities”

Purchases of the text made through our website will be forwarded to the charity of your choice. Just give us instructions at citygarage@citygarage.org.


Merci, and we look forward to seeing you at City Garage.

Love,

Frederique

“Hughie” by Eugene O’Neill

Hughie promotional post card

Bonjour Citygaragistes,

It’s opening weekend at last at City Garage! Eugene O’Neill’s late masterpiece, “Hughie” It’s been long time coming and we’re so grateful that so many of you have shown us so much support during this extended shutdown. But we finally resume live, in-person performance this weekend and we hope to have many of you with us for these three special, limited-seating performances: Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm, and Sunday at 4:00pm–October 8th, 9th and 10th. Proof of vaccination and masks will be required. There are still some seats available, so if you’d like to attend in person please write to us at citygarage@citygarage.org. Let us know which night you’d like to come, and how many seats. We will send you a confirmation along with a link to Paypal for payment in advance. Tickets are $30.

If you’d like a little taste of the show, here is a trailer on YouTube.

And this weekend we start our new partnership with the nationwide streaming service, Broadway on Demand. “Hughie” opens nationally on the same night as it does here in Santa Monica, Friday, October 8th and it will run through November 14th. Once it opens you can stream it any time you like during those dates. Tickets are $15 and they’re available now. Here is the link:

Broadway on Demand

And of course there is a new episode of our weekly talk show about theater and politics with Steven Leigh Morris, “Animal Farm.” This week Steven talks to Marc Antonio Pritchett, Co-Artistic Director of Sacred Fools, one of LA’s most dynamic theater companies.

Animal Farm

Be a Patreon! Your support means so much and can start as low as just $2 a month! Help keep us going!
Here’s the link to our Patreon Page.

Stay safe, get vaccinated, and we look forward to seeing you for “Hughie”—either through streaming or at City Garage!

Love,

Frederique

The Ann Bronston Story Project

Bonjour Citygaragistes,

This weekend on the City Garage YouTube channel, we’re happy to present “The Ann Bronston Story Project,” a selection of stories written by company member Ann Bronston and performed by Troy Dunn, Lindsay Plake, and Martha Duncan. They are stories of love, loss, sex, and family that unravel the secret longings and conflicts that can both torment and transform us. I hope you will check them out. And on our web series “Animal Farm: Conversations on Theater and Politics with Steven Leigh Morris and Guests,” Steven talks with Gary Grossman, Artistic Director of the Skylight Theater about the continuing lobbying efforts to pass California Senate Bill 805 to help small nonprofits adapt to the requirements of AB5—especially LA’s alternative theaters.

Here is a link to talk show:
https://citygarage.org/animalfarm/

Correction: In last week’s episode we incorrectly identified our guest Angela J. Davis as a prosecutor for the LA County Superior Court. Our apologies. She was formerly a Federal Prosecutor for the Central District of California, and is now serving as a Commissioner for the LA County Superior Court’s Family Division.

And here is a link to “The Ann Bronston Story Project.” It will be showing on our City Garage YouTube channel from 8:00pm this Friday, June 11th, through noon on Friday, June 18th.

https://www.youtube.com/c/citygaragetheatre

It’s free to view but we ask people to make a donation if they can through our Chuffed page or at “Support Us” on our website:

Chuffed
https://chuffed.org/project/citygarage
City Garage website
Support Us

SAVE THE DATE!

We’re also excited to announce a new project we’ve created just for streaming! Four monologues from “10 x 10” by Neil LaBute. LaBute is one of our favorite playwrights, someone who is willing to take an unflinching look at the truth of things. Not afraid to shock or offend. He pulls no punches and is always after the hard truth of what people do and why they do it. Make sure you mark next Friday, June 18th for the debut of our first original streaming project! More information to come in next week’s newsletter.

Merci,

FM

“Largo Desolato” by Vaclav Havel

Largo Desolato

by Vaclav Havel
January 24 – March 1, 2020

“The Consulate General of the Czech Republic highly recommends the Václav Havel’s semi-autobiographical play Largo Desolato… at the City Garage Theatre.”
Invitation posted on Consulate Cultural News & Events page

“An eerie, atmospheric staging at City Garage in Santa Monica revisits Havel’s absurdist 1986 portrait of Iron Curtain paranoia…The material is well suited to the stylish City Garage aesthetic, as director Frédérique Michel and designer Charles A. Duncombe lean into Havel’s extensive use of repetition to evoke a visceral sense of Leopold’s paralysis…. in an authoritarian state, the only thing worse than being a perceived threat is to become irrelevant.” — By Philip Brandes, LA Times

“As ever, City Garage surprises and haunts. Every cast member of Largo Desolato is a veteran of the company now, and deliver performances with power as well as precision. The direction continues to use the (seemingly) simple presence of being in the same room with another human being to vast effect. The result feels raw, and terribly honest.” — Zahir Blue, Night Tinted Glasses

City Garage stages a timely revival of Havel’s classic piece about totalitarian regimes, censorship, and the price of integrity. In this semi-autobiographical play, translated by Czech-born playwright Tom Stoppard, a dissident intellectual, Leopold Nettles, is dogged by the secret police, pressured by his friends, and nagged by his housemate to just shut up and go along. Shadowy figures arrive to offer him a deal to stay out of prison but Nettles can’t get himself to accept. His world starts to dissolve in a hallucinatory battle of conscience but will he ultimately have the courage of his convictions?

Havel wrote the play when he had just emerged from prison in 1984. He went on to play a major role in the Velvet Revolution that toppled communism in Eastern Europe, as well as serving as the first President of the Czech Republic. What would he make of the frightening resurgence of so many of the ideas he sacrificed so much to eradicate?

Fourth Sunday Q&A
After the Sunday, February 16 matinee, please join us for an informal discussion with the director, producer, and cast of Largo Desolato.

“Department of Dreams” by Jeton Neziraj

“Department of Dreams” by Jeton Neziraj

Translated by Alexandra Channer

October 25 – December 8, 2019

Fridays, Saturdays 8:00pm: Sundays 3:00pm

Critic’s Choice! — Los Angeles Times

The world premiere of Kosovar playwright Jeton Neziraj’s nightmarish, Orwellian comedy of an autocratic government that demands its citizens deposit their dreams in a central, bureaucratic depository so that it can exert the fullest possible control of their imaginations. In this vast, underground complex, civil servants like Dan, a new hire for the prized job of Interpreter, sift patiently through the nation’s dreams looking for threats to the government’s authority and its version of “truth.” If order is to be maintained, deviance must be extinguished and imagination co-opted. Dan works hard and tries stubbornly to survive in this strange dream world but finds nothing is as it seems to be except the authority that rules it. Don’t miss the world premiere of this new play from one of Europe’s most remarkable playwrights.

“Theatre should side with the victims” feature on Jeton Neziraj — Stage | The Guardian

“The premiere represents a coup for City Garage’s founders, artistic director Frédérique Michel and producing director Charles A. Duncombe, whose company has been presenting edgy theater for more than 30 years. Michel, who also directs, and Duncombe, whose typically stunning production design is a highlight, do full service to Neziraj’s savagely topical, darkly funny piece.” — F. Kathleen Foley, Los Angeles Times

Read Stage Raw’s interview with Jeton Neziraj: Kosovo’s Molière: Mocking Hypocrites and Autocrats

“The cast entire does the fine job I frankly have come to expect from City Garage, with Frederique Michel’s direction showing wonderful insight…” — David MacDowell Blue, Night Tinted Glasses

Special Events: Weekend of November 8 – 10th, 2019

City Garage is thrilled to announce that playwright Jeton Neziraj will be traveling from Kosovo to join us for a weekend of special events around this world premiere. Support City Garage and help us meet our goal of $25,000 for this fall by being part of this exciting weekend. Tickets for all events are $50 each. Or pick a performance of your choice, then attend as many of the after-show events as you like—up to all three—for $100. Book your tickets through this link:


Donation
Night(s) Attending



Friday, 11/8: Champagne Reception and Book Signing: Meet the author, mingle with cast and crew, and have your script signed (copies of “Department of Dreams” available at $25).

Saturday, 11/9: Catered Reception: Join us for dinner after the show, along with the playwright and other special guests of honor.

Sunday, 11/10: Panel* Discussion: Steven Leigh Morris, editor of Stage Raw, will moderate a discussion on “Theatre and Politics.” How can—or should—theatre address the urgent political realities of its moment? The particular focus is on the rise of autocracies in Europe, the Balkans, and the west in general, and the role of the arts in contemporary politics. Q&A with the playwright and panelists to follow.

*Panelists: Steven Leigh Morris, Moderator, Editor Stage Raw; Dr. Mietek Boduszynski, Assistant Professor of Politics at Pomona College; Viktorija Lejko-Lacan, Department of Slavic East-European and Eurasian Languages and Cultures UCLA; Lauren Murphy Yeoman, Assistant Professor of Theatre, USC School of Dramatic Arts.

Limited Seating! Get your tickets now!