Foothill Theater Arts presents love letter to THE BOOK OF WILLING theater

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Award-winning Foothill Theater Arts presents Lauren Gunderson’s joyous celebration of theater, The Book of Will, live on stage for just three weeks, November 5-21, 2021 at the Lohman Theater, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills . Director Bruce McLeod leads a cast of local notables in this shameless ode to the magic of the theater. All spectators must present proof of vaccination and remain fully masked in the hall. Tickets ($ 10- $ 25) and information are available at www.foothill.edu/theater or by calling (650) 949-7360.

Prolific Bay Area-based Lauren Gunderson, one of the nation’s most sought-after playwrights, delivers a fast-paced drama that asks “What if Shakespeare’s works were lost forever?” This exhilarating work finds William Shakespeare’s colleagues three years after his death, suddenly realizing that the bard’s immortal words will vanish when the actors who memorized them die. Only fragments, massacred copies, and what remains in living memories, remain of the dramatist’s prodigious production. In this celebration of the love, tenacity and healing power of theater, the group sets out to bring together all of Shakespeare’s plays in what has become the first folio. Tackling a devious publisher, a cantankerous competitor, and other insurmountable obstacles, a bunch of hard-working true friends light up this funny and moving story of love, loss and laughter.

Created at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The Book of Will won the Steinberg / American Theater Critics Association New Play Award in 2018 and has since been performed nationwide. It has been hailed by critics as “Delightful” (Chicago Daily Herald), “Wonderful entertainment … hilarious and poignant” (Chicago On Stage) and “Terrific comedy” (Chicago Tribune). The Boulder Weekly called it “In a nutshell, a triumph,” adding “this is, quite frankly, one of the best pieces I’ve ever seen.”

Playwright Lauren Gunderson has twice been recognized as America’s Most Produced Living Playwright, receiving national accolades for a vast body of work that also includes the plays Silent Sky, The Revolutionists; Exit, chased by a bear, and many others. She co-wrote Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley with Margot Melcon, one of America’s most produced plays of 2017, followed by her side song The Wickhams.

Foothill Theater Arts has assembled a powerful team for this entertaining and stimulating drama, including veteran actors from the Greater Bay Area, as well as students from Foothill College. The cast includes Anthony Silk (John Heminges), Michael Rhone (Henry Condell), John Musgrave (Richard Burbage / William Jaggard), Jason Morley (Ben Johnson), Eiko Yamamoto (Elizabeth Condell), Carla Befera (Rebecca Heminges), Gwendolynne Wagner (Anne Hathaway), Sara Dean (Emilia Bassano), Lauren D’Ambrosio (Alice Heminges), Steve Allhoff (Isaac Jaggard), Olivia Spreen (Boy Hamlet), with Gabe Paganucci, Sydney Harmon and Leslie Newport. Costumes are by Lisa Rozman, Scenic Design by Yuseke Soi, Projections by Steven Gerlach. The assistant manager is Missy Lyons and the stage manager is Ellie Schwartz.

Director Bruce McLeod joined the Theater Arts Department at Foothill College in 2007 for the opening of the Lohman Theater. He is responsible for the theater technology program and performs the functions of production manager and technical director of the department. He has worked professionally in numerous theaters including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and was the first Technical Director and Production Manager of TheatreWorks, where he oversaw site-specific productions of Cabaret (downtown Fire Station, now Avenidas ), Macbeth (Baylands Nature Center) and Everyman (various churches). He also boasts a long career as a stage and lighting designer in the Bay Area, including with Center Rep, West Bay Opera, Magic Theater, Eureka Theater and TheatreWorks. Several of his sets have won accolades, including the Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Award for Sunday in the Park with George and a nomination at the Theater Bay Area for the recent Marry Me A Little at TheatreWorks. At Foothill, he has made critically acclaimed productions of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, Our Town, It Can’t Happen Here, She Kills Monsters and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.


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