PCPA's production of "Shakespeare in Love," based on the award-winning screenplay by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman and adapted for the stage by Lee Hall with music by Paddy Cunneen, is making its Central Coast premiere through Sunday, March 3, in the Marian Theatre, in Santa Maria.

In the romantic comedy, the deadline for Will Shakespeare’s new play, "Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter," is overdue because Will is suffering a dreadful case of writer’s block.

The deadline for an arranged marriage between the stuffy Lord Wessex and the beautiful stage-struck Viola is also quickly approaching.

Viola will stop at nothing to appear in Shakespeare’s play even though it is illegal for women to take the stage, so she disguises herself as Sir Thomas Kent. Amid mistaken identities, backstage antics and onstage drama, Will finds his muse in Viola. Their passionate and forbidden love affair inspires Will to write his masterpiece -- "Romeo and Juliet."

The "Shakespeare in Love" cast features two of PCPA’s newest resident artists -- Yusef Seevers as Will Shakespeare and Emily Trask as Viola de Lesseps. Also featured are George Walker as Kit Marlowe, Peter S. Hadres as Henslowe, Don Stewart as Fennyman, Erik Stein as Burbage, Amani Dorn as Molly/Mistress Quickly, Polly Firestone Walker as Queen Elizabeth, Kitty Balay as Nurse, Andrew Philpot as Wessesx and Brad Carroll as Sir Robert de Lesseps.

The production is directed by Roger DeLaurier, with choreography by Katie Fuchs-Wackowski, fight choreography by Mark Booher and Peter S. Hadres, music direction by Ilana Atkins, scenic design by Abby Hogan, costume design by Sara Curran Ice, lighting design by Jennifer ‘Z’ Zornow, sound design by Nathan Schilz and voice and dialect by Andrew Philpot. The stage manager is Zoia N. Wiseman.

DeLaurier said he delighted by this fictional story that assumes to take a snapshot of young Will Shakespeare as he is just starting out, just starting to make his name, before he was connected to his company and where he created his great plays.

“We see him right on the cusp of fame and we see where 'Romeo and Juliet' comes from in his life experiences. We know that this is pure fiction, but it’s a delightful one.”

The play adaptation premiered in London’s West End in 2014. It then played to sold-out houses during the 2016 Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. The first U.S. production was at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in February 2017. It returned to the U.K. for a tour beginning in Bath in October 2018.

"Shakespeare in Love," the 1998 movie, won seven Academy awards -- best picture, best actress (Gwyneth Paltrow), best supporting actress (Judi Dench), best screenplay, best art direction, best costume design and best original music.

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