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Posted by: thepinetree on 06/30/2008 02:02 AM Updated by: thepinetree on 07/25/2008 08:53 AM
Expires: 01/01/2013 12:00 AM

"Delightfully Tacky Yet Unrefined"...MCT's "Merry Wives of Windsor" is a Must See!~With Video Enclosed

Murphys, CA...Would you would like to have a great time watching a fun, entertaining and fresh play? Look no further than The Murphys Creek Theatre's Merry Wives of Windsor. It takes Olde England and drops it into a Texas Trailer park. It sounds absurd...and it is. It sounds funny...and it is. It sounds like it might work...and it does! The Merry Wives of Windsor is playing now through July 26 on Friday and Saturday Nights at the beautiful Cornelia B. Stevenot Performing Arts Center. Think of it as Shakespeare for the rest of us....

It is Shakespeare with a giant picture of Elvis, Pink Flamingos, Tight Leather, An AC/DC shirt or two, lots of plastic lawn furniture and more. So feel free to crack open the Meister Brau and grab a handful of pork rinds and enjoy.

There is an old saying that one cannot teach an old dog new tricks. If Murphys Creek Theatre has anything to say about it, however, that dog has a whole new set of stunts to share. Opening June 27th and running Fridays and Saturdays through July 26th, the Calaveras County-based theatre takes William Shakespeare’s four hundred year old comedy “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and gives it a sassy, edgy new spin. Murphys Creek Theatre is set to delight and amuse audiences with the exploits of one of....

From Left to Right: Celeste Wychopen, Thomas Smith,
Vickie Hall, Tom Vannucci, Eric Owens, Robert Zellers,
Allison Blackwell, and Martha Omiyo Kight.

All Photos Courtesy of Rikki's Photography.

Shakespeare’s most memorable characters, Sir John Falstaff, set against a background of a 1980’s Texas trailer park. When Shakespeare wrote Falstaff, it’s safe to say he never saw the day coming where Falstaff would be rocking a mullet.

Desperate to pay his way out of a scandalous debt, Falstaff contrives to seduce the wives of Masters Page and Ford in order to later blackmail money out of the two shamed women. However, Falstaff has severely underestimated the wiles of these clever dames who quickly discover his plot and set out to turn the tables against him! With jealous husbands, clever ladies, a meddlesome matchmaker, and a virtuous daughter in search of true love, Murphys Creek Theatre brings their unique style to one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies.

Several crowd favorites will be returning to the Cornelia B. Stevenot Amphitheatre as well as many new faces sure to remain with audiences for years to come. Eric Owens, last seen at Murphys Creek Theatre as Bottom in the 2004 production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” has returned as the scheming and much maligned Falstaff. Fellow “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” cast mate Terry Richardson marks her return to Murphys Creek Theatre as the clever and conniving Mistress Page who, with partner in merriment Mistress Ford (played by long-time stage manager Bev Woodland), turns Falstaff’s schemes on his ear. These two Merry Wives, of course, have two husbands, the laid-back and trusting Master Page (longtime crowd pleaser Stephen Daly) and the paranoid and jealous Master Ford (Graham Scott Green, pulling double duty as actor and director). Love isn’t just for these mature married couples; there are also romantic entanglements for the fair daughter of the Pages. Vickie Hall, a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi and here by way of Sacramento's B Street Theatre, takes on a dual comic role as the feisty Mistress Anne Page and as Simple, the dim-witted fool who delivers some of Shakespeare’s best zingers. Mistress Anne is pursued by a zany assortment of suitors, including the shallow Master Slender (Robert Zellers), a French doctor (Bret Harte Alumnus Thomas Smith), and the noble youth she comes to love, Master Fenton (Thomas Smith once again). Of course, no Shakespearean love triangle (or square or any other shape) would be complete without a meddling matchmaker. Enter Elly-award winner Martha Omiyo Kight, hailing from Sacramento and returning for her third summer with Murphys Creek Theatre in the role of Mistress Quickly. Rounding out the cast are Allison Blackwell, Sarah Grimes-Emmons, Amy Mazzaferro, Tom Vannucci, and Celeste Wychopen, each of whom bring their own distinctive talents and gifts to the Cordelia B. Stevenot Amphitheatre.

This production is guided by multi-talented artistic director Graham Scott Green, who designed the set as well. Eagle-eyed locals may recognize part of the set from their travels around town; Dawn Hartwig, Brandy Williams, and Rhonda Ratowski donated the use of mobile homes and RV’s that make up much of the set. Costume design is by Ann Mazzaferro, and stage management is by Brooke Lawrence.

“The Merry Wives of Windsor” runs from June 27th to July 26th on Friday and Saturday nights, with a special preview for Calaveras County Arts Council members on Thursday, June 26th. Tickets are $18.00, and are available for purchase at, at the Stevenot Winery Tasting Room in downtown Murphys, by calling (209) 728-8422, or directly at the door before a performance. Make sure to visit local Calaveras restaurants and merchants and keep an eye on local newspapers for special discounts.

Directions to both the Stevenot Tasting Room and to the Cornelia B. Stevenot Amphitheatre can be found online at Watch your local papers for more information on special upcoming events, including a special members-only candlelight dinner show for Zucca Wine Club members on Thursday, July 3rd. Curtain for all shows is at 8:00, with the amphitheatre opening at 6:30 to the general public. Stevenot wines, non-alcoholic beverages, and light refreshments are available for purchase on site. Guests are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner to enjoy on the amphitheatre grounds, as well as low-backed lawn chairs and blankets for seating. Adirondack chairs available to rent for a nominal fee and seating is festival style. This show does deal with some mature themes and is not recommended for children under the age of nine.

It is a summer full of laughter, love, and Theatre Under the Stars, with "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and "The Importance of Being Earnest (August 15th through September 7th) bringing live entertainment to audiences of all ages. Live local and come to Murphys Creek Theatre for an evening of unforgettable theatre you won’t soon forget.

We have a bit of video and some photos for your viewing pleasure.

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