Party Play: "Shakespeare in Love"


by 
Beth Fhaner
 | Jan 23, 2018

From the opening lines—a sonnet that young Will Shakespeare is struggling to write—Shakespeare in Love captivated the First Night audience and never let up, delivering two-plus hours of delightful performances, opulent costumes, Elizabethan-inspired music, backstage theatrics, stunning swordplay and more.

Along with generous laughter, the First Night audience showed their appreciation with enthusiastic applause and a standing ovation. It was obvious that theatregoers greatly enjoyed the romantic comedy’s witty repartee and the performances of the talented cast of 23 actors and a dog. Led by Paul David Story as Will Shakespeare and Carmela Corbett as Lady Viola de Lesseps, the entire ensemble delivered impressive performances while transporting the audience back to the late 1500s of Elizabethan London.

First Night attendees and Honorary Producers Jean and Tim Weiss found Shakespeare in Love to be highly entertaining. “Tom Stoppard is one of our favorite playwrights, so when we had the chance to underwrite one of his plays (well, I guess it's a bit of a hybrid of authors) we jumped on it,” they said. “Shakespeare in Love did not disappoint. With Stoppard, it’s like watching a play within a play, which makes it just that much more fun and interesting. This production was one of the most enjoyable and lighthearted plays we’ve seen at SCR. The music, the acting (especially the character actors), the set, the directing and the writing were all amazing. It’s the type of production that’s like a big chocolate cake—there are all sorts of layers to enjoy and savor.”

Honorary Producer Sandra Segerstrom Daniels was also in attendance on First Night, as was Rick Smetanka, with Corporate Honorary Producer Haskell & White, who said, "My wife and I loved the play, and our friends and colleagues thoroughly enjoyed this version of how Romeo and Juliet came to be. The characters were witty and fun (we loved the Queen), the costuming looked straight out of the period, and the live music and subtle quotes from Shakespeare’s other works made the performance truly special. Congratulations to SCR once again for a job well done!"

Guests who attended the cast party, which was co-sponsored by The Westin South Coast Plaza, were welcomed to a beautiful, romantic tableau, as floral décor transformed the Westin’s rooftop Terrace Pavilion into an enchanting landscape. Gorgeous bouquets of flowers were highlighted in the space, as two tall floral pieces with trailing greens were on display, along with smaller tabletop arrangements in wooden boxes and silver julep cups. With a color scheme focusing on deep reds, purples and soft pinks, the romantic theme continued as tabletops were adorned with rose petals and votive candles.

In a nod to our neighbors across the pond, the celebratory fête featured a menu inspired by British cuisine, including mini fish and chips, mini chicken pot-pies and split-pea soup shooters. Another favorite of the festive crowd were the mashed potato martinis, served along with chef’s selection of various toppings. For a sweet finish, partygoers indulged in a tempting array of delicious, miniature desserts such as tarts, cookies, brownies and crème brûlées.

The evening’s signature cocktail was “The Pirate’s Daughter,” which was comprised of Tanqueray gin and tonic with cranberry and lime juice, a fitting libation to honor the Bard of Avon.

First Night guests were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet and mingle with the entire cast (including English bulldog Cinnamon) at the rooftop Terrace Pavilion’s sophisticated setting. All the while, lively conversation and laughter continued to swirl around Shakespeare in Love, a romantic feast featuring mistaken identities, ruthless scheming, backstage theatrics and much more. All in attendance at Shakespeare in Love’s First Night agreed—it was a lovely soiree, indeed!

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