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Lakewood Theatre Company presents the sweet romantic comedy 'Shakespeare in Love. ' Get tickets now.

COURTESY PHOTOS: TRIUMPH PHOTOGRAPHY - Kelsey Glasser as Viola de Lesseps and Murri Lazaroff-Babin as Will in LTCs Shakespeare in Love opening Nov. 1 and running through Dec. 8 at Lakewood Center for the Arts.

Lakewood Theatre Company continues its 67th season of live theater with "Shakespeare in Love," directed by David Sikking.

The romantic comedy is based on the award-winning screenplay by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman, and was adapted for the stage by Lee Hall with music by Paddy Cuneen. The play opens at LTC Nov. 1 and continues through Dec. 8.

Performances are held Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m., two Wednesdays (Nov. 13 and Dec. 4) at 7:30 p.m. and select Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. and Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. There are no performances on Thanksgiving. Tickets are priced at $34 for adults and $32 for seniors, with discounts offered for groups and students. Order online at lakewood-center.org or call the box office at 503-635-3901.

The Wednesday performances will feature Wine on Wednesday (WOW). For people ages 25-35 tickets are priced at $25 each. On Nov. 13 one hour before curtain there will be a complimentary wine tasting hosted by Owen Roe Winery, and Dec. 4 there will be complimentary whiskey tasting hosted by Trail Distillery.

The musical was first performed in the U.S. at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. Young Will Shakespeare is a known but struggling poet, playwright and actor suffering from writer's block as he tries to complete his new comedy "Romeo and Ethel, The Pirate's Daughter." Viola, a clever noblewoman, longs to perform in one of Shakespeare's plays, in an era that won't allow women onstage. When the two meet "wit, energy and surprising sweetness" take hold to give them the love story they never knew they needed.

"It's a delightful romantic comedy," said Sikking. "We see in Will and Viola's situation a little romantic gender bending that becomes a place to explore another version of self and we see Will and Viola transformed. We watch it and we are changed. It's like a theatrical valentine.

"The playwrights did a great job. We get to reimagine what it must have been like for pre-Globe Theater Shakespeare, who was on the cusp of becoming London's playwright. We see him as a human being."

In LTC's production Will Shakespeare (Murri Lazaroff-Babin) wanders the city trying to overcome his writer's block, and in desparation seeks the advice from his rival, the successful playwright Kit Marlowe (Murren Kennedy). It seems all is lost until he finds his muse — Viola de Lesseps (Kelsey Glasser), daughter of a wealthy merchant with beauty and brains in equal measure.

Viola will stop at nothing to join Will's company of players. She disguises herself as a man and finds herself leading a double life — wildly in love with Will, yet unable to declare her love. Amidst mistaken identities, backstage antics and onstage drama, their passionate and forbidden love affairs inspires Will to write his masterpiece, "Romeo and Juliet." This romantic adventure of love, drama and comedy is sure to equally delight Shakespeare fans and those who shy away from the Bard.

The comedy also features Grant Byington as Hugh Fennyman, Ruth Jenkins as the Nurse, Alan King as Ralph, Alec Cameron Lugo as Lord Wessex, Skye McLaren Walton as Sam, Chris Murphy as Wabash, Aidan Nolan as Edmund Tilney, Asher Ross as Webster, Mark Schwahn as Henslowe, Olivia Shimkus as Queen Elizabeth I, Michael Streeter as Burbage, as well as Edward Lyons, Jr., Conor J. Nolan, Lindsay Reed, Tim Vergano and Tom Walton in multiple roles.

The show also features a canine actor, Eliza.

For tickets and show details visit lakewood-center.org.

Reporter Barb Randall contributed

to this article.


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