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William Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” Comes To A Noise Within

Directed by Geoff Elliott; Feb. 9 – Apr. 11, 2020

Published on Thursday, January 16, 2020 | 1:55 pm
Photo by Daniel Reichert

A Noise Within (ANW), California’s acclaimed classic repertory theatre company, is proud to present William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, directed by ANW Producing Artistic Director Geoff Elliott.

The Winter’s Tale will run Feb. 9 through Apr. 11, 2020 with press performances on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 16 at 2 p.m.

Bitter winter thaws into a spring of regeneration and miraculous forgiveness in William Shakespeare’s celebrated romance. “This story shows what psychotic jealousy can do to a family and even a country,” said Producing Artistic Director Geoff Elliott. “Leontes starts out as paranoid and egotistical – he builds monuments to himself. But after he destroys everything he’s ever loved, he spends the rest of the play atoning for it, believing he has no hope left. His extraordinary arc concludes with a dramatic scene of forgiveness that’s both surprising and moving.”

The Winter’s Tale re-discovers all that was thought to be lost: old friendships restored; families reunited; and star-crossed lovers beating the odds to be together. Even the most impossible miracles become possible through fantastical feats and wondrous magic.

“The play has some of the most beautiful language in the canon,” said Elliott. “We’ve streamlined it to the core story of Leontes’ transformation to make it more accessible, without losing any of the fairy tale enchantment that permeates the story.”

ANW’s Words Within reading series will tie into the themes of The Winter’s Tale by presenting the first reading of the year, Exit, Pursued by a Bear by Lauren Gunderson on Monday, Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. This smart, dark revenge comedy leads us through a night of emotional trials and ridiculous theatrics. Gunderson takes Shakespeare’s most famous stage direction and turns it (and us) on our heads.

ANW’s Noise Now program is partnering with TheatreWorkers Project to present, in which five formerly incarcerated men will redefine their personal narratives through physical theatre and text using themes from The Winter’s Tale. Through Project Re/Frame, dedicated to the creation of pieces based on the writing and stories of those impacted by mass incarceration, participants develop, rehearse, and perform original work presented to diverse audiences. This newest project,, performed on Mar. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at A Noise Within, will use the following text from The Winter’s Tale as a launching off point for personal storytelling: “a wild dedication of yourselves. To undiscovered waters, undreamed shores.”

MKM Bollystars returns for their 3rd collaboration with ANW’s Noise Now program, this time re-envisioning Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale through Indian classical dance. Recognizing the parallel experiences of Hermione from The Winter’s Tale and Sita from the Ramayana, choreographers Shalini Bathina and Shivani Thakkar bring you a new creation delving into Her Story. Bollystars has roots in a rich dance heritage as an offspring of the well-established and recognized Bharata Natyam (Indian classical) dance institution Manu Kala Mandir (MKM) Dance Productions and Academy. Their dance performance of Her Story will take place at A Noise Within on Mar. 26 & 27 at 7:15 p.m.

These events are curated to enhance A Noise Within’s mainstage production of The Winter’s Tale, which Elliott believes will delight any Shakespeare fan.

“Everything you love about Shakespeare is here,” concluded Elliott. “Incredibly rich language. Intense emotional drama. The Winter’s Tale takes an evocative look at jealousy and mental illness, sweeps us away with passionate romance, and, ultimately, reminds us of the life-changing power of redemption and forgiveness.”

Single ticket prices for The Winter’s Tale start at $25 and are available at, by phone at (626) 356-3121, and at the box office located at 3352 East Foothill Blvd in Pasadena.

Pay What You Can (PWYC): Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. – all tickets remaining are Pay What You Can, cash only, exact change appreciated, at the box office on day of performance after 2 p.m. Limit two per person. Suggested price of $10.

Sunday Rush: Mar. 22 at 7 p.m. and Apr. 5 at 7 p.m. – all tickets remaining are $25, available online after 12 a.m. day of performance with the code SUNDAYRUSH or at the box office, cash or credit, after 2 p.m. day of performance.

Symposium and Post-Show Conversations

This run of The Winter’s Tale includes a symposium with Chapman University Professor Kent Lehnhof at 6:45 p.m. on Feb. 12, 2020 and post-show conversations on Feb. 21, Mar. 22 at 2p.m., Mar. 27, and Apr. 10.

Wine Down Wednesdays
Get a free glass of wine with your ticket when attending a Wednesday evening performance, including The Winter’s Tale’s Wednesday performances on Feb. 12 and Mar. 18.

ANW’s 2019-2020 Season – They Played with Fire

“THEY PLAYED WITH FIRE indeed! A Noise Within’s 2019-20 season embraces the incandescent power of change,” said ANW Producing Artistic Director Geoff Elliott. “Our upcoming titles are peopled with formidable characters—torches in hand—willing to either burn down the house or build a mansion of possibility.”

The Winter’s Tale will run in rotating repertory through the spring with Eva Le Gallienne and Florida Friebus’ classic adaptation of Alice in Wonderland (directed by Stephanie Shroyer; March 1 – April 18, 2020). Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award®-winning musical thriller Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott; May 10 – June 7, 2020) will fan the flames before closing out ANW’s most ambitious season yet.

ANW Producing Artistic Director Julia Rodriguez-Elliott said, “Whether the characters of our productions are teetering on the precipice of redemption (Gem of the Ocean; The Winter’s Tale) or revenge (Sweeney Todd), or haunting revelation (Frankenstein; Buried Child), or even an outrageous romp down a rabbit hole (Alice in Wonderland), they are all staking their lives on a chance to transform the world around them.”

“We invite you to join us as we venture with these risk-takers, revolutionaries, and game changers. We will see you at the theatre,” said ANW Producing Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott.

About the Play

Shakespeare’s canon of plays can be roughly divided into four genres: tragedies, comedies, histories, and romances. Shakespeare’s romance plays are a mix of tragedy and comedy. The mark of a Shakespearean tragedy is that the play ends in a number of deaths, onstage and off, while Shakespearean comedies characteristically end in marriages. Romances typically begin as tragedies, but do not end that way, as is the case with The Winter’s Tale.

These plays are imbued with a melancholy tone, and the action tends to center on remedying a past injustice. Forgiveness is central to the endings of the romance plays. While not all of the wrongs committed over the course of the play are righted, much of what is broken is mended. Reflection plays a key role in these plays as characters grapple with events of the past and embark on a physical or emotional journey toward peace and reconciliation. By the end of a romance play, the surviving characters have matured.

Elements of magic and fantasy play significant roles in the romance plays. These elements contribute to an ambiguous and mystical setting for each of the plays—none of the romance plays take place strictly within the realm of a familiar reality. The elements of magic and mystery complement the transformations that the characters make throughout the play.

Like many of Shakespeare’s plays, The Winter’s Tale is not an entirely original narrative. Critics have long regarded The Winter’s Tale as a play, in large part, derived from Robert Greene’s 1588 romance novella, Pandosto, The Triumph of Time. Shakespeare made the play distinct by changing all character names and introducing several changes and additions to the plot. While Shakespeare makes Leontes’ suspicion more groundless than it appears in the original, he also revises the original story’s tragic ending in which the Leontes character kills himself after discovering he has lusted after the Perdita character, unaware that she is his daughter. Shakespeare also creates the characters Paulina and Antigonus—characters who are integral to the unfolding of the play’s particular telling of the events. Probably the wildest addition to the original’s plot is Shakespeare’s inclusion of a bear.

About A Noise Within

A Noise Within has been called “an oasis for those who love classic stories” by the Los Angeles Times and is a leading regional producer based in Pasadena.  ANW’s award-winning resident company practices a rotating repertory model at their state-of-the-art, 324-seat performance space. This venue, established in 2011, has allowed ANW to expand its audience, surpassing its previous box office, subscription, and attendance records year after year.

In addition to producing world-class performances of classic theatre, the organization runs robust education programs committed to inspiring diverse audiences of all ages. Helmed by Producing Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, who hold MFAs from San Francisco’s renowned American Conservatory Theatre (A.C.T.), A Noise Within truly delivers Classic Theatre, Modern Magic.






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