Lights dim on potential Shakespeare production in Newport

Newport Beach isn't likely to bring the Bard to the beach this fall after the city Arts Commission decided the local theater troupe that applied wasn't a good fit.

The commission's Shakespeare on the Balboa Peninsula subcommittee considered scheduling Santa Ana-based Alchemy Theatre Company to perform a tragedy and a comedy in October at Peninsula Park, near Balboa Pier, but decided to pass after viewing two video proposals from the group.


"We just felt that it wasn't right for us," Commissioner Barbara Glabman said at Thursday's board meeting. "It wasn't the professional quality that we would want to have our name attached to."

Alchemy Theatre has staged Shakespeare in Huntington Beach's Central Park and other venues, such as the Fullerton College Sculpture Garden and the Westminster Community Playhouse. Performances would have totaled about $15,500 for the two-night run.

A company representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The commission has $175,000 at its disposal for staging live performances in town, preferably in the Balboa Village area. The now-defunct Balboa Performing Arts Theater Foundation donated the funds to the city before it dissolved in 2015, with the stipulation that the money be used for performing arts.

The commission looked at three other Orange County Shakespeare companies, but one didn't respond to requests for a meeting and the others had cost, logistics and scheduling constraints.

Glabman said the commission should brainstorm other options for performing arts in the area.

"We certainly want to make use of that money if we possibly can," said the commission's vice chairwoman, Arlene Greer.

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