Theater Preview: 'Shakespearience' returns to the Alex

About 40 actors, most of them students, will take the stage next week at the Alex Theatre to perform "Shakespearience" in a show that was first established nearly 20 years ago to teach students about Shakespeare sometimes using modern-day performance techniques, such as contemporary music.

The show's audience will be made up mostly of seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders who are just beginning to study the playwright's works for the first time in school, and who will be bussed to the Alex on a field trip.

Over the nearly two decades, the show's creator, Justin Eick, and his castmates have performed scenes from Shakespeare's most famous plays for nearly 90,000 students.

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On Jan. 31, the current cast, made up of 30 La Cañada High School students and 10 adults, will perform scenes from "Romeo and Juliet," "Macbeth," "Hamlet," "The Taming of the Shrew" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Eick said the scenes from each of those plays present a common thread for students to grasp.

"The common thread is the different aspects of love between a brother and sister, man and woman, father, son," Eick said. "It really allows you to see how Shakespeare can take one subject and look at it from many different angles, like a prism."

Every time he steps on stage, Eick said he is thrilled to be part of a performance that brings students' attention to a subject they'll likely continue to study in high school and beyond.

"We are super, super grateful to have the chance to bring Shakespeare to kids. We never take it for granted," he said.

"Shakespearience" will be performed at 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 31 and 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 1 at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. In addition to school groups, general admission tickets are available. For more information, visit alextheatre.org.

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Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

Twitter: @kellymcorrigan

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