Peninsula Native shines as Juliet
Barbara Jean Urich returns for third season with Shakespeare by the Sea
Barbara Jean Urich nee Suiter will play Juliet in this summer’s Shakespeare by the Sea (SBTS) production of “Romeo and Juliet.” Urich, a graduate of Peninsula High, grew up on the Peninsula and spent much of her childhood performing in school productions and the youth theatre programs: Curtains Up and Palos Verdes Musical Theatre, the precursor to the Norris Education Program. “The Norris Theatre was where I fell in love with theater, with the magic of storytelling and made friendships that have lasted a lifetime,” said Urich. Urich’s first grade teacher told her parents, RPV’s Ron and Dot Suiter, that participation in youth theatre would be a great creative outlet and might help her overcome her shyness.
And overcome her shyness, she has. Barbara has been in over 40 productions and is returning to SBTS for her third season. “Juliet is the role I wanted to play since high school,” explains Urich. “I love this play and love this character; she is so innocent at the outset and becomes a full grown woman over the four days that are represented in the production. She is not the typical ingénue; she is smart, loyal and brave, dedicated to her love. I think the younger, ‘Twilight’ generation will really relate to this story,” she said.
Urich’s Romeo is played by SBTS veteran, Cylan Brown, who is returning to the reparatory company for his third season. “This is my sixth play with Cy, he is so funny and inventive, it is great to be able to act with a trusted friend, the comfort level is high although sometimes we do get the giggles,” said recently married Urich. “My husband is an actor too so he understands, to a point. He has set some ground rules for the stage kisses and has threatened to bring an air horn just in case things get out of hand,” she said with a smile.
Shakespeare by the Sea (SBTS) will open their 15th Season on June 7, 2012, at their summer home stage in San Pedro’s Point Fermin Park. The company will celebrate the opening weekend with a traditional toast at the Saturday night performance. The season begins with the swashbuckling love story, “Two Gentlemen of Verona”; thwarted lovers, heroines in disguise, scene-stealing servants and their dogs compete for love and laughs in this comedy that started it all! The timeless romantic drama, “Romeo and Juliet” opens June 14 against a backdrop of feuding families; two star-crossed lovers pledge their devotion, daring to believe that love will conquer all.
The company will present both classic works for four weeks at Point Fermin Park before commencing a multi-city tour throughout Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties for a total of ten weeks in 19 cities. “Two Gentlemen of Verona” will be presented at Rancho Palos Verdes’ Hesse Park on Sunday, July 15 at 7 p.m. and “Romeo and Juliet” will go on at Terranea Resort, August 8 at 7 p.m. Cities on this year’s tour include: Hermosa Beach, Beverly Hills, El Segundo, Glendale, La Crescenta, Laguna Niguel, Lakewood, Manhattan Beach, Newport Beach, Oak Park, San Pedro, Playa Vista, Rowland Heights, Rossmoor, Rancho Palos Verdes, South Pasadena, Torrance, Whittier and Chino Hills.
The season will culminate in two Grand Finale performances when the company returns to Point Fermin Park, August 10 and 11. SBTS is the only theater company on the West Coast to take its productions on tour, presenting over 40 performances from June through mid-August each summer.
SBTS is a nonprofit organization launched in 1998 by Producing Artistic Director Lisa Coffi. Since its inception, the company has provided admission free Shakespearean productions to nearly 210,000 audience members. A special logo celebrating the 15th season has been designed compiling over 700 photos from the last fourteen years of performances. Partnerships with local city organizations and generous donations from individuals and corporations enable SBTS to offer the performances to the public at no charge; however this year, municipalities including Rancho Palos Verdes have cut or eliminated their grants and the company is relying more on local patrons and audience contributions to support the performances.
Shakespeare by the Sea’s mission is to bring new contemporary and classic works to an underserved, culturally diverse audience in order to ignite imagination, promote literacy and encourage artistic expression. In Shakespeare’s time, it cost a penny. Today it’s free!
This season’s performances are sponsored by Orange County Community Foundation, Union Pacific Railroad, Pacific Life Foundation, Supervisor Don Knabe, the Norris Foundation, Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Malaga Bank and the Newport Beach City Arts Commission. More sponsors are needed and being sought.
For the summer schedule and more information please go to www.shakespearebythesea.org.