For the last two summers, Wente Vineyards' has hosted the critically acclaimed Livermore Shakespeare Festival for five weekends at the Estate Winery and Tasting Room. Although the theater company has been running the Shakespeare Festival in Livermore wine country for the past 15 years, attracting thousands of Bay Area attendees, they partnered with Wente Vineyards in 2015 for a charming combination of award-winning wine, high-quality theater, and a magical outdoor setting.
On June 29th, the open-air backdrop will set the stage for the opening show, A Midsummer Night's Dream. Director Gary Armagnac and costume designer Jonathan Singer emphasize the two worlds of the play in a Wizard of Oz–inspired homage with the first world being black and white and the forest and fairy kingdom an explosion of color. Singer is known for his incorporation of found objects and recycled materials as well as references to pop culture in his innovative costumes. All this whimsy and wine ought to make for a fanciful evening in the Tri-County wine country.
The company has also drawn some of the region's most sought-after artists. On July 13th, Bay Area stage-acting favorites Ryan Tasker and Jennifer Le Blanc will headline the last show, Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac (each season, the company performs one non-Shakespeare work), as the title character and Roxane, respectively. With unbelievable acting chops and the use of the oldest versions of Shakespeare's plays, the Livermore Shakespeare Festival makes the Bard's dramas more accessible and understandable than ever.
Not only will Shakespeare transport you to a different realm, but the Tri-Valley region will whisk you worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area. With a burgeoning Beer Trail, more than 50 wineries, charming downtowns and a diverse culinary scene, savvy culture seekers can round out their visit to Livermore Shakespeare Festival by drinking and eating their way through wine country and seeing more stars than just the Big Dipper.
The festival runs for five weeks at Wente Vineyards Estate Winery and Tasting Room in Livermore. Wente Vineyards offers a pre-show food truck and wine bars for guests to enjoy before and during the performance—a little booze will definitely make the dirty Victorian jokes that much funnier. // Livermore Shakespeare Festival, June 29 through July 30; for tickets, go to livermoreshakes.org; wentevineyards.com.