Kingsmen Sets ‘Twelfth Night’ in Vaudeville Era

(The following is from a press release)

The Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival will open its 18th season with a production of Twelfth Night set in the vaudeville era.

One of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, Twelfth Night will be performed at 8 p.m. June 27-29, July 3, July 5-6, and July 11-13 in Kingsmen Park at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.


Malvolio, played by Jerry Lloyd, with Lady Olivia, played by Elyse. Mirto. Photo credit: Brian Stethem/CLU

Directed by CLU alumnus Kevin P. Kern, the play depicts a world out of kilter with disguises and wacky slapstick moments. Scenes are set in a speakeasy with Feste, played by Reduced Shakespeare Company member Michael Faulkner, as a singing vaudeville comedian. Original music composed by Christopher Hoag adds to the period feel.

Shad Willingham, a theater faculty member at California State University, Northridge, will portray Orsino, the Duke of Illyria. Willingham recently studied with John Barton, the world’s leading teacher of acting Shakespeare. Elyse Mirto, who will play Lady Olivia, was Gertrude in last summer’s Kingsmen production of Hamlet.

Kern made his directorial debut with the festival in 2008, setting As You Like It in the 1970s. He is the former director of the Kingsmen Shakespeare Apprentice Company and Summer Theatre Camp and a member of both the Screen Actors Guild and Actor’s Equity Association. His credits include feature films, commercials and theater, including performances on the Kingsmen Shakespeare stage. He helped create and served as the first artistic director of the Pensacola Shakespeare Theatre, a small professional company modeled on the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company.

An assistant professor of theater at the University of Mount Union in Ohio, Kern is producing A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the inaugural season of Shakespeare at the Castle to be performed at the 110-year-old Glamorgan Castle in late July. Last fall, he directed Oceans Apart, a play he wrote based on the stories of Vietnam veteran and CLU theater arts professor Michael J. Arndt. In September, he will present a paper on the incorporation of actor training into an education curriculum in Crete, Greece.

The festival grounds open at 5:30 p.m. for pre-show picnicking and entertainment.

The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company is the professional theater company of CLU. The nonprofit organization coordinates apprentice programs for professional and aspiring Shakespearean actors, an educational tour program in local schools, and summer theater camps for youth.

General admission is $20 for adults and free for those under 18. Individual tickets are available at the door only. Lawn boxes are $75 to $110. For lawn box reservations, call 805-493-3014 or visit

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