A big-name actor is coming to town to help out a local theater company.
Academy Award-, Tony Award- and Screen Actors Guild Award-winner Kevin Kline will perform Saturday in Mesa, in a show pulled together to support Southwest Shakespeare Company.
“This is an absolute coup for our company, and a thrill for our audiences here in Phoenix — to have this unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet with this extraordinary classical actor and see him perform Shakespeare live on our stage. Who knows, we might get him to sing a few songs for us as well,” says Jared Sakren, Southwest Shakespeare’s artistic director.
Kline will act his one-man Shakespeare show, “The Lover and The Poet.” He has previously performed the work with Meryl Streep as a benefit for The Acting Company, a New York group that promotes theater and literacy in communities across America, particularly those where live performance and theater arts education is limited or non-existent.
Southwest Shakespeare Company, based in Mesa, was co-founded in 1994 by educators, actors and Shakespeare aficionados Kevin Dressler and Randy Messersmith. It emphasizes education and making Shakespeare understandable to the masses. Over its history, its actors, designers, directors, artists and productions have, collectively, received hundreds of award nominations and won more than 30 ariZoni Theatre Awards.
Kline was once a part of an acting troupe that performed Shakespeare across the country, according to the Internet Movie Database. He won the Academy Award for a comedic acting role in 1988’s “A Fish Called Wanda.”
A special reception and chance to meet Kline in person begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Mesa Contemporary Arts museum on the MAC campus. The event is open to priority ticket ($100) buyers. Tickets to the show start at $35.
Kline’s performance will benefit Southwest Shakespeare Company’s education and guest artist programs.
If you go
What: Southwest Shakespeare Company presents “An Evening with Kevin Kline,” when the actor will perform his one-man show “The Lover and The Poet,” followed by questions and answers with the audience.
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St.
Cost: $100 for priority seating and a reception with Kline, with hors d’oeuvres and cash bar; $47 for orchestra or first-row balcony seating; $35 for balcony seating
Information: (480) 644-6500 or www.mesaartscenter.com
More time with Kline
Kline and Valley actors will read Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” a comedy about an unlikely romance between misfits who miraculously find each other, at 12:30 p.m. Sunday in the Aztec Room at Arizona Biltmore resort, 2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix. $30. (602) 955-6600 or www.swshakespeare.org