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A 1920’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at the VA’s Japanese Garden

Romeo and Juliet at the VA Japanese Garden
Romeo and Juliet at the VA Japanese Garden
Michael Lamont

There are only a few more chances to see Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet performed at the adorable Japanese Garden at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare Campus. It is on a short run that began July 8 and that is scheduled to end July 26, but it is totally worth your making the needed arrangements to see it.

Known for its LA-centric approach to Shakespeare, this Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles’ production sets the famous story of the two young lovers in the L.A. of the 1920s, complete with bobbed cuts, cloche and bowler hats, and Charleston. Think of the time when both our City and its newspapers were booming, and when juvenile delinquents were no strangers to the streets. In the middle of it all, a boy and a girl, born in competing families, fall in love.

Most of us know the rest of the story; however, it is a delight to see it performed by the Shakespeare Center‘s cast under the direction of Kenn Sabberton. Jack Mikesell and Christina Elmore, respectively Romeo and Juliet, are performing for the first time with the company. Elmore has an emotion-filled scene with Elijah Alexander (Lord Capulet) that makes the audience understand, perhaps more than from other productions, the stress that can be felt by a young woman under the pressure and the displeasure of her father. A witty and sharp Mercutio is played by Gregory Linington and a funny and loving nurse by Kimberly Scott. The cast is complete with Colin Bates, Gregg Daniel, Wyatt Fenner, Cristina Frias, Tracey A. Leigh, Michael Manuel, Jack Mikesell, and Christopher Michael Rivera.

Attending this play allows you more than to enjoy a well delivered Shakespeare story. It also gifts you with the tranquility of the venue, the sound of a small waterfall, the opportunity to enjoy a meal sitting by a small stream. The play starts at 8 p.m. but the grounds open at 6:30 p.m. You can bring a picnic, which, if you are early enough, you could also enjoy at one of the several benches and tables available. Otherwise, your blanket over the lawn will be just fine. Certainly this Japanese Garden is appropriately called “a hidden gem” that for these few days is welcoming the lovers of The Bard.

The Japanese Garden at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare Campus is located at 11301 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles 90073 (next to the Brentwood Theatre). Tickets for Romeo and Juliet range $20 to $70 (the higher price includes a box dinner). Military, veterans and their guests are free of charge but need to make a reservation at (213) 481-2273. For more information and to purchase tickets click here. You can also contact the Shakespeare Center at and on