Saturday, September 30, 2023

Friendship, Betrayal, and Redemption: Coronado Playhouse Presents “Two Gentlemen Rock Verona!”

The show runs July 15th through August 7th

Coronado Playhouse is ready to flip our lid over presenting the San Diego Premiere of TWO GENTLEMEN ROCK VERONA! We’re adding a new definition to Rockabilly and can bet you’ve never heard Shakespeare like this before! Almost all of the original text, set to the sounds of the 1950s and ’60s, updated to reflect an American setting, with all of the humor, stakes, and love of what is widely regarded as Shakespeare’s first play!

In a time where nostalgia is selling out box offices and dominating streaming services, fashion has revived every major trend of the last three decades, and music has followed suit with today’s mainstream artists are sampling all things ’90s, this twist in time and setting is sure to intrigue modern audiences. “Two Gentlemen Rock Verona transports Shakespeare’s play from Italy in the 1590s to America in the 1950s,” says Director James Saba. “It’s Shakespeare’s text, combined with a jukebox of popular tunes from the 1950s and early ’60s. I was asked to direct a traditional production of Two Gentlemen of Verona at Hope Summer Repertory Theatre in Michigan in 2001. I had the idea to set the play in the 1950s and thought a little music would be fun. I asked Steve Gunderson to join as my collaborator, and ‘a little music’ turned into ‘a little musical.’ There are text edits and a few text adjustments to set it in America, but for the most part, every attempt has been made to keep Shakespeare’s poetry intact.”

In Shakespeare’s version, Proteus is a musician and music is intertwined throughout the script’s Italian setting. Two Gentlemen Rock Verona follows the original narrative’s plot, with all typical Shakespearean tropes, such as female characters in male costume disguise, two lovers competing for the affections of one, a couple of dopey side characters enacting their own scheme, a loyal maid, and a Duke to give his blessing to his daughter’s wedding in the end. Proteus and Valentine love Sylvia, only Proteus is supposed to love Julia, and Thurio is promised to Sylvia.

This is the 26th annual FREE Classic production produced by the Playhouse with a grant from the City of Coronado. In 1997, under the direction of the late Keith A. Anderson, the Playhouse started an Annual Free Classic festival, offering Shakespeare and other classics at no cost to the public, due to a generous grant from the City of Coronado. This beloved tradition has been a Coronado Playhouse staple since it began. Anderson brought much talent, love, and dedication to Coronado Playhouse, San Diego theatre, and beyond.

The decade that gave us romanticized themes of summer love, the beach, and all things classic Americana is perfectly staged for a midsummer night’s opening in sunny San Diego!

“Two Gentlemen ROCK Verona” runs July 15th through August 7th, Thursday-Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm.

  • You can reserve up to 5 tickets free of charge. It’s important to release tickets if you are
    unable to attend to make them available for other patrons.
  • Tickets are available online: or by calling our box office at
  • Schools and organizations can contact our Box Office to reserve large groups at 619-435-4856.

Coronado Playhouse, 1835 Strand Way, Coronado, CA 92118