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Press Contact: David Barber, Tim Choy 323/954-7510

Photos are available by email



Caroline Graham

C4 Global Communications for The Shakespeare Center


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The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

Ben Donenberg, Artistic Director
Tom Ware, Executive Producer


Pre-sale begins Monday, April 23 at 10:00am


 “Henry IV” by William Shakespeare

Directed by Daniel Sullivan

Featuring Tom Hanks as Sir John Falstaff,

With Harry Groener, Hamish Linklater, Joe Morton, and Rondi Reed


The Japanese Garden on the West Los Angeles VA Campus

24 performances only! – June 5 to July 1 (Press opening June 8)


April 16, 2018 – Tickets for “Henry IV,” staged by Tony Award winning director Daniel Sullivan, featuring Tom Hanks in his Los Angeles stage debut as Shakespeare’s greatest comedic character Sir John Falstaff, with Harry Groener as Northumberland, Hamish Linklater as Hal, Joe Morton as Henry IV, and Rondi Reed as Mistress Quickly, will be available to patrons registering at  Registered patrons will receive an exclusive Early Access link via email to purchase tickets beginning Monday, April 23, 2018 at 10:00am.  Remaining tickets will be made available to the general public at on April 27 at 10:00am. 

Evening, outdoor performances of “Henry IV” run Tuesdays – Sundays at 8pm, beginning June 5 and end July 1 at The Japanese Garden, located on the West Los Angeles VA Campus, which may be entered at 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90073.  The grounds are open at 6:30pm for pre-show picnics.  Alcohol is not permitted on the grounds of the West LA Veteran Healthcare Campus. 

The Shakespeare Center is providing thousands of complimentary tickets for veterans and active members of the military who enter their names and service information at 

This new “Henry IV” is presented by The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles (SCLA), at The Japanese Garden on the West Los Angeles VA Campus.   Director Dan Sullivan has distilled the exploits of Falstaff – “the villainous and abominable misleader of youth” - and his ne’er-do-well protégé Prince Hal from “Henry IV Parts One and Two,” into an evening of Shakespeare’s finest and most touching comedy.  

Artistic director Ben Donenberg said, “We’re grateful to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the leaders of the West LA VA for this opportunity to bring our company to the Japanese Garden at the VA.”  Donenberg continued, “We’re hiring and training 34 veterans to support 14 seasoned union-contracted actors to tell a riveting story about the forging of Shakespeare’s most colorful military and political hero.  We’re proud to bring the vision of one of the American theater’s most esteemed Broadway directors and the world-class talent of a cast lead by Tom Hanks, Harry Groener, Hamish Linklater, and Joe Morton, to our long-time supporters and this very special venue.”

Ann Brown, Director, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, said, “It’s exciting to partner with The Shakespeare Center to provide our Veterans incredible opportunities like the chance to work alongside professional actors, and to view live entertainment right here on the West LA VA campus. Partnerships like this one are vital to bringing the vision for this campus to life and to transform it into a vibrant, welcoming, Veteran-centric community.”

Tom Hanks, with his wife Rita Wilson, are long-time supporters of the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles through hosting and participating the past 26 consecutive years of Simply Shakespeare, a no holds barred impromptu reading of a Shakespeare comedy with celebrity casts and musicians that raises funds and awareness about the Shakespeare Center’s ground-breaking arts-based employment programs for veterans and inner-city youth.

The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles and VA Campus

The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles has 33 years of award-winning history in Los Angeles. For “Henry IV,” an intimate stage with cushioned theatrical seating will be constructed on the meadow at The Japanese Garden on the West Los Angeles VA Campus by a veteran workforce.  Dozens of picnic tables are available for pre-show picnic dinners.  No alcohol is permitted at the West LA VA, as it is federal property with specific regulations. SCLA has produced critically acclaimed plays in this location between 1991-93 and 2011-2014. 

Ben Donenberg, SCLA’s artistic director notes, “The VA location speaks to our mission to present Shakespeare in urgent, vital, relevant, and accessible ways that reflect the history, landscape and people of Los Angeles.  Our work with the VA and veterans inspires personal and community transformation. " 

Of past Japanese Garden productions, Don Shirley wrote in LA Stage Times, “This brings us to the biggest Shakespearean news of the season – the return of the Shakespeare Center to summer activity. The venue is the Japanese Garden … a great place for a summertime idyll, with an accomplished cast.”  Les Spindle on wrote, “A joyously entertaining outdoors staging of Shakespeare's rollicking romantic comedy under the summer stars.  Sarah Spitz said in the Santa Monica Daily Press, “There’s no delight quite like Shakespeare performed in a magical outdoor venue on a summer’s night. The mark of terrific Shakespeare is the ability of the actors to breathe fresh life into it. This cast of actors does that masterfully.  A truly enchanted evening.”


About The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

In 1986, The Shakespeare Center, then operating as Shakespeare Festival/LA, presented the first Summer Festival, with performances of “Twelfth Night” in Pershing Square, where it launched a ‘Food for Thought’ admission policy that generated more than $2 million in non-perishable foodstuffs for the needy in lieu of admission.  In 1993, SCLA expanded to offer outreach programs such as Will Power to Youth and employment and enrichment program that combines hands-on artistic experience with paid job training, specifically created to provide an arts immersion for at-risk youth. In January 2000, SCLA purchased and moved into its permanent downtown headquarters.

In recent years, SCLA has been a national leader and innovator in the field of arts and human services. Partnerships have included the National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Mental Health, US Department of Veteran Affairs, Arts and Healthcare, Volt Workforce Solutions in Anaheim, and the Linked Learning office of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

This year, SCLA has expanded partnerships with Linked Learning to serve even more students with our youth employment initiative and Santa Monica College, host for the educational dimension of Veterans In Art.

WHY SHAKESPEARE: Inspirational documentary created by the National Endowment for the Arts features the award winning programs, people and staff of The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles and is available by clicking on YouTube.


Calendar Listing for “Henry IV”


Dates:  Performances begin Tuesday, June 5 and continue through Sunday, July 1

(Press opening is Friday, June 8)

Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 8pm

Gates Open at 6:30 for pre-show picnics


Theatre:  The Japanese Garden on the West Los Angeles VA Campus

11301 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90073 (adjacent to the Brentwood Theatre)


Tickets and Information:


More Info:

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"Wait a minute, Shakespeare's funny!" U.S. Army veteran Ariel Bell talks about how she discovered the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. From Carolina A. Miranda's story "Could $499,000 in grants that help our soldiers be one reason Congress spared the NEA?" L.A. Times, May 6th, 2017 



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