Merry Wives of Windsor - a modern day Shakespeare

Shakespeare has never been so fun as it is with the Classical Theatre Lab’s company production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.  The love, foolishness and hilarity is done in conjuction with West Hollywood City.  (admission is free - how much better can you get)  at both the Plummer Park Great Hall (7377 Santa Monica Blvd – at Martel) and the West Hollywood Park (647 N. San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood – opposite the Pacific Design center.  

Merry Wives: Mrs. Ford, Sir John Falstaff, Mrs. Page

For those of you who don’t know the story, Merry Wives is one of Shakepeare’s domestic comedies revolving around Sir John Falstaff( Joe Hulser), a mischievious letch.  Finding himself in Windsor, he is determined not only to woo two wealthy women away from their husbands, and enrich himself at the same time.  The two women, Mistress Ford ( Elyse Ashton) and Mistress Page ( Victoria Hoffman), unfortunate for Falstaff, compare letters and realize that he has written the same to both. 

Merry Wives: Falstaff's associates

Together, they scheme to teach Sir Falstaff a lesson in humility.  However, Frank Ford ( Stuart W Howard), the forever jealous husband, is concerned when one of Falstaff’s former henchman tells him that both Mistresses are the subject of Falstaff’s attentions and plots to fool Falstaff into revealing his plans.  George Page ( Greg Baglia) on the other hand, trusts his wife.  

Merry Wives: Falstaff (Joe Hulser) and crew Pistol(Rashmi Singh)and Nym (William Popp)

The go between the wives and Falstaff is the entertaining Mistress Quickly ( Jean Gilpin) who works for Doctor Caius ( Stephen Moramarco).  The doctor has his eyes set on the prize of Page’s daughter Anne ( Laura Emanuel) but so does Abraham Slender ( Troy Dunn) and Fenton ( William Popp.)  As per Shakespeare’s plays, true love wins out but not without a charming mix up in the fairy garden of Windsor Forest.  

Shallow ( Paul Morgan Fredrix) plays an endearing Welsh priest and Sir Hugh Evens ( Kevin Fabian) the bumbling uncle of Slender. The play also stars Julie Alexander, Rashmi and Stephanie Kane as Falstaff’s associates.  

Thanks to the direction of  Carey Upton, the small town of Windsor has instead become small town America of the 1950’s whose costumes were designed by Erin Tanaka. How interesting it was to hear Shakespeare in  modern dress.  The stage manager Todd Silver and producer Annunziata Gianzero produced the play.  

Merry Wives: Fenton (Popp) and Anna (Laura Emanuel)

All of the actors were wonderfully talented and thoroughly enjoyable.  

Elizabeth Karr, the chairperson of CTL, says that they do several classical plays a year and are always on the look out of professional actors who want to exercise their abilities. The still photos you see in this article were done by Chad Restum.

Merry Wives: Mrs. Page (Victoria Hoffman), Falstaff, Mrs. Ford (Elyse Ashton)

My only complaint was that the sun was in my eyes and the chairs should have been shifted to the other side of the stage for the evening performance.  

While the show is preformed for free, the company willingly accepts donations.   For more information or to reserve seating call 323 960-5691 or go to

The play runs until August 3rd at Plummer Park and until August 24 at West Hollywood Park.  Starting time is 5 pm.

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