I went to Washington last Friday for the opening of Shakespeare in Hollywood, Ken Ludwig’s new play, at the Arena Stage. My review is in this morning’s
Wall Street Journal. Here’s how it starts:
I’ve been spending so much time in Manhattan aisle seats that I almost forgot there was life beyond the Hudson River. To recapture my sense of perspective, I took a train to Washington, home of the Arena Stage, a well-regarded regional theater-in-the-round that launched its new season last Friday with the world premiere of Ken Ludwig’s “Shakespeare in Hollywood,” a noisy, funny, thoroughly agreeable play about what happens when two of the Bard’s best-known characters take a wrong turn at Albuquerque and find themselves stuck on a soundstage.
“Shakespeare in Hollywood,” which runs through Oct. 19, is based on a real-life event that in retrospect seems almost as comically implausible as Mr. Ludwig’s script. In 1934, Max Reinhardt brought his lavish staging of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to the Hollywood Bowl. Jack Warner, of all people, got the idea of hiring the German