The Dean Productions Theatre Company Presents “King Lear”

Photo credit: Maggie Jorgensen.

Written by William Shakespeare.  Directed by Rebecca Lynne.

Dean Productions is bringing us the most profound and timely of plays,  “King Lear.” 

Is this powerful king driven mad by his traitorous daughters, is it his madness that leads him to betray the only daughter who truly loves him?  Or is all this mayhem simply a product of privilege, power, vanity and narcissism?

Shakespeare always leads with truth and there is no doubt in the truth of “O that way madness lies” when it comes to money and fame and family.  Who can you trust when there is so much to be gained by lying?  And once a lie is told then the choice becomes to look the other way and survive or stop it in its tracks and risk everything. 

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Jennifer Ashe, Carl Weintraub.  Photo Credit Clarke Crane

All things in our world are political these days, which is hardly surprising given the headlines….Art reflection life reflecting art….

I can’t help loving the folks at Dean Productions for their ambition and their wonderful sense of place when it comes to their plays.  Checkoff’s comedy was their spring offering, which was absolutely brilliant and now “King Lear.”  Their timing is perfection.

The performances are wonderful, lustful, powerful, cunning and shameless.  Carl Weintraub as the king is a gift, he staggers and swaggers and pontificates and beautifully falls apart.  But the rest of the cast with their slyness, their plotting and their psychotic calm is also sublime.  The simple setting, the multiple and concurrent action and the inspired use of music by the director Rebecca Lynne give brilliant support to these magical words and tragic tale.

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Massimo Napoli (l.), Kelton Jones.  Photo Credit Clarke Crane

The park is always an inspiring location and the howling of the coyotes only added to the dangerous path Lear walks once he bequeaths his kingdom to his two ungrateful daughters and banishes his only loving daughter for not playing the same sickening game of “how much do you love me” as the other two.  Of course, this hubris ultimately leads to his undoing as they happily turn their back on his rapid unraveling and literally leave him out in the cold.

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Madison Ashley Young, Carl Weintraub   Photo Credit Clarke Crane

It’s a cautionary tale.  Don’t pass on your property before you die, don’t believe your own hype and whatever you do don’t trust anybody…especially yourself.

This is a delightful contemporary production, with heavy nods to our terrifying present and our complete lack of a moral foundation in our leaders.  “King Lear” is a nest of Adders in a world of sadness and pain all wrapped up in the horrors of decrepit inevitability…not a comedy then.

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Carl Weintraub (l.), Kelton Jones, Chineze Ekenwechi.  Photo Credit Clarke Crane

But there is some joy to be had in examining the terrible fate of those who probably deserve it.  Like watching the worst of us plummeting to our doom, this play gives purpose to a bitter end even as it almost saves Lear from it.

Running from Sept 26th – Oct 19th, 2019, Thursday-Saturday at 8pm


Brand Park, 1601 W Mountain Street, Glendale, California 91201

Bravo to Dean Productions for taking on such a pivotal play and for doing it such excellent justice. I highly recommend “King Lear,” miss it at your peril!!!


Carl Weintraub, Veronica Maccari, Chineze Enekwechi, Jasmine Ilarde, Jennifer Ashe, Carol D’Alba, John Odgne, Kelton Jones, Madison Young and Massimo Naploi