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The Belle or the Bard?

Livermore Shakespeare Festival presents a pair of classics.


When the Livermore Shakespeare Festival moves to Wente this month (after seven years at Concannon), it takes advantage of a unique opportunity: Shakespeare in the round. There isn’t a bad seat among the 300 set around a new hexagonal stage on the Wente Vineyards Estate Winery grounds off Tesla Road. Plus, the preshow wine-and-dine options couldn’t be better. All that’s left to do is to choose the right play for you. livermoreshakes.org.

Jane Austen VS William Shakespeare


Gregg Le Blanc, CumulusLight.com

Jane Austen

The story: In Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (July 2–19), two sisters, different in every way, navigate rigid societal rules on their way to love and happiness.

The crew: Girls night out! This comedy of manners, like Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice, is especially enjoyable in the company of your best girlfriends.

The menu: Friday through Sunday nights, head to the barrel room for a preshow buffet of salads, sides, and grilled meats—including sausages fit for a British pub. Reservations required.

The pairing: Small Lot Meritage. According to Wente’s tasting-room staff, “this bold and fruit-forward Meritage is the culmination of the marriage of four noble Bourdeaux grapes. This forms a delightful complement to Sense and Sensibility’s wedding-filled conclusion.”

The after party: Book a next-day massage with aromatic essential oils at the Purple Orchid resort and spa. Its Livermore Shakes package includes show tickets with buffet, wine and wine glasses, a queen suite, and full breakfast.


Gregg Le Blanc, CumulusLight.com

William Shakespeare

The story: In Shakespeare’s As You Like It (July 16–August 2), two cousins who grew up like sisters discover love and happiness as exiles in the magical Forest of Arden.

The crew: Family fun! A comedy is a great introduction to Shakespeare, and on Family Night (July 16), youth tickets are just $5 and include preshow workshops.

The menu: Everyone will find something yummy at the snack-food tent, from wood-grilled pizzas to antipasto platters to kettle corn. Just bring a picnic blanket.

The pairing: Small Lot Sonata. “This interesting blend sees Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon competing for dominance, just like Frederick and his brother, the rightful duke. As with the two brothers, this wine sees the two grapes coming together harmoniously and smoothly, with each contributing to a memorable finish.”

The after party: After the show, take a shuttle to Hawthorn Suites, where the Livermore Shakes package includes tickets with buffet, wine and wine glasses, a VIP wine-tasting card, and breakfast buffet. Then explore downtown Livermore the next day.

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