Posted September 7, 2017 by Editorial Staff in Art+Culture

California Shakespeare Theater’s Black Odyssey Breaks Box Office Records

black odyssey
black odyssey

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California Shakespeare Theater announced today that its recently closed production of black odyssey has broken all previous single ticket sales records. Directed by Artistic Director Eric Ting, black odyssey played 25 performances, selling 5,600 tickets and earning $283,000 in single ticket revenue, surpassing the long held record from the 2005 production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Part One. Nearly 12,000 patrons in all attended Marcus Gardley’s lyrical and spiritual reimagining of Homer’s epic. black odyssey introduced record numbers of new audiences to the Bruns Amphitheater, including 1,500 community members and students who benefitted from complimentary and subsidized ticket offerings.

Ting commented, “The gift of Marcus’ extraordinary play only grew with each passing day – of rehearsal, of performance. That we had the opportunity to share it with so many members of our great Bay Area community is a testament to the play’s capacity to entertain, to move, to heal, to celebrate. Thank you to everyone who contributed – artists and audiences alike – to make it such a phenomenal success!”

“It has been incredibly gratifying to see the Bay Area embrace this production,” added Managing Director Susie Falk. “Demand for tickets continued to grow throughout the run, until we ran out of tickets a full week before the production closed. We wish we could have extended!  We’re thrilled to have brought this powerful story to so many people, and are excited to see where black odyssey‘s journey goes next.”

black odysseyCal Shakes’ West Coast premiere of black odyssey, a thrilling and music-infused new play that mashes up Greek mythology and African-American folklore, received rave reviews from local critics and audiences alike. Touted as “Genius” by Lily Janiak of the San Francisco Chronicle, it received the highest rated Wild Applause from the Chron’s Little Man. Karen D’Souza of the Contra Costa Times called black odyssey “A white hot musical fable that’s as brilliant as it is badass,” while Chad Jones of Theaterdogs said it was “A beautiful mix of humor and passion. A deeply moving experience.”

Interest from local educators led Cal Shakes to create a special Student Night with discounts for groups of young audiences on Tuesday, August 29. Cal Shakes proudly hosted over 100 students and their teachers from Diablo Valley College, Skyline High, Carondolet High, Black Diamond High, Oakland Tech, Aspire College Prep, and Boy Scout Troop 409, and added to the Artistic Learning opportunities already slated for 2017’s Shakespeare productions, including an Interactive Study Guide and pre-performance discussions and activities for students.

Cal Shakes’ 2017 Season continues with Measure for Measure directed by Tyne Rafaeli in its first-ever co-production with Santa Cruz Shakespeare. For information or to charge tickets by phone with VISA, MasterCard, or American Express, call the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666. Additional information and online ticketing are available at

California Shakespeare Theater’s 2017 season is supported in part by the generosity of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, the Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation. Corporate partners include BART, City National Bank, John Muir Health, KBLX-FM McRoskey Mattress Company, Meyer Sound, Peet’s Coffee, and San Francisco magazine.