Finishing off its summer season with flair, California Shakespeare Theater presents one of the Bard's greatest plays: "Hamlet" running through Oct. 14, at the Bruns Memorial Amphitheater in Orinda.

Director Liesl Tommy promises a fresh look at the treachery, madness and murder at Denmark's royal court.

"For me, this is a memory play, a haunting within a haunting," says Tommy. "The world of the play becomes its own character where rooms and objects hold the secrets and memories of what took place there."

Performed in modern dress, the show features LeRoy McClain in the title role with Adrian Roberts as Claudius and the Ghost, Zainab Jah as Ophelia, and Julie Eccles as Gertrude.

Lots of special events, including a wine tasting, insightful talks, and a meet-and-greet with the performers are planned. For tickets, call 510-548-9666 or go to www.calshakes.org.

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    It's never too late for love as the characters in Joe DiPietro's comedy, "The Last Romance" amply demonstrate.

    Life once again becomes exciting when 83-year-old Ralph finds romance. As he attempts to woo the attractive and reluctant Carol with the persistence of a smitten teenager, he finds that love's last round comes with its own set of obstacles.

    A jealous sibling, secrets from the past, and fear of taking the plunge once again keep this ageless love story a delight from beginning to end.


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    Produced by Diablo Actors' Ensemble, "The Last Romance" features Bay Area favorites Stu Klitsner and Barbara Grant. The show runs through Oct 6, at Diablo's intimate Locust Street theater. Go to www.diabloactors.com for tickets.

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    Lafayette's Town Hall Theatre begins its season with Larry Gelbart's "Sly Fox" on Sept. 29. Gelbart (of "M*A*S*H" fame) adapted Ben Jonson's satire "Volpone," setting the action in the 1800s on San Francisco's wild Barbary Coast for this classic tale of greed and corruption.

    The story revolves around the old miser Foxwell J. Sly (played by Town Hall artistic director Clive Worsley) who pretends he is dying to gain further riches from those hoping to become his heir.

    "Needless to say, when Clive asked me to direct 'Sly Fox,' I was thrilled," says Søren Oliver. "But, I was at a loss as to how to stage the play.

    "Then, one evening Clive, myself and the rest of the Town Hall gang were sitting around talking, and it hit us all at once -- the music halls, vaudeville, the touring companies of the late 1800s. The history practically resonates from the walls."

    "Sly Fox" runs through Oct. 20 with an actor talk back and wine reception Oct. 5. Call 925-283-1557 or go to www.townhalltheatre.com for tickets.

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    Vagabond Players celebrate their seventh year with "The Fabulous Follies" from Sept. 28-30 and Oct. 5-7, at the El Campanil Theatre in Antioch. The dazzling song-and-dance show has become an annual event for the theater company that brings entertainment to senior centers and senior residential facilities.

    A cast of more than 30 features many local favorites, including Jennifer Peabody and Sheila Morrison. For tickets, call 925-757-9500 or go to www.elcampaniltheatre.com.

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    Actors Ensemble of Berkeley will hold auditions for a series of staged readings from 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30. The staged reading series includes "The Spottish Clay," an adaptation of "Macbeth" on Oct. 30; "Richard II" on Nov. 7; "Henry VI, Part 3" on Nov. 11; and "The Final Trial of Richard III/The Queens of France" on Nov. 14.

    Bring a short Shakespearean monologue (doesn't have to be memorized), or one will be provided. Email anna@aeofberkeley.org for an appointment or more information.

    All performances and auditions are at Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck Ave. (at Berryman Street) in north Berkeley.

    Contact Sally Hogarty at sallyhogarty@gmail.com.