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Lisa Wolpe
Artistic Director
L.A. Women's Shakespeare Company
[email protected]

“Wolpe brilliantly owns the stage.”
- The New Current, U.K.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

"Hearing that Lisa Wolpe was bringing her critically acclaimed show Shakespeare & The Alchemy of Gender to The Rose Playhouse intrigued me... The first words from her mouth are the immortal words of Hamlet and his infamous soliloquy and in that moment the audience is not just captured but are transfixed…"

“Lisa Wolpe is her own woman and joyfully speaks her mind, but her greatest legacy will undoubtedly be her creative vision and determination to create a platform and a voice for women, minorities and now the growing trans community in theatre. ”

“…contains some of the best Shakespeare performances I have seen. The play pays homage to her father, telling the man’s story and how he affected her life…”

“Definitely a must-see for anyone wanting to experience the work of one of the most notable proponents of cross-gender casting.”

“In her show she inhabited shifting realms of thought and myriad niches of human emotion. Such a joy and nourishment to see and hear Shakespeare played so truthfully and fully.”  

  “Ms. Wolpe knows how to tell stories, personal and Shakespearean, and she does so with power and panache. ”

“an engaging, heartrending, satisfying time in the theatre.”

“unexpectedly gut-wrenching, fascinating, thought-provoking, and in fact transcendent”

Kevin Vavasseur as Satan
in the 2010 production of M3,
directed by Lisa Wolpe


With Lisa Wolpe*, Nick Salamone*, & Mary Hodges*
Directed by Lisa Wolpe and Natsuko Ohama

“A brilliant portrait of a murderer, with a supernatural sizzle & a serious gender flip...”


The Alchemy of Gender is my autobiographical solo show, which I’ve toured to fabulous reviews from L.A. to London and through twenty other cities. In it I play Hamlet, Richard III, Shylock, and other great male characters.

"Lisa Wolpe and other thespians in her plays transcend the physical – racially, sexually – so long as they embody a character emotionally, psychologically....Macbeth3 is as dark as Shakespeare’s original vision, if not darker and maybe a little more satanic. Lisa Wolpe’s execution of this gender-bent tragic tale is clever and, in comparison to other Shakespeare renditions, revolutionary.

The blood of sliced throats will continue to stain H.E.R.E theatre’s stage until August 14th. Anyone interested in Lisa Wolpe’s gender-bending and overall “Shakesperiences” should also check out her one-woman show Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender, which also plays at H.E.R.E until August 14th.


Wolpe’s distillation of the Scottish Play into a 66-minute delight is a great introduction to Shakespeare ...co-directed by Natsuko Ohama, with amazing costumes by Kelly Horrigan—I especially loved Satan’s red leather ensemble—and set by Mia Torres. The dystopian once-and-future of the set features a variety of entrances, no spoilers, and the acoustic talent of the actors, as they explore dynamic range from frantic to supported whisper, is heard in every corner of the theater. This could be named “Bloody Bloody Scottish Play,” because these players are not fooling around ! The fight choreography, the actors’ craft, and the interpretations will all satisfy devotees of the Bard... Make plans to see these shows while they are here. If you are an intensity junkie, it’s even possible to see these shows in rolling repertory–a further tip o’the hat to Wolpe’s talent and commitment. Two very different shows involving Shakespeare, life experience, and a depth of talent that you are unlikely to experience anywhere else. Visit www.here.org now, without delay, as these shows end their run on August 14. I’m already making plans to return.
- Sherri Rase,


Lisa Wolpe’s solo show brings wry humor and Shakespearean insight to a range of wrenchingly difficult subject matters, including sexism, domestic abuse, suicide, and the Holocaust. …fearlessness, sincerity, and good humor.
– The New Yorker



When Wolpe delivers speeches as Richard III, as Henry V, and as Shylock, we plumb the depth of the canon of Shakespeare’s characters, along with her considerable talent. Her voice paints in oils with depth and richness of tone and nuance, and you want to hear her in these roles as they appear in the full-length plays. It is the intertwining depth of the personal and art and the internecine twists and turns that I find most fascinating.

"Ms. Wolpe demonstrates a fluid physicality and a soothing vocal expressiveness. Wolpe quite adeptly offers rich characterizations of some of those most illustrious roles. In addition she seamlessly switches to delivering revelatory reminiscences and concise analysis of the plays with élan that recalls Spalding Gray’s monologues. The combination of these elements yields to a wonderful performance..Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender is in the tradition of Shakespearean solo shows by male performers and is also a unique addition to it. That’s due to Lisa Wolpe’s accomplished acting…”


"Having a conversation with internationally known theater artist and activist Lisa Wolpe is a feast for the mind and imagination..."



interview by Kyle Moore

Pictured: Lisa Wolpe as Iago in "Othello"; Jen Chu as Lorenzo in "Merchant of Venice"; Natsuko Ohama as Prospero, Cynthia Ruffin, Tessa Thompson and Louisa Wood as Ariel in "The Tempest"

Read "Footlights" article - CLICK HERE

Power & Mania
At Its Worst

Richard III

Directed by and Starring Lisa Wolpe
Cal Poly Pomona
Southern California Shakespeare Festival

September, 2011

Talkin' Broadway
"As a rule, if you have an opportunity to see Lisa Wolpe in a Shakespeare play, you should take it." - Sharon Perlmutter

Cal Poly


Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender 

See photos!

is beyond and about gender - an actor's journey written and performed by Lisa Wolpe, acclaimed Shakespearean Drag King. It's pages are torn from the libraries of the great Elizabethan Renaissance Mystery Schools. This is the story of a masterful performer peeking through the veil, a cosmic cartographer celebrating Shakespeare's most powerful work. Wolpe reveals the physical and spiritual secrets of cross-gender performance, and offers a rare insight into the making of the Great Bard's magic. A one-woman show, written, directed, and performed by Lisa Wolpe.

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Updated 09/01/16

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