Santa Cruz Shakespeare artistic director Charles Pasternak speaks to the audience
Santa Cruz Shakespeare co-artistic director Charles Pasternak speaks to the audience Monday night.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: COVID uptick, Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s big 2024 and a rail-trail update

Salutations, inquisitive minds. It is Tuesday, Aug. 22, and the forecast calls for a mostly sunny, Hilary-free weather day around Santa Cruz County, with temps in the 70s by the bay and nearing 90 in the mountains.

My guided tour awaits, but if you’re not feeling it just now, by all means explore what’s new from Lookout at your own pace.
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Max Chun is back on the COVID beat, reporting on the ongoing surge that’s seeing more hospitalizations and demand for tests emptying local shelves. That news comes with an updated vaccine expected to roll out next month.

From DeLaveaga Park, Wallace Baine brings word of an ambitious 2024 season for Santa Cruz Shakespeare: “Hamlet” will headline an unprecedented five-play slate that also includes a holiday Dickens production.

And in Lookout’s Community Voices opinion section, Mike Rotkin has an update on where the county’s Regional Transportation Commission stands as it moves along with plans for a train between Santa Cruz and Watsonville.

You’ll find all that plus Lookout’s new prep sports roundup in the Tuesday headlines — join me, won’t you?

COVID is on the rise, and yes, time to think about masking again

Alameda County health workers prepare different sized syringes with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
(Anne Wernikoff / CalMatters)

The numbers prove what you might suspect: COVID has hit a summer high. With no new vaccine anticipated until late September, expect to see more people wearing masks as drugstores empty their shelves of tests. Max Chun with the latest.

FROM LAST WEEK: COVID surges in Santa Cruz County as hospitalizations and infections trend upward

Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s stunning ambition: Company goes big with five productions in 2024

outgoing Santa Cruz Shakespeare artistic director Mike Ryan speaks to the audience
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

“Hamlet” — which co-artistic director Charles Pasternak calls “the world’s most famous play” — headlines next year’s season, with an announcement made Monday at the company’s DeLaveaga Park home. But the big news: five productions — the most ever by a company that can claim four decades of performance — and only two of them are Shakespeare’s. The works of Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams and Charles Dickens complete the 2024 playbill. Read more from Wallace Baine.

MORE FROM WALLACE: Fight night at Santa Cruz’s KP Arena: Four hours in, hometown hero Danny Compton enters the Octagon


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And that, dear readers, is what I know as we ease into Tuesday. I hope you’ll save room for what’s coming later from Lookout, which includes another serving of Lily Belli on Food. Her news and notes from Santa Cruz County’s food and drink scene hits inboxes in just hours, and you can sign up for that and all of Lookout’s newsletters by clicking right here. (And while you’re there, take advantage of our breaking news alerts via email and text.) You can also keep up on local news and views via social media — find Lookout on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads.

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Here’s to a pleasant Tuesday!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz