Honoring the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birthday, Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass., will be packing in five Shakespeare plays and two Shakespeare-related productions along with two plays making premieres for the company's 37th Summer Performance Season May 23–Sept. 14. Several other special celebratory events also are planned.
The season's centerpiece production will be Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. "A perennial favorite of Shakespeare’s work, the magical and vibrant comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream was our first Mainstage production in 1978 and gets a fresh take as it unfolds during the jazz age in America along the Mississippi Delta," Shakespeare & Company’s Artistic Director Tony Simotes said in a statement. He will be directing the play, running in the Tina Packer Playhouse.
Meantime, company founder and former Artistic Director Tina Packer herself will return to direct Shakespeare's Julius Caesar at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, using only seven actors. The other Shakespeare titles on tap are Romeo and Juliet, directed by Jonathan Cory at The Dell at The Mount, outdoor theater at Edith Wharton’s Home, performed by the six-actor Northeast Regional Tour of Shakespeare troupe, and Henry IV Parts I & II combined into one production playing at the Packer Playhouse. Directed by Jonathan Epstein, the production transitions from Elizabethan-era Eastcheap to modern London.
Croy will also be directing The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at the Packer Playhouse, and the Vern Thiessen play Shakespeare's Will is scheduled for a run at the Bernstein Theatre, directed by Daniela Varon. “Our tribute to Shakespeare continues with Shakespeare’s Will,” Simotes said. “A modern twist on the touchingly heartfelt story of his wife, Ann Hathaway. Filled with poetry, song, and irreverence, Shakespeare’s Will is a whimsical journey of conjecture on the story of their unconventional courtship and marriage. Then with a wink and a nod, we bring back the cheeky and crowd-pleasing, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). This comedic maelstrom leaves no play in Shakespeare’s canon unscathed, or the Company itself."
A new adaptation of Carlo Goldoni's commedia dell'arte masterpiece The Servant of Two Masters will get its world premiere at the Rose Footprint and Bankside Festival. Adapter Jenna Ware will direct. The modern play Christopher Durang’s Tony Award–winning Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike gets its Berkshire premiere at the Bernstein Theatre, directed by Matthew Penn.
Shakespeare & Company will also welcome back Founding Member Susan Dibble for her signature theatrical dance event Dibbledance, a one-night-only special performance on the Playhouse stage Aug. 31. Dibble, who has choreographed countless productions and special events over the past three and a half decades, will be joined onstage by several artists for this unique celebration of movement and theatricality.
Tickets for the 2014 Performance Season go on sale in mid-February. For specific dates and info, please check online at www.shakespeare.org or by calling the box office at 413- 637-3353, or in person at 70 Kemble St., Lenox, Mass.
February 7, 2014