Sunday, June 19, 2016

Summer Shakespeare

Tomorrow is the solstice, marking the official beginning of summer, which means lots of open-air productions of Shakespeare!

I've already seen The Public Theater's all-female production of The Taming of the Shrew, which honestly, I found rather disappointing. After building up Katherina as a really interesting character capable of change and adaptation, the production cops out, going for gags at the end instead of finding some sort of emotional core.

Still, I remain hopeful for the Public's second production in Central Park, Troilus and Cressida, which opens July 19th. Directed by Daniel Sullivan, the company's go-to director for classy productions of classics, it promises less gimmick and more substance. Sullivan directed the Public's joyous production of Cymbeline last year as well as their superb King Lear two years ago.

The Public isn't the only game in town, and Hudson Warehouse is currently performing Much Ado About Nothing at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in Riverside Park. I haven't seen this production yet, but hope to get to it sometime this week. Hudson Warehouse will also be doing Othello starting July 28th, also at the Soldier's and Sailors' Monument.

Unfortunately, this looks like the last year for free Shakespeare in Inwood Park, as outdoor grilling seems to take precedence over outdoor theatre. A farewell production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona (complete with canine performers) closes June 25th.

Should you want to cross the Hudson into New Jersey (no passport needed), The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is doing a production of Coriolanus starring my old classmate Greg Derelian in the title role. This one, however, is indoors.

New York Classical Theatre is currently performing A Midsummer Night's Dream at the north end of Central Park, but I'm more interested in their production of The Winter's Tale opening in Battery Park on July 18th.

Why? Because I already have a ticket to see Midsummer at Shakespeare's Globe in London in August! Before I go, though, I'll have to see Shakespeare in the Parking Lot's new steampunk production of As You Like It.

Hip to Hip will be doing a rival production of As You Like It, as well as a production of Julius Caesar. I loved their version of The Merchant of Venice last year, so I'm looking forward to seeing them again.

So if you're looking for Shakespeare this summer, you're in luck! Just remember to bring the bug spray.