LENOX -- Shakespeare & Company is celebrating its namesake playwright's 450th birthday this summer with the return of two audience favorites, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)"; a limited run of a special adaptation by Jonathan Epstein of "King Henry IV: Parts 1 & 11"; a Tina Packer-directed Bare Bard presentation of "Julius Caesar"; a revival of "Romeo and Juliet" in The Dell at The Mount; a world premiere translation of Carlo Goldoni's "The Servant of Two Masters" in the Rose Footprint; and the Berkshires premiere of Christopher Durang's "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," directed by Matthew Penn.
The summer season, which runs through Sept. 14, begins May 23 in the Bernstein Theatre with Vern Thiessen's "Shakespeare's Will," starring Kristin Wold as Shakespeare's wife, Ann Hathaway. Daniela Varon directs. The season ends Aug. 7 through Sept. 14 with Durang's wild comedy -- set in and around a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse -- about sibling rivalry, regrets, hopes and dreams.
"Our 37th season is especially celebratory as we mark Shakespeare's 450th birthday and reimagine some of his greatest plays that have become signature pieces for us over the years," Shakespeare & Company artistic director Tony Simotes said in a news release.
Simotes will direct "Midsummer Night;s Dream," one of the company's most-produced plays and the first Mainstage play Shakespeare & Company produced in its 1978 maiden season at The Mount. This production will be set along the Mississippi Delta during the height of the Jazz Age in the 1920s. Johnny Lee Davenport will play Bottom in the production, which is scheduled to run June 21 through Aug. 30 in the Tina Packer Playhouse.
Among other season highlights:
n "Henry IV, Parts I & II." Directed by Jonathan Epstein and featuring Malcolm Ingram as Falstaff. Epstein sets the tales between a bustling 15th century Eastcheap and a more contemporary London. Packer Playhouse. Aug. 2-31.
n "Julius Caesar." Jason Asprey, Nigel Gore, Eric Tucker lead a seven-actor Tina Packer-directed Bare Bard presentation. Bernstein Theatre. June 27-Aug. 30
n "Romeo and Juliet." Shakespeare & Company's schools touring production comes to The Dell at The Mount for a limited run. Jonathan Croy directs; Caroline Calkins and Marcus Kearns are the doomed lovers. The Dell at The Mount, 2 Plunkett St. July 17-Aug. 23
n "The Servant of Two Masters" by Carlo Goldoni. Jenna Ware directs her world poremiere adaptation of Goldoni's story of an outrageous and wily servant who secretly signs on with two masters simultaneously without realizing that his masters are star-crossed lovers, and one of them is disguised as a man. Rose Footprint. June 20-Aug. 23.
"I am thrilled about the upcoming season," board chair Sarah Hancock said in a news release. "Tony and his team have pulled together an exciting and provocative lineup of plays with something for everyone."