LENOX -- Shakespeare & Company's Artistic Director Tony Simotes today announced the lineup for the Company's provocative and ambitious 37th Summer Performance Season. Simotes has planned a celebratory season of Shakespeare, modern works, premieres and special events in honor of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth

"450 years later Shakespeare's plays are still fresh and remarkably relevant to today's audiences," Simotes said. "We mark Shakespeare's 450th Birthday and re-imagine some of his greatest plays that have become signature pieces for us over the years.

"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."

2014 Summer Season At A Glance

'A Midsummer Night's Dream' Directed by Tony Simotes

Packer Playhouse: June 21 - Aug. 30

This high-spirited and magical comedy is filled with shenanigans, the trials of young love and an uncanny observance in human behavior. A Midsummer Night's Dream features many long time Company favorites including Elliot Norton and IRNE Award-winning actor Johnny Lee Davenport who will take on the irrepressible role of Bottom as he and his band of ‘rude mechanicals' hit the boards for a fun and exciting 11-week run this summer. With a sharp eye and savvy hand, Artistic Director Tony Simotes delivers an enchanted and unforgettable evening of theatre for the young and the young at heart.


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Magic and whimsy meet down in the Bayou where A Midsummer Night's Dream comes to life and the jazz era in America explodes! Oberon, Titania and the ever-mischievous sprite Puck frolic among the mangroves and Spanish moss in this enchanted and unforgettable treatment of Shakespeare's classic, bawdy comedy. Four centuries later, this magical and transformative play remains a metaphor for human life and folly.

'Henry IV, Parts I & II'

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Jonathan Epstein

Packer Playhouse: Aug. 2 - Aug. 31

"By heaven, methinks it were an easy leap to pluck bright honor from the pale-faced moon..." Henry IV, part I, Act 1, iii

An exhilarating and potent voyage through time and history, this special adaptation, delivers both parts of Henry IV in a single dynamic evening of theatre. Director Jonathan Epstein (The Hollow Crown, Henry V, and actor in leading roles with the Company for over 20 years) sets the tales between a bustling 15th century Eastcheap and a more contemporary London, where both parts flow together, blending fact and fiction as we follow this stirring history of succession to the throne.

Prince Hal, heir apparent, rebels against his father forsaking the court and engaging in petty crime with the disorderly Falstaff. Meanwhile, the guilt-ridden King Henry, haunted by the manner in which he came to the throne, is facing another kind of rebellion -- the conspiracies of the honor-drunk Harry Percy, called "The Hotspur," and his confederates. The two plays offer many of the most memorable characters and lines in Shakespeare.

Shakespeare & Company is committed to producing all 10 of Shakespeare's history plays over the course of the next several years. The histories include, King John, Richard II, which played last season, Henry IV part I, Henry IV part II, Henry V, Henry VI part I, Henry VI part II, Henry VI part III, Richard III, and Henry VIII.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

By Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield

Directed by Jonathan Croy

Packer Playhouse: July 4 - Aug. 24

"I thought the world of Shakespearean scholarship would be all fast cars and hot babes!"

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

Mayhem, comedy and lunacy rule in this tongue-and-cheek medley of the Bard's works. Director Jonathan Croy (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard III, Twelfth Night), who appeared in all three of the previous productions of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at Shakespeare & Company, has resurfaced to don his director's cap and carve out a fresh take on this outrageous comedy. Three actors, 37 of Shakespeare's plays, and all under two hours? Yes!

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) returns with a mischievous new cast who open the play with a feverish version of Romeo and Juliet, after which Titus Andronicus finds deep resonance for the actors in the form of a cooking show, and Othello discovers his latent musical talents. The madness continues with a presentation of all 16 of Shakespeare's comedies condensed into a single play: "The Comedy of Two Well-Measured Gentlemen Lost in the Merry Wives of Venice on a Midsummer's Twelfth Night in Winter," with feats of magic, several sets of identical twins, a tempest, shrews, fairies, aphrodisiacs, jackasses, murders, suicide, lobotomies and a happy ending. With 36 plays down and one to go, Complete Works wraps with the tragedy of Hamlet -- regular, fast, fastest, and backwards.

Dibbledance

Director & Choreographer Susan Dibble

Aug. 31, at 7:30pm

Shakespeare & Company welcomes founding member Susan Dibble for her signature theatrical dance event. Dibble has choreographed countless productions and special events over the past three and a half decades.

"Shakespeare's Will"

By Vern Thiessen

Director: Daniela Varon

May 23 - Aug. 24

"And sitting on the bed we make a vow: To live our own lives It will be our own kind of marriage." Shakespeare's Will

In this sensual and provocative tale by award-winning Canadian playwright Vern Thiessen, "Shakespeare's Will," set in 1616 in Stratford-upon-Avon, elucidates the tumultuous life of Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare's enigmatic wife, to whom he infamously bequeathed his second-best bed. Long-time Company actor Kristin Wold (King Lear, The Tempest, Sea Marks) takes on this powerful one-woman show in a depiction of love, faith and determination. This bold, funny, and unapologetic exploration of Anne's mind and heart illuminates an uncharted aspect of Shakespeare's world, giving voice to the woman who spent 34 years married to a genius she rarely saw.

"Julius Caesar"

By William Shakespeare

Director Tina Packer

Bernstein Theatre: June 27 - Aug. 30

"Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings." Julius Caesar, Act I, ii.

Shakespeare's riveting and bloody Julius Caesar heats up the Bernstein stage in this ‘bare Bard' production, directed by Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer, in which seven actors play all the roles. This poetry-filled psychological and political drama follows the conspiracy against and assassination of the Roman Dictator and the aftermath that ensues from his brutal murder. "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"

By Christopher Durang

Directed by Matthew Penn

Bernstein Theatre: August 7 - Sept. 14

"We used to lick postage stamps back then! ... We didn't have answering machines. You had to call people back. We ate spam just like the soldiers in World War II did. Have you heard of World War II?" Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Act II, iv

With tremendous heart and comic twists, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" garnered national recognition Obie Award-winning playwright Christopher Durang Durang the Tony Award for Best Play in 2013 for its Broadway run. In the family's rural Pennsylvanian farmhouse, Vanya and his adopted sister Sonia find their lives turned upside down when their narcissistic movie star sister, Masha, shows up with her prized and much younger boyfriend, Spike. Durang ("Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You," "The Marriage of Bette & Boo" and "Laughing Wild") pays loving homage to Anton Chekov's classic themes of loss and longing, as he turns the Russian playwright on his ear in this clever comedy primed for our social media-minded and modern world.

"Romeo and Juliet"

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Jonathan Croy

at The Mount

July 17 - Aug. 23

"My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep " Romeo and Juliet, II, ii.

Shakespeare's tale of love, "Romeo and Juliet," will grace Edith Wharton's Home, The Mount, in its outdoor playing space, The Dell. A miracle of human expression, Romeo and Juliet reminds us of what it is to swear by the moon, to see the sun in another person, and to risk the consequences hanging in the stars. Directed by longtime Company member Jonathan Croy (The 39 Steps, Richard III, The Real Inspector Hound), the magic, humor, and power of Shakespeare's words in his most well-known love story will resonate throughout the natural woodlands near the Dell for years to come.

"The Servant of Two Masters"

By Carlo Goldoni

Adapted and Directed by Jenna Ware

The Rose footprint

June 20 - August 23

"There are many that look in vain for a master, and I have found two. What the devil am I to do? I cannot wait upon them both. No? Why not?" The Servant of Two Masters

Director Jenna Ware "(It's Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play," "Les Faux Pas or the Counterplots," "The Venetian Twins," "Red Hot Patriot: The Kick Ass Wit of Molly Ivins," "Amorous Quarrel" and "Shirley Valentine") brings her fast paced and hilarious adaptation of Carlo Goldoni's masterpiece to the outdoor Rose Footprint theatre. Resplendent with some of his wittiest knots and twists, "The Servant of Two Masters" is a comical blend of the Italian classic Commedia dell'arte and contemporary performance styles that tell the story of a wily servant, Truffaldino, who secretly signs on with two masters simultaneously. But his masters are star-crossed lovers, and one of them is disguised as a man.

"The Declaration of Independence"

Bankside Meadow: Friday, July 4, at 3 p.m. Free

Celebrate a revolutionary weekend with a free reading of the Declaration of Independence, some of the most stirring words of political rhetoric ever written, spoken out loud by S&Co. actors and guests from the community. Filled with music, sweets and treats, this jubilant summer event is always a huge hit and drew nearly 1,000 patrons last year. Come early and enjoy an all-American lip-smacking barbeque (à la carte).

Shakespeare & Young Company

Rose Footprint: Aug. 13 and 15

No writer has captured the powerful emotions of adolescence better than Shakespeare. In his words, youth spring eternal. Join our Young Company actors as they perform Shakespeare's works with a fierce and fiery temperament, exploring their passion for friendship, love, justice, and hope. Shakespeare & Young Company is an eight-week program for youths 16 to 20 years old.

Riotous Youth

Rose Footprint: Alternating Fridays in July and August

At the end of each two-week session, Riotous Youth participants create a performance piece based on scenes from a play, which they share with family, friends and S&Co. members at the outdoor, tented Rose Footprint Theatre. Now in its 15th year, Riotous Youth is a two-week program for multiple age groups, designed to introduce actors aged 7 to 15 to Shakespeare through a series of fun and creative workshops including exercises involving voice, movement, and acting. Participants play theatre games, create craft projects, and explore Shakespeare's words through scenes and monologues, either at Shakespeare & Company's campus, or down the road in Lenox Memorial High School's state-of-the-art theatre.

Performances take place at Shakespeare & Company's campus at 70 Kemble St., Lenox, except for "Romeo and Juliet" at The Mount, at 2 Plunkett St., Lenox.

Tickets for the 2014 Performance Season go on sale in mid-February. For specific date and info please check online www.shakespeare.org or call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353.