Shakespeare in the Park: 'The Tempest' wraps up successful run, sets single-night attendance record
Photo Gallery | "The Tempest" in the Pittsfield Common
PITTSFIELD — Shakespeare in the Park finished up strong this past weekend thanks to pleasant, dry weather, a record-breaking night and some divine intervention.
Under clear skies last Friday, "The Tempest" drew more than 500 people to The Common on First Street, helping push the overall attendance to just under 3,000 for the three-week run, according to the troupe's director and founder Enrico Spada.
"Friday's crowd was our biggest in three years," he said.
The curtain went up on 10 of the 12 scheduled shows at the park's pavilion, with the other two rained out July 30 and 31.
"It's too bad we lost a Saturday and Sunday, those are usually big nights," Spada noted.
Mother Nature aside, "The Tempest", a romance with a happy ending and Williams Shakespeare's last known written play, went off with out hitch or glitch, with one minor exception.
"There was one night the computer playing the sound effects had a loose cable, delaying the show for two minutes," Spada said.
In it's third year — second at The Common — Shakespeare in the Park's latest production opened July 21, coinciding with Pittsfield's Third Thursdays downtown celebration, and ran three consecutive Thursday through Sunday stretches, closing this past Sunday.
Admission to the nightly shows were free, courtesy of several area businesses, philanthropic foundations, the city and an Indiegogo online crowdfunding campaign.
"The Tempest" was a collaboration with the city's Parks Department and the Zion Lutheran Church next door. The house of worship again served as the theatrical group's home base for nearly two months of indoor rehearsal space, dressing room for cast members and green room for the thespians when not on stage. The church also ran a concession stand near the park entrance on show nights.
"We've been a silent partner," said Church Council President Alicia Aldam. "We're the right place at the right time."
The church views the partnership as another form of ministry, according to Aldam that helps connect the local Lutherans with the city at large.
Church doors are also open during the Pittsfield Farmers Market on Saturdays, while Pittsfield-based community orchestra, Stockbridge Sinfonia holds its weekly rehearsal inside.
"You get to hear a symphony as you walk away with your zucchini," she quipped.
As Spada begins to plan the 2017 midsummer performance — an announcement likely in midwinter — he hopes Shakespeare in the Park is a catalyst for other groups to avail themselves of The Common and its pavilion.
"I hope what we're doing shows it's a viable space for events on a smaller scale," he said.
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233
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