Shakespeare & Company featuring the lighter side of the Bard in 2019

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LENOX — Shakespeare & Company's 2019 summer schedule will find its namesake playwright in a jovial mood.

Three comedies by the Bard of Avon — "Twelfth Night," "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and "The Taming of the Shrew" — are on tap for the summer season which begins Memorial Day weekend.

"Twelfth Night" is up first, July 2-Aug. 9, in the mainstage Tina Packer Playhouse, directed by Shakespeare & Company artistic director Allyn Burrows. Kevin Coleman will direct "Merry Wives" for the outdoor Roman Garden Theatre, Aug. 8-Sept. 1; and Kelly Galvin, who directed "Love's Labors Lost" last summer for the outdoor Dell at The Mount, Edith Wharton's home, returns there to direct "The Taming of the Shrew," July 9-Aug. 17.

The balance of the 2019 season, along with casting, is expected to be announced sometime in January.

"If we've learned anything in the last couple of years it's that language and its effect on us is extremely powerful," Burrows said in a news release. "Is it just me or are we as a society on guard and on edge, and could use some relief and release from the cacophony? That is why our next season is about celebrating who we are as human beings. "'Twelfth Night' is a passionately expressive play, 'Merry Wives of Windsor' is a rollicking romp. 'The Taming of the Shrew' asks some crucial questions about how we treat each other. That's the beauty of Shakespeare: when things get crazy, he seems to reach across the ages with a grin to offer reassurance."

Burrows, who is beginning his third season as Shakespeare & Company's chief, also said that Coleman and Galvin "each bring a great sense of humor and insight into the relationships of each play."

Burrows, who has appeared in several productions of "Twelfth Night," said he is "eager to visit Illyria [the play's setting] as a director.

"Shakespeare is at the top of his game with this piece, there's so much desire, mischief, and sublime language that one can't help but lean into it and strive to learn what Shakespeare was saying about humanity in general."

"The Merry Wives of Windsor" marks Coleman's first directing assignment of a major production at Shakespeare & Company in nearly a decade. A founding member of Shakespeare & Company, Coleman is the company's director of education. He works in the performance and training departments as an actor, teacher and director, and teaches text analysis, stage combat and clown. In 2016, he was runner-up for the Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education.

Adjacent to the Tina Packer Playhouse, the outdoor Roman Garden Theatre will be re-configured for "Merry Wives."

"In Shakespeare's town of Windsor bad behavior actually carries consequences," Coleman said in the news release. "Whaddya know? Never underestimate the power of women ... to exact justice in good fun and give a devil his due."

"The Taming of the Shrew" will be presented as a 90-minute family-friendly production.

"'The Taming of the Shrew' is full of surprises," said Galvin in the news release. "It's an explosive look at love, identity, and power that will be an adventure to let loose in the Dell.

"I'm especially eager to discover how 'Shrew' speaks to contemporary questions about gender, love, and partnership, and how the world of Shakespeare's rowdy, raucous comedy speaks to our own."

Galvin has worked as a director, teacher and actor with Shakespeare & Company since 2008 and taught and directed for the Young Company Summer Conservatory Program. She served as artistic associate for WAM Theatre from 2012-2014, where she directed "The Last Wife" and produced the inaugural Fresh Takes Reading Series.

Three- and six-show FLEXpasses go on sale Tuesday. Single tickets for the 2019 performance season go on sale to members and groups on Feb. 12. Tickets for the general public will be released on Feb. 26.

Meanwhile, Shakespeare & Company's winter season continues with the Fall Festival of Shakespeare Nov. 15-18 at the Tina Packer Playhouse. Next month the company presents a costumed staged reading of "Pride and Prejudice," Dec. 14-16, followed by the Winter Studio Festival of work by emerging and established playwrights, Jan. 19 and 20.

Additional information on the summer performance season or year-round programming is available by phone at 413-637-3353 or online at shakespeare.org.




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