Much Ado About Nothing is “Something to fall in love with”

Much Ado About Nothing opened this weekend to great weather, big crowds, and delighted critics!  Our first review is out and it’s a rave: Katy Walsh of The Fourth Walsh writes,

Well, this is much ado about something.  The show is a tightly-packed comedy.  Director  Beth Wolf has actors entering and exiting the makeshift stage by running.  The action clips.  The barbs fly.  The love grows.  It’s time to fall in love with Shakespeare’s favorite unlikely couple.Much Ado About Nothing in the park is an ideal summer outing notion.  Read the whole rave review here.

We had a great time this weekend and we can’t wait to get out there at Schreiber Park again next weekend. Plan your visit now to come see the show!

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#ctc4respect

There is an online, grassroots movement happening this week in the Chicago Theatre Community.  Several Chicago theatre folks were very moved by the response to the recent UCSB shooting, and specifically the #yesallwomen and #allmencan hashtags.  They have started a campaign for the Chicago theatre community to show our support by posting photos on Facebook of ourselves holding signs with supportive messages.

One of the architects of the movement, John Morrison, said on Facebook, “I strongly believe that the best way to face anger, contempt, and cruelty is with empathy, compassion, and kindness.” Here is Midsommer Flight’s photo, taken at Much Ado About Nothing rehearsal on June 17, 2014.

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Support Free Shakespeare in the Park

Our annual fundraising campaign is underway! Please help us reach our goal to raise $1,000 by July 18, 2014, the day before Much Ado About Nothing opens.

Your contribution will support all areas of our production: costumes, prop & scenic elements, and administrative costs, to name a few. Because we present our performances free to the public, we are counting on support from our generous donors to help defray the costs of production.

Please consider a donation of the average cost of a theatre ticket in Chicago (anywhere from $50 to $20) to support free Shakespeare in the park.

To make your contribution, click here.  Thank you!

Midsommer Flight awarded 2014 SEED Grant

Great news!  Midsommer Flight has been awarded a 2014 SEED grant from Friends of the Parks. Friends of the Parks (FOTP) is a 501(c)(3) designated park advocacy organization, dedicated to preserving, protecting, and improving Chicago’s parks and forest preserves for all citizens. We are so grateful to FOTP for their support and investment in our mission. This grant will go directly to support the costs associated with our 2014 summer Shakespeare in the park tour.

Speaking of which, plans are underway for another great summer. Stay tuned for more news and updates, including the play selection, dates, and announcement of a new park venue in 2014. It’s going to be another great summer!

Announcing Midsommer Flight’s Artistic Ensemble

Happy New Year!

Although the Midsommer Flight website has been quiet since our summer production of Romeo and Juliet closed, the company is definitely still at work.  Exciting things are in store for Midsommer Flight in 2014.  Starting with…

…the formation of Midsommer Flight’s Artistic Ensemble.  These talented and dedicated artists have already made significant contributions to the company over the first two years.  Please join us in welcoming the new faces of the company!  You can read about these fantastic folks on our brand new Meet the Company page.

Midsommer Flight Artistic Ensemble
Ashlee Edgemon

John Ham
Kanome’ Jones
Beth Laske-Miller (Resident Costume Designer)
Molly Lyons
J. Preddie Predmore
Dylan Roberts (Producing Manager)
Brian Scannell
Chris Smith
Julian Stroop
Sheila Willis

Free and Accessible to All

One of the basic tenets of the Midsommer Flight philosophy is to keep our shows free and accessible to everyone.  That’s why our performances are presented free of charge, out in the open in public parks, where anyone can stop by and see Shakespeare’s amazing stories told by an excited and passionate troupe of actors.

With our first show last year, we witnessed firsthand the impact that this kind of work can have on the community.  Kids hanging out in the park became interested and engaged in our work.  As actors came to rehearsals in the park, neighborhood kids stopped them to ask questions about the show.  Those same kids sat, rapt, watching us during rehearsals, and they came back to see the full play once we began performances.  We reached an audience that truly reflected the community we were in. At the end of the summer, this impact was recognized by the Chicago City Council when they adopted a resolution to honor our “dedication to bringing the arts to underserved communities.”

If you agree with us that Shakespeare in the park should be free and accessible to all, then please consider making a contribution to support our work.  Even on a shoestring, producing a play has financial considerations.  There are costumes, props, marketing materials, and so many other costs that have to be covered to make the show happen.

To support our production of Romeo and Juliet this summer, please check out our fundraising campaign. A donation of any amount will help us reach our goal.  In return, you’ll receive our public gratitude with your name listed on the Special Thanks section of this website.

You can be a part of our mission to keep Shakespeare in the park free and accessible to all. You can help make the show happen!

Sharing More Joy

The overwhelmingly positive response to our work last summer, which reached close to 300 audience members plus numerous other passersby, and which resulted in official recognition from the Chicago City Council, has led this little Shakespeare in the park adventure to begin to expand.  Partially that means making plans for a new production in summer 2013 with an even bigger community reach than last year. In addition, it means beginning to lay more formal administrative groundwork for the company to grow. 

So, we are embarking on the process of incorporating Midsommer Flight as a not-for-profit corporation.  This will allow us to handle some of the administrative realities of producing theatre with more ease.  It is also a big step for an endeavor that started last summer as a little passion project, but has been met with a huge show of support from the community.

A big part of incorporating the company means bringing together a Board of Directors.  Producing Artistic Director Beth Wolf is joined by arts supporters Nick Dlouhy, Christopher Lentino, Sarah Snow, and Zack Whittington to form the founding Board of Directors of Midsommer Flight.  Their support and enthusiasm for our mission to bring Shakespeare in the park to Chicago communities will be vital as Midsommer Flight begins to grow.  Welcome Nick, Chris, Sarah and Zack to the Midsommer Flight family!

The process of incorporation and application for tax exempt status won’t happen overnight; it can take six months or longer.  We will certainly post updates as we accomplish milestones along the way.  Wish us luck!

Chicago City Council Honors Midsommer Flight

We are surprised and delighted that the Chicago City Council has adopted a resolution in honor of Midsommer Flight! Presented at a meeting of the city council on September 12, 2012, it bears the seal of the City of Chicago and is co-signed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Clerk Susana A. Mendoza.

The resolution reads:

A resolution adopted by The City Council of the City of Chicago, Illinois

Presented by Alderman Edward M. Burke on September 12, 2012

Whereas, Midsommer Flight, Chicago’s newest theater company, recently held its inaugural series of performances at Touhy Park in the Rogers Park community; and

Whereas, The Chicago City Council has been informed of this event by Alderman Edward M. Burke; and

Whereas, Midsommer Flight is a Chicago theater collective dedicated to bringing the arts into Chicago neighborhoods by producing outdoor performances by England’s most famous playwright, William Shakespeare; and

Whereas, The highly talented group, headed by Founder and Director Beth Wolf, gracefully staged four performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream over two weekends during the month of August; and

Whereas, Despite dealing with inclement weather during one of the performances, the performers plied their trade for the large, brave audience; and

Whereas, The cast featured actors Jared Dennis, Ross Patrick Frawley, Adrian Garcia Jr., Adam Habben, Annie Hogan, Caroline Kingsley, Anne Korajczyk Lentino, Jason Markoff, Kelsey Melvin, Ken Miller, J. Preddie Predmore, Jeannie Saracino, and Stephanie Shum; and

Whereas, The free performances were watched by crowds of picnickers and preceded by musical guests, including guitarist and singer David Fink, singer and songwriter Clare Adella, the folk duo Duck and Goose, as well as solo singer and guitarist Morgan Foster; and

Whereas, As a newly established arts partner of the Chicago Park District, Midsommer Flight plans to offer educational theater classes at Touhy Park during the months of September and October; and

Whereas, Midsommer Flight hopes to continue to provide an outlet for the arts throughout additional neighborhoods in the future; now, therefore

Be it resolved, That we, the Mayor and the members of the Chicago City Council, assembled this twelfth day of September, 2012, do hereby honor the Midsommer Flight theater troupe on their dedication to bringing the arts to underserved communities; and

Be it further resolved, That a suitable copy of this resolution be presented to Beth Wolf, Founder and Director of the Midsommer Flight theater troupe.

Rahm Emanuel, Mayor
Susana A. Mendoza, City Clerk

Contribute to our Success!

We are thrilled and excited to present a Shakespeare in the park experience for FREE to our audiences this summer – but that means we need your help to make it happen. We have started an indiegogo.com fundraising campaign to help us pay for costumes, props, rehearsal supplies, insurance, marketing and other costs.

Please consider donating the cost of an average theatre ticket (anywhere from $50 to $20) to help us reach our $1,000 goal. Any money raised above this goal will be spent to improve production values, increase marketing efforts, and support other joyful things.

Make your donation by clicking here.

 

Gratitude

This past weekend, we held auditions for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The show is fully cast and we are excited to announce the full cast list soon!  However, before we do that, we want to take a moment to thank ALL the actors who came out to audition. In fact, the interest in our auditions was so overwhelming that we weren’t even able to call in everyone who submitted a headshot. Many thanks to ALL of you who expressed interest in our project and excitement about the goals of Midsommer Flight. Of the folks we did see audition, the caliber of people was exceptional, and we definitely had some tough choices to make. Thank you all so much for the gifts of your time, talent, energy and passion. Although we could only cast a small number of you, we are incredibly grateful to all. We hope you’ll come check out the show in August and say hello!