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!

IMG_2196

Get a sneak peek at Much Ado About Nothing

Thanks to photographer Zack Whittingon, we have some early photos to share! Check out our two couples: Beatrice (Ashlee Edgemon) and Benedick (Martel Manning), and Hero (Vivian Knouse) and Claudio (Adam Habben).

The show opens July 19. Make your plans now!

Announcing the cast of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Headshot Thumbnail-Much Ado

We are thrilled to announce that casting is complete for Much Ado About Nothing.  Thank you so much to all of the actors who auditioned; we had tough decisions to make and we sincerely appreciate everyone’s time and talent.

And now, the cast of this summer’s Much Ado About Nothing (to see photos of the actors, click here):

Benedick Martel Manning
Beatrice Ashlee Edgemon
Claudio Adam Habben
Hero Vivian Knouse
Leonato Scott Olson
Antonio J. Preddie Predmore
Don Pedro Chris Smith
Don John Frank Sawa
Borachio Jason Markoff
Conrade Liam Fitzgerald
Ursula Kanome Jones
Margaret Meredith Ernst
Balthasar Elizabeth Rentfro
Dogberry Jared Dennis
Verges Christina Renee Jones
Watch 1 Glenn Garrabrant
Watch 2 Meg Harkins
Watch 3 Travis Cook
Sexton/Friar Sheila Willis

Announcing Summer 2014 Plans

A CHICAGO SUMMER TRADITION CONTINUES AS MIDSOMMER FLIGHT ANNOUNCES ITS OUTDOOR SUMMER PRODUCTION OF

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

JULY 19 – AUGUST 24, 2014

Midsommer Flight Returns to Rogers Park’s Touhy Park and Scheiber Park and Adds Gross Park in Lincoln Square to the Chicago Park District Venues Hosting Shakespeare’s Enchanting Comedy, Perfect for the Whole Family.

Midsommer Flight announces its third summer season of Shakespeare in the Park with the delightful comedy Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare and directed by Midsommer Flight’s Founder and Producing Artistic Director Beth Wolf. Dedicated to presenting outdoor performances of Shakespeare’s plays, Midsommer Flight is a proud arts partner with the Chicago Park District.

Much Ado About Nothing runs for six weeks from July 19 through August 24, Saturdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. For performance locations and details, click here. All performances will be presented free of charge (donations gratefully accepted). In addition, live music will be presented a half hour prior to each performance. Audiences are encouraged to come early and bring a picnic to enjoy this free programming.

Midsommer Flight’s Much Ado About Nothing features a cast of 20 and tells a tale of love winning out despite any obstacles. One of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, Much Ado takes the audience to an Italian villa, where two pairs of lovers, Beatrice and Benedick, and Claudio and Hero, navigate through deceptions ranging from sinister to hilarious on their journey toward happily ever after.

#  #  #

We are so excited for another summer and we hope to see you at the park!

 

More Praise for Romeo and Juliet!

The praise keeps coming for Romeo and Juliet!  Chicago Theater Beat had quite a lot to say about our fantastic production:

[Romeo and Juliet] has captured the imaginations of generations and has been performed and adapted many times over – so much so that making a performance of Romeo and Juliet seem fresh is a challenging task. Midsommer Flight‘s Romeo and Juliet, however, manages to do exactly that….

Performed in Schreiber Park, this theatre experience is laid-back, and the production seems to foster a true sense of community as families who wandered into the park to play, were drawn to the show. It was also wonderful seeing young children in the audience….

[Ashlee Edgemon as Juliet] gives a spirited and endearing performance, and in Juliet’s happier moments, manages to exude a joy that is infectious. In the more somber moments of play, Edgemon’s performance deftly transitions to mournful without feeling sudden or overdone…. Edgemon and Brian Scannell, who played Romeo, have great chemistry together…. Another thoroughly enjoyable performance is Molly Lyonsas Juliet’s nurse. Lyons’ sincerity lends a sense of authenticity to Juliet’s scenes with her, which are among the best in the play.

Overall, this clean-cut execution of possibly the most famous love story in the world wins because it gives you the play as is, straight up, just as Shakespeare intended it (or as close as we can get today!) Whether you have read “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” or are only just beginning to dip into the Bard’s works, this a great way to spend a relaxing midsummer eve.  –Anuja Vaidya

You can read the entire review here.

Romeo and Juliet is Reader Recommended!

What a fabulous opening weekend!  Romeo and Juliet opened to great audiences and lovely weather. The audience reaction so far is uniformly positive, from the neighborhood kids to the seasoned theatergoers who came out to the park this weekend. We can already tell this is going to go by too fast — only three weeks left now to see the show.

Our first review is in and it’s a rave!  The Chicago Reader sings our praises and has added Romeo and Juliet to their Recommended list:

I’d be singing the praises of Midsommer Flight’s latest, an outdoor performance of Romeo and Juliet in Rogers Park’s Schreiber Park, even if I weren’t so admiring of its mission: to perform Shakespeare in under-served communities. Part of the thrill was the random appearance of intrigued locals not used to hearing Shakespeare in a corner lot. R & J is, of course, the classic tale of emotional extremity. Director Beth Wolf moves things along with speed and agility, cutting strategically and keeping the whole thing under two hours. The simple set (four wooden boxes which become balcony, bed, and tomb) allows the words to take center stage. The actors are uniformly strong, from bawdy scene stealers Mercutio (Julian Stroop) and Nurse (Molly Lyons) to the solid leading lovers. Brendan Hutt’s Friar Lawrence had me considering the radical, subversive role of the church in devotion to love. —Suzanne Scanlon

We are so incredibly proud of this show and the work that the cast and crew have done to bring it to life.  If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss Romeo and Juliet!

Announcing the Cast of Romeo and Juliet

Rehearsals start tonight for Romeo and Juliet.  We are so excited to jump off the cliff with the following wonderful folks!

CAST  
Ashlee Edgemon Juliet
Nick Ferrin Gregory, Peter, Paris’ Page
John Ham Benvolio
Brendan Hutt Friar Lawrence
Kanome’ Jones Chorus, Prince
Nyle Kenning Sampson, Friar John
Molly Lyons Nurse
Mason Pain Paris
J. Preddie Predmore Lord Capulet
Rachael Proulx Lady Montague
Brian Scannell Romeo
Chris Smith Tybalt
Julian Stroop Mercutio
Adam Welsh Abraham, Balthazar
Sheila Willis Lady Capulet
   
CREW  
Beth Wolf Director
Dylan Roberts Assistant Director
Beth Laske-Miller Costume Designer
Ross Lemmon Props Designer
David Yondorf Violence Designer

For more information about our cast and crew, please visit the Meet the Artists page.

Announcing Summer 2013 Plans

We are delighted to announce our selection for our next Shakespeare adventure: Romeo and Juliet

On the heels of last summer’s successful two-week run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Touhy Park, we will return to the north side this year with a longer run of performances and an expanded reach in the community. Performances will span four weeks this summer, with two weeks returning to Touhy Park as well as two weeks at nearby Schreiber Park. We are excited to partner once again with the Chicago Park District, especially with the opportunity this year to deepen our relationship with Touhy as well as to forge a connection with our new friends at Schreiber.

The play will be directed by Midsommer Flight founder and Producing Artistic Director Beth Wolf. Just like last year, all performances will be presented free of charge (donations gratefully accepted).  In addition, live music will be presented prior to each performance, and audiences are encouraged to come early and bring a picnic. We’ll post more details about the show as we get closer to the performances, including cast and crew listings, musical guests, and logistical information about planning your trip to the park.

We hope you’ll join us in July and August for another incredible experience this year.  We are thrilled to share Shakespeare’s beautiful and passionate story of young love this summer!

***

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S ROMEO AND JULIET

July 27 – August 18, 2013
Saturdays at 6:00 PM
Sundays at 2:00 PM

July 27-28 and August 3-4
Schreiber Park
1552 W. Schreiber Avenue
Chicago, IL 60626
Field at the corner of Bosworth Avenue and Schreiber Avenue           

August 10-11 and 17-18
Touhy Park

7348 N. Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60626
Southeast grove along Paulina Street

Summer Anecdote: An Unexpected Actor Joins the Show

During the performance on Saturday, August 25, a little boy – maybe four years old – started walking through the audience and landed onstage, looking out at everyone and growling in all directions.  Then he walked around and through the audience again, while adults tried to engage him with whispers of “hey little buddy!” and “where’s your mommy?”  He wasn’t really responding to anyone, though, and wouldn’t be deterred from his wandering and growling.  We learned later that he has autism, which explains why the adults in the audience weren’t able to engage him easily.  It turns out that he had run away from his mother, who was standing in the back and afraid to go get him, for fear of causing an even bigger scene. 

But we didn’t know that yet, so by the time he landed onstage a second time, front and center, everyone in the audience was starting to worry about this lost little boy.  But that’s when the magic happened.  The actress Jeannie Saracino, playing Puck with delightful glee, walked right up to the boy and delivered her next line directly to him: “Yet but three? Come one more,/Two of both kinds makes up four./Here she comes, curst and sad….”  The little boy was enthralled, and the audience erupted into spontaneous applause as this little unsuspecting actor became a delightful part of the show.  In addition, everyone breathed a collective sigh of joy and relief that both the boy and the actors were all going to be OK.  Then the little boy sat down in the lap of a kind stranger in the front row for a few minutes, and then he ran off and re-joined his mother.  It was the kind of thing that could only happen in live outdoor theatre, where an adventurous child could wander right onto the stage and create a shared moment of magic for audience and actors alike.

The audience watching the performance before our little guest actor appeared!

This post is part of a series recounting our amazing summer at Touhy Park on the north side of Chicago.  Feel free to share your summer memories of Midsommer Flight by commenting on this post!