The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, returns for its Silver Anniversary Season with three productions designed to appeal to every theatrical taste. The 2019 lineup includes Shakespeare’s KING LEAR and THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, and Edmond Rostand’s 1897 epic romance CYRANO DE BERGERAC. Speaking of the ambitious program, Artistic Director Janice L. Blixt said, “It’s our 25th Anniversary—and as they say, go big or go home. We decided to go big.” The Festival is now running until July 28 at the Potter Center in Jackson and will be held August 2-18 at the Village Theater at Cherry Hill in Canton.
To celebrate this milestone for the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a proclamation designating July 2019 the Michigan Shakespeare Festival 25th Anniversary Month, encouraging Michigan residents to “take advantage of its epic productions of classical theatre’s greatest plays.”
This year’s headline show is KING LEAR. Considered one of the best plays in the English language, it combines tragic family drama with epic storytelling, replete with the most heroic and malevolent characters in Western drama. At the height of his power King Lear abdicates his throne, dividing his power between two daughters who betray him and drive him into madness and the country into war. KING LEAR features Michigan’s own stage and screen actor John Lepard, one of the founders of the Williamston Theatre.
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, one of Shakespeare’s early comedies, has never before been produced at the Michigan Shakespeare Festival. According the Blixt, “Two Gents is a delightful romantic comedy that combines the sweet silliness of being young and in love with heartfelt connection and redemption.” Directed by Artistic Associate Robert Kauzlaric, this show is perfect for families and runs 90 minutes without an intermission.
CYRANO DE BERGERAC — Edmund Rostand’s romantic, adventurous and glorious comic-drama that has become part of the classic canon. Cyrano is the most dangerous swordsman, the most romantic poet and the most brilliant wit in 1640s Paris. He also has the largest nose in Paris, which keeps him from professing his love for the beautiful Roxane. Instead he agrees to help the handsome-yet-dim Christian by giving him the words to woo her. This production, based on the translation by Brian Hooker, is directed by Janice L. Blixt and features Artistic Associate David Blixt in the title role.
For more information, see the MSF website: www.michiganshakespearefestival.com.