On nights when it’s too nice to stay indoors, a trip to the park is what you need! You’ll see why “all the world’s a stage” as the Hudson Shakespeare Company presents the best of the Bard for free this summer in Hoboken.
A summer staple for the past twenty years, Shakespeare in the Park has become a Hoboken favorite, sometimes drawing crowds of over 100 people. Presented by The Hudson Shakespeare Company, “Othello”, “Comedy of Errors”, and “Cardenio” will be added to the catalog of Shakespeare classics this theater group has performed for enthusiastic Hobokenites.
The Hudson Shakespeare Company came to Hoboken in 1993 as the first live theater production to perform at Frank Sinatra Park. Performing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for the parks opening in 1998, the company produces a total of three shows, one for each month of the summer, with two showings of each in Frank Sinatra Park.
Artistic Director Jon Ciccarelli explains the company tries to produce known Shakespeare or classical theater titles along with one or two obscure works. Ciccarelli describes this year’s obscure title, “Cardenio”, as a “sort of ‘Zorro’ meets Shakespeare. Lots of sword play and comedy set in Renaissance era Spain,” he said.
“Cardenio” is claimed to be partially written by Shakespeare and another playwright, but the company is giving it their “usual treatment and letting the audience judge if it’s really written by Shakespeare or not”.
Seasoned veteran and resident fight choreographer Michael Hagins is directing this year’s “Comedy of Errors”, in which he hopes to bring endless laughs and amusement to audience members.
With a resume of experience that includes directing 23 Shakespearean plays and performing in over 50 in the past 12 years of living in the New York Metropolitan area, Hagins finds that Hoboken creates a true Shakespeare in the Park experience. The backdrop of the New York skyline and Sinatra Park is by far his favorite space to reenact Shakespeare, saying “it sets the curve for the rest of our run”.
With a 1940s ‘Looney Tunes’ cartoon setting, “Comedy of Errors” is guaranteed to be a hit with the kids. Hagins hopes to bring the title’s slapstick and cartoon humor to modern times and leave audiences laughing even after the show, believing the best thing about this show is its family-friendly tone it.
“There’s no serious violence or overt mature themes, so it’s the kind of show you can bring your kids to and not feel afraid they’ll be corrupted,” he said.
In addition to the fun, action-packed “Cardenio” and “Comedy of Errors”, the company will be performing the powerful tragedy, “Othello”, for those interested in exploring the more serious side of Shakespeare.
Shakespeare in the Park makes its summer debut Monday June 18th at 7pm in Sinatra Park with “Othello”, followed by a second showing June 25th. “Comedy of Errors” previews July 16th, with its second showing July 23rd, and “Cardenio” closes the series with shows on August 6th and 13th.
Hagins encourages all who can to make it out to Sinatra Park this summer.
“Each show offers something different and there’s always strong talent on display. It is worth the trip from wherever you’re coming from,” Hagins said.
Photos courtesy of The Hudson Shakespeare Company. For more information, visit: www.hudsonshakespeare.org.