Shakespeare in Delaware Park is gearing up to launch its 40th season of free theater on the evening of June 18, when a hush will settle over Shakespeare Hill and two of the most famous rhymed couplets in history will boom out over the picnic-packing crowd:
“Two households, both alike in dignity; In fair Verona, where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny; Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.”
Weather permitting, of course.
The festival is kicking its season off with “Romeo and Juliet,” that story of star-crossed lovers revered by high school English students and theater veterans alike. The tale of woe, directed by Tom Loughlin and starring Kathleen Denecke as Juliet and Jonas Barranca as her Romeo, runs through July 12.
After a short hiatus, the hill will fill up once again with Shakespeare-lovers, sure to come out in droves for Steve Vaughan’s production of “Twelfth Night,” which has any number of crowd-pleasing elements: a shipwreck, plenty of gender-bending confusion, mistaken identities and, above all, the wonderful absurdity of love.
What’s more, Vaughan’s production will feature an all-male cast – a kind of answer to the company’s all-female production of “Macbeth” a few seasons back. It will star Tim Newell, Norm Sham, Chris Hatch, PJ Tighe and Greg Gjurich. It runs from July 23 to Aug. 16.