The Michigan Shakespeare Festival (MSF) will mount three very different productions in its 2018 repertory season. Each play will bring something unique for audiences. The 24th Festival season includes Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Measure for Measure and The Rover by Aphra Benn, the first professional woman playwright.
The MSF is the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan. The season runs for three weeks at the Baughman Theater in Jackson beginning July 12th and continues for three additional weeks at the Village Theatre in Canton beginning August 3rd. Ticket information is available at www.michiganshakespearefestival.com.
The Tempest, one of the last plays Shakespeare ever wrote, will be directed by Artistic Associate Robert Kauzlaric, an award-winning director and actor whose previous productions at MSF (As You Like It, Cymbeline, Love’s Labour’s Lost, She Stoops to Conquer, Tartuffe) have all been crowd favorites. Kauzlaric says that in recent years he has found himself drawn to presenting Shakespeare’s stories through a fairy tale lens and in exploring themes of forgiveness and profound personal transformation. These passions unite perfectly in The Tempest. Kauzlaric says, “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work on such a rich, focused, tightly constructed play with my MSF family. Storms, fairies, magic, betrayal, love, and forgiveness all join with some of Shakespeare’s most beautiful and mature text – I can’t wait for us to travel to Prospero’s island this summer!”
The second Shakespeare of the season will be a first for the Michigan Shakespeare Festival: Measure for Measure. While billed historically as a comedy, the play’s themes about injustice, political corruption, and sexual hypocrisy tend to place it firmly within the more modern convention of “problem plays.” Janice L Blixt, who will direct, says, “I can’t imagine a more timely play than Measure for Measure— tying abuse of power, draconian sentencing, and sexual harassment into the education of a political leader. And, believe it or not, it’s still a comedy with a beautiful statement on how the law must be tempered with mercy."
Aphra Benn’s 1667 bawdy comedy, The Rover, rounds out this year’s season. The Rover tells the story of three Englishmen – a soldier, a gentleman, and a stoic who are banished from Cromwell’s England and head to Naples to experience Carnevale and find adventure. They meet three brilliant women – one promised in marriage to a wealthy older man, one promised to the church, and one a celebrated courtesan – who challenge and intrigue them. With duels and disguises, set against the backdrop of a nation-wide party, the couples navigate duty conflict, jealousy, and love in this vibrant Restoration comedy. “It’s rare that a classical theatre company produces works by a female playwright—and I love that we can bring Behn to Michigan audiences,” said Producing Artistic Director Janice L Blixt.
Tickets are on sale now for the Canton performances of the 2018 Season, including season Flex Passes, at www.cantonvillagetheater.org. A Flex Pass will include one ticket to each production, and show dates and times can be chosen at the time of purchase, or at a later date. Ticket prices range from $16-$40, depending on patron’s age.
Founded in 1995, the Michigan Shakespeare Festival is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit professional theatre company operating under a League of Regional Theatres Letter of Agreement with the Actors’ Equity Association. The MSF is dedicated to entertaining and educating a broad-based audience through professional performances of Shakespeare’s works and other classic plays.
The Village Theater at Cherry Hill is a regional center for the arts that offers the magic of live theatre, soul-stirring music, the thrill of the dance, and the enjoyment of fine art exhibitions and events, in addition to providing a home for several cultural organizations and community groups.
For additional information about the Michigan Shakespeare Festival's collaboration with The Village Theater at Cherry Hill, please visit www.cantonvillagetheater.org or call 734/394-5300.