From the tiniest hamlets to some of the largest towns in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks is bringing the Bard’s plays to the people.
This year’s selections, “As You Like It” and “Romeo and Juliet,” will be performed in 61 communities. In all, 75 shows will be performed in the Bozeman-based company’s 42nd season.
“Romeo and Juliet” will be performed at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 24, at Pioneer Park in Billings. On Friday, July 25, the company will present “As You Like It” at 6 p.m. at the park. In case of inclement weather, the shows will be performed at Petro Theatre at Montana State University Billings.
The company launched its 10-week tour June 18 with eight performances in Bozeman before hitting the road June 30. The tour will conclude at the MSU duck pond on Sept. 7 with a performance of “As You Like It.” This final show is designated as a special thanks to MSU’s Family and Graduate Housing, which for years has helped house the company during the rehearsal process.
Kevin Asselin, who has been with MSIP in various roles for 12 years as tour actor, educator, fight choreographer and director, now heads the company as its artistic director and will direct this year’s production of “As You Like It.” Asselin has set the play in Butte during the tumultuous years of the Copper Kings and union conflicts.
“Romeo and Juliet” is directed by William Dickerson. This is Dickerson’s fourth season directing for the summer tour. This production will include swordplay and a lush design full of color and texture.
All performances of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, with the exception of those at Bozeman’s Sweet Pea Festival, are free. Audiences are encouraged to show up prior to curtain time with chairs, blankets, a picnic supper, friends and family to enjoy the evening.
For the full schedule, go to http://www.shakespeareintheparks.org.