Given the premise of The Comedy of Errors -- not one but TWO sets of identical twins causing all manner of confusion and mistaken identity...we've set aside 10 seats for every evening performance for those who come to the show as twins!
How does that work?
Thank you, Footlights, for your interview with Executive Director Susan Scot Fry to talk about our 10-year anniversary.
Thank you, Greg Stanford. You are and will be missed.
If the outpouring of sentiment and sorrow is any indication, Mr. Gregory Stanford was well-loved and highly regarded by so very many people. Optimist Theatre is right there with them as we mourn his passing on April 8th.
Since 2015, Greg served on the Optimist Theatre board of directors, offering insight, support, and sheer good will and enthusiasm. His friendship and mentorship was warm and inspiring.
Executive Director Susan Scot Fry remembers meeting Greg for the first time at his art gallery in the Grand Avenue mall. "A fellow former Journal Sentinel reporter and mutual friend introduced us. As we got to know each other, it became apparent that Greg would make an excellent addition to our board of directors and he happily accepted. We had so many things in common – from his love of theater to his devotion to the community."
Greg was always one to step up and get involved. In his long career as a columnist, he tackled tough subjects with stories about racial segregation and took the federal justice system to task. Yet, he never lost his wry sense of humor. He saw a lot of things – experienced a lot of change – and always with that sideways smile.
Yes, Greg will be missed. Thank you for your service to Shakespeare in the Park and to all of Milwaukee.
You can find Greg's Journal Sentinel obituary here.
Column by Executive Director Susan Scot Fry
Hale and well met, gentle cousins,
“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” (Hamlet, Act 2, sc. 2)
February is a special time of year: most of our major grant applications have been submitted and we wait with “bated breath” (Merchant of Venice, Act 1, sc. 3). In the meantime, Optimist Theatre embraces our name and moves forward.
There is a great deal of faith that goes into producing theatre. Launching our 10th season, I find myself meditating on just how much. It was quite an ‘aha’ moment when I began to trust that we always do find a way. How? It’s a mystery. (Shakespeare in Love)
This milestone season engenders so much reflection about how far we’ve come, from the quad at Alverno to Kadish Park to the Peck Pavilion. About how much has changed. These reflections inform the perspectives that will take us into the future. Thank you (yes, you...and you...and you, too!) for investing in that!
So, what’s next? Even though it was last week, “Good morrow, 'tis Saint Valentine's Day, All in the morn betime, And I a maid at your window, To be your valentine.” (Hamlet, Act 4, sc. 5). The day may pass, but the love remains. ♥♥
Until next time,
We will very soon be deep into our production of The Comedy of Errors, with all of the news that related directly to i, so it seems like now is the best time to share some other bits and bobs of Shakespeare news with you:
We'll be back soon with lots and lots of Comedy of Errors goodness!
Column by Executive Director Susan Scot Fry
As usual, I forgot to get photos... Mea culpa.
I got so wrapped up in having fun with my fellow enthusiasts that I forgot to step back, put on my staff hat, and snap some snaps at the Shakespeare in the Park Member’s Salon* on Friday, November 30th.
In homage to 2019’s upcoming production of The Comedy of Errors, the topical topic was “What is Comedy?”
Needless to say there were plenty of laughs that night as we explored what makes us laugh and why. Everyone had a story. So lively was the conversation, there were even some clips shared later on the member’s Facebook page.
2019 will mark the 10th anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park. Even more salons, outings and special recognitions are in the works. (Hint, hint – Membership makes a great gift. It’s the gift that gives and gives.)
So, this newsletter’s missive from me is a special thanks to all 120 of our Members. We could not offer Shakespeare in the Park for free to 96% of our audience if we didn’t have members. Whether you join for the group activities and special invitations, discounts at local businesses, or just knowing that you can reserve a seat ahead of time for any show date you like, your membership makes a huge difference.
Our challenge is to be 300 strong in 2019! Spread the word!
*Special thanks, again, to Founding Members David HB Drake and Jennifer Esh for hosting that salon!
Susan Fry is the Executive Director for Optimist Theatre. Contact her at email@example.com. Most of the time, she works alone and talks to her dog. Your email would be a welcome human interaction!
Whether it's holiday gift-giving or year-round everyday shopping, there are a TON of ways you can help fund Shakespeare by just taking a couple of extra steps!
From Abercrombie & Fitch to Zappo's, dozens and dozens of major retailers offer rebates to charitable organizations when you pay via Benefit Mobile.
All you need to do is follow the link:
And then follow the directions (download the app, add a credit card and/or bank account, look up your retailers before you checkout)
Now, you can ditch the paper & postage and send eCard greetings that ALSO benefit Shakespeare in the Park!
Right now, we have Holiday cards, several with suitable Shakespearean sentiments, as well as general Hanukkah and New Year's pages.
In addition, there are cute placeholder cards for Birthdays and Thank Yous. We'll be updating those, too, but if you need to send something right away, the "Don't Send Me a Card" art without Shakespearean quotes still has you covered!
Shakespeare After All
Drawing on her hugely popular lecture courses at Yale and Harvard over the past thirty years, Marjorie Garber offers passionate and revealing readings of the plays in chronological sequence, from The Two Gentlemen of Verona to The Two Noble Kinsmen. Supremely readable and engaging, and complete with a comprehensive introduction to Shakespeare’s life and times and an extensive bibliography, this magisterial work is an ever-replenishing fount of insight on the most celebrated writer of all time.
A brilliant and companionable tour through all thirty-eight plays, Shakespeare After All is the perfect introduction to the bard by one of the country’s foremost authorities on his life and work.
The Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist, reissued with a new afterword for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
A young man from a small provincial town moves to London in the late 1580s and, in a remarkably short time, becomes the greatest playwright not of his age alone but of all time. How is an achievement of this magnitude to be explained? Stephen Greenblatt brings us down to earth to see, hear and feel how an acutely sensitive and talented boy, surrounded by the rich tapestry of Elizabethan life, could have become the world’s greatest playwright.
The Millionaire and the Bard
When Shakespeare died in 1616 half of his plays died with him. No one—not even their author—believed that his writings would last, that he was a genius, or that future generations would celebrate him as the greatest author in the history of the English language. By the time of his death his plays were rarely performed, eighteen of them had never been published, and the rest existed only in bastardized forms that did not stay true to his original language.
Seven years later, in 1623, Shakespeare’s business partners, companions, and fellow actors, John Heminges and Henry Condell, gathered copies of the plays and manuscripts, edited and published thirty-six of them. This massive book, the First Folio, was intended as a memorial to their deceased friend. They could not have known that it would become one of the most important books ever published in the English language, nor that it would become a fetish object for collectors.
The Millionaire and the Bard is a literary detective story, the tale of two mysterious men—a brilliant author and his obsessive collector—separated by space and time. It is a tale of two cities—Elizabethan and Jacobean London and Gilded Age New York. It is a chronicle of two worlds—of art and commerce—that unfolded an ocean and three centuries apart. And it is the thrilling tale of the luminous book that saved the name of William Shakespeare “to the last syllable of recorded time.”
Today it is the most valuable book in the world. Recently one sold for more than five million dollars. It is the book that rescued the name of William Shakespeare and half of his plays from oblivion. The Millionaire and the Bard tells the miraculous and romantic story of the making of the First Folio, and of the American industrialist whose thrilling pursuit of the book became a lifelong obsession.
Now, help support Shakespeare in the Park at no extra cost to you when you purchase your paper or e-book at Barnes & Noble (using the Benefit Mobile app) or Amazon (via AmazonSmile). Learn more here!!
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American Family Insurance
A Midsummer Night's Dream
As You Like It
Bloody Filthy Shakespeare
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Much Ado About Nothing
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