The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (Davis McCallum, Artistic Director; Kate Liberman, Managing Director) announced today performance dates and casting for its 2021 Summer Season, its final at Boscobel House and Gardens. The season will begin on June 24, 2021 with The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington by James Ijames, which will conclude on July 30. William Shakespeare’s The Tempest will begin on August 5 and run through September 4, 2021. The 2021 season will also feature a radio play of Shakespeare’s Macbeth which was shared with partner schools as an audio play this spring. It premieres for the general public on June 7 and is available as streaming audio through June 20.
HVSF’s season – as it has for the past 34 years – will take place in its signature open-air tent outdoors, which the CDC and public health experts agree significantly reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The safety of company members, employees, and audiences is always paramount. HVSF will be following all safety guidelines outlined by New York State and by the Actor’s Equity Association and will continue to consult independent experts and follow all state, local, and union guidelines to take appropriate precautions to ensure safe protocols for the season. HVSF has also implemented their own measures based on the specifics of the site at Boscobel. These include timed entry, required face coverings for all staff and attendees, a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination, and distanced seating and limited capacity. More detailed safety information is forthcoming. The productions will only proceed in person if it remains safe and responsible to do so. More information can be found at https://hvshakespeare.org/whats-playing/.
The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington and The Tempest will also be both filmed and made available to stream online. Additional details will be announced at a later date.
"We are thrilled to be among the first in New York to safely welcome both this fantastic company of actors and our dearly missed audience members back to the Theatre Tent,” said Artistic Director Davis McCallum. “Our open-air tradition gives us the opportunity to safely celebrate a farewell season at Boscobel featuring two full-scale productions that speak to the past, present, and future. We are looking forward to seeing the community come to life once again this summer.”
The season begins with The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington written by James Ijames and directed by Taylor Reynolds. Performances are set to begin on Thursday, June 24, with opening night set for Saturday, June 26. The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington will run through Friday, July 30.
The cast for The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington will include Tyler Fountleroy*, Cyndii Johnson*, Ralph Adriel Johnson*, Claudia Logan*, Britney Simpson*, Brandon St. Clair*, and Nance Williamson*.
In his will, George Washington included an order to free his enslaved people upon his wife’s death. Christmas Eve, 1800: George Washington is dead, Martha is battling a wicked fever, and those who have been held in bondage at Mount Vernon wait for the end to come, and the promised hour of liberation. As the night goes on, Martha moves through a fever dream of dizzying theatricality, exploring the hideous and enduring ramifications of America’s original sin.
The season will continue with William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, directed by Ryan Quinn. Performances will begin on Thursday, August 5, with opening night set for Saturday, August 7. The Tempest will play through Saturday, September 4, 2021.
The cast for The Tempest will include Caturah BrownCC, Kayla Coleman*, Jonathan ContrerasCC, Zack Fine*, Tyler Fauntleroy*, Trevor Latez HayesCC, Ralph Adriel Johnson*, Claudia Logan*, Sean McNall*, Jason O'Connell*, Howard Overshown*, Kurt Rhoads*, India SheaCC, Britney Simpson*, and Nance Williamson*.
Prospero has been exiled from his Dukedom in Milan for 12 years, but as the time has come for a final reckoning, he weaves a spell to draw his enemies to his enchanted island. Believed by many to be Shakespeare’s final play, the exuberant and poignant romance is a fitting grand finale to HVSF’s 34-year tenure at Boscobel. The transcendent story brings new meaning to the phrase “social distancing” and thrums with the deep human need for connection and community.
HVSF’s Educational Audio Production of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth will be released on June 7 and will be available through June 20, 2021. This will be available for free with a suggested $10 donation per listener to support HVSF's education programs.
Directed and adapted for young audiences by Raz Golden, this audio drama is inspired by his work on the creative team for The Public Theater’s podcast adaptation of Richard II. The classic story charts the extremes of ambition and guilt, and the disruption of the natural order. With our world in a state of upheaval, this reexamination of Shakespeare's play will speak directly to the cultural moment and illuminate a harrowing psychological descent into darkness.
The cast for Macbeth will include Biko Eisen-Martin*, Luis Quintero*, Antoinette Robinson*, Matthew Saldivar*, Thom Sesma*, Julyana Soelistyo*, and Amelia Workman*.
*denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association
CC denotes member of the HVSF Conservatory Company
Member bookings will begin on May 10 and tickets will go on sale to the general public on May 27.
This will be HVSF’s final season on the grounds of Boscobel House and Gardens, where the company has been in residence for 34 years. Beginning in 2022, HVSF will move to the company’s first permanent home of almost 100 acres of riverview land in Philipstown, NY, where audiences will continue to experience the company’s signature open-air productions, pre-show picnicking on the grounds, and enjoy the breathtaking Hudson River vista that will continue to serve as the backdrop for productions.
HVSF is committed to becoming a more anti-racist and inclusive organization in support of Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color. HVSF shared their initial commitments for accountability in June 2020 and in November, shared more details and actionable steps as to how they would support those commitments. HVSF will continue to publish updates and additional commitments in the coming months. To learn more about the steps they’re taking, visit hvshakespeare.org/november-commitments.
ABOUT HUDSON VALLEY SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
Founded in 1987, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF) is a critically acclaimed (The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal), professional, non-profit theater company based in Garrison, NY, one hour north of Manhattan. The Festival has established a reputation for lucid, engaging, and highly inventive productions staged in rotating repertory under an iconic, open-air theater tent overlooking the Hudson River. In recent years, the Festival has also ventured beyond the tent, touring its work to other venues throughout the Hudson Valley as part of its HVSF On the Road series, transferring productions to other theaters, engaging its community through radically participatory art-making, and reaching over 50,000 students and educators annually through its year-round Education programs. HVSF will move to its first permanent home in 2022.
Rooted in the landscape of the Hudson Valley, with the plays of William Shakespeare as their touchstone, HVSF engages the widest possible audience in a theatrical celebration of our shared humanity.
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