2017-03-15 / Front Page

Shakespeare Festival Shakes Up Formula

By Douglas Cunningham


Katie Liberman shared what’s in store for the Shakespeare Festival this summer 
Chris Layton Katie Liberman shared what’s in store for the Shakespeare Festival this summer Chris Layton For years, the formula for the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival at Boscobel had been two Shakespeare plays and one non-Shakespeare play. Like a reliable cocktail, two parts Shakespeare and one part something else.

Beginning a couple of years ago and continuing this year, the Festival is changing the mix. Ticket sales to the general public open today, Wednesday.

Katie Liberman, the Festival’s managing director, briefed the PCNR on what we can expect. Foremost – naturally – a Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night, with plenty of “music, dancing and hilarity.”

Of the remaining works, one, The Book of Will, has deep ties to the playwright. It’s directed by the Festival’s own artistic director, Davis McCallum. Liberman said it will be a “rolling world premiere,” and was first presented over the winter in Denver, also directed by McCallum. Now, in some ways, it’s coming home, with some of the same actors from the Denver production. “It’s about two of the actors in Shakespeare’s company who got together after his death to save his plays,” Liberman said. “There’s actually a lot of drama and excitement, and it’s really this beautiful story about how we all came to know this man.”

The two other plays have deep history. Pride and Prejudice, by Kate Hamill, is adapted from the Jane Austen novel. A play of that period on the Boscobel grounds should be an exciting match. It’s a coproduction with Primary Stages, off-Broadway.

Finally, The General From America, by Rhinebeck’s Richard Nelson, about the treasonous plot of Benedict Arnold, whose actual events occurred all around the big tent, figurative steps away. Liberman said the Festival is working on joint programming with Boscobel, the Putnam History Museum, West Point and the Constitution Island Association.

More info: https:// hvshakespeare.org/.

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