This summer marks a special anniversary for Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. Our year-long celebration culminates with a professional production of Hamlet. Whether you’ve been with us from the very beginning or will be joining us in Southmoreland Park for the first time, here’s what you should know before seeing the show:
- We’re celebrating 25 years of Shakespeare. Our first production in Southmoreland Park was in 1993, where The Tempest kicked off our now 25-year-long production history. To celebrate our 25th season, we’re bringing back Nathan Darrow, a Kansas City native and Festival alum, to star in the title role. You might have seen Nathan back in 2006 as the title King in King Henry V, or as Romeo in our 2007 production of Romeo and Juliet. If you haven’t seen him on our stage, then you might have seen him on screen. Catch him in House of Cards, Gotham, Billions, Rectify, and HBO’s recent Wizard of Lies before coming to see him live this summer.
- We have a new start time. This year’s production of Hamlet will begin at 7:30 p.m., which is 30 minutes earlier than you might remember from years past. Gates will still open at 6:00 p.m., so make sure you’re in line when the park opens to grab your favorite spot on the lawn and enjoy pre-show activities. With a new start time, we’ll also have new times for Show Talk and the Parody performance of Hamlet. See either Phillip blue owl Hooser or Dr. Felicia Londré deliver their talk at 6:20 p.m. After, don’t miss Team Shakespeare’s Parody at 6:50 p.m.
- We have a new food vendor. Anousone’s Mobile Cuisine will serve up grilled favorites, like hot dogs and hamburgers, alongside Laotian-inspired dishes, including steam buns and sticky rice. We’ll also have charcuterie plates, wine, and beer for you to make a picnic all your own in the park instead of lugging your own picnic basket from home. Don’t worry, we still have sno cones, funnel cakes, and kettle corn for dessert!
- We offer reserved seats. Did you know that Southmoreland Park can hold nearly 2,000 patrons on our busiest nights? Save time waiting in line and get the best seats in the house with our up-front reserved seating. We offer chairs and blanket spots for $25 each (we do ask that you bring your own blanket). Making a reservation is easy. Simply call 816.531.7728 and a Festival representative will take care of the rest.
- We’re still free. After 25 years, we remain committed to our mission of presenting professional productions of Shakespeare’s works to our community free of admission costs. No tickets are required for you, your family, or your friends to come out to our production of Hamlet. Just bring your chairs and your blankets to make whatever spot you choose feel like home. We do gratefully accept donations at the gate, so that we can make sure the Festival stays free for another 25 years.
Hamlet runs Junes 13-July 2, Tuesdays through Sundays, in Southmoreland Park (just west of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). We’ll see you back where it all started 25 years ago.
For more information on Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, including registration forms for our summer camps, visit us at www.kcshakes.org. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.