Cast Announced for 21st Season of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival

shakes_headThe 21st season of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival will feature a production of As You Like It set in 1967’s Summer of Love.

The play will be performed from June 18 through July 7, 2013 in Southmoreland Park, Tuesday through Sunday evenings and Monday, July 2. No show on July 4. Admission to the Festival will continue to be free.

The production features Festival veterans Carla Noack as Rosalind and Todd Carlton Lanker as Orlando. They are joined by talented local Shakespearean veterans, John Rensenhouse as Duke Senior, Mark Robbins as Duke Fredrick, Bruce Roach as Jacques, Phil Fiorini as Touchstone, Matthew Rapport as Oliver, Cinnamon Schultz as Celia, Scott Cordes as Corin and Michael Rapport as Adam with Jake Walker as Silvius and Emily Peterson as Phoebe. Rounding out the cast are actors Ben Auxier, Phillip Shinn and J. Will Fritz. Actors making their Festival debut are Mary Glen Fredrick, Matthew Schmidli and Andy Perkins.

Executive Artistic Director Sidonie Garrett says the peals of laughter rolling through the park during the past summer’s performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, convinced her to select As You Like It for the upcoming season. She considered Shakespeare’s question, “Can one desire too much of a good thing?” (As You Like It, 4.1) and decided there can never be too much laughter.

Garrett says this cast of talented actors will bring the story of repression, freedom and the power of love to vivid life. The A professional production of As You Like It hasn’t been seen in Kansas City since the Festival presented the play in 2000. Garrett is enthusiastic about bringing back one of Shakespeare’s best-loved romantic comedies for a new generation of theatergoers.

Garrett will direct As You Like It. She directed last season’s Antony and Cleopatra and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth (2011), King Richard III (2010), The Merry Wives of Windsor (2009), and Othello (2008), Romeo and Juliet (2007), King Henry V (2006), Much Ado About Nothing (2005), Julius Caesar (2004), Hamlet (2003), The Taming of the Shrew (2002), and Twelfth Night (2001).

Founded in 1991 by Tony-Award-winning Broadway-producer Marilyn Strauss, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival launched its first season in 1993 in Southmoreland Park. Since then, over half a million theatergoers from 42 states and 11 countries have enjoyed the classical, professional productions the Festival presents each summer. More than 27,000 people attended during the 2012 season, an increase of 28 percent over the previous year.

Support for the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival is provided by the Missouri Arts Council, Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation, the ArtsKC Fund a host of leading foundations and corporations and hundreds of generous individuals. However, Garrett cautions the Festival does not have an endowment and must raise its entire budget every year. “We need the on-going support of all our donors and fans to keep the Festival strong,” she says.

Information on making donations to the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and details on the 2013 season can be found on the Festival’s website at www.kcshakes.org or by calling 816.531.7728.

Kellie Houx

Kellie Houx is a writer and photographer. A graduate of Park University, she has 20 years of experience as a journalist. As a writer, wife and mom, she values education, arts, family and togetherness.

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