Beginning September 1st, 2018, Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks will present Shakespeare’s comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona for the very first time in its 14-season history. Longtime PSIP supporter and artist Charles Beikert will direct the production during the first four weekends of the month.
The play will perform from September 1 through 23 on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm, moving each weekend through Frick, Highland, and Arsenal Parks.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona is believed to be Shakespeare’s first comedy and introduces the theme of heroines pretending to be men, and the foolishness of love, loyalty, and infidelity.
“There’ll be music…and a dog in the show. I can’t think of a better way for our enthusiastic audience members and PSIP fans to spend an afternoon with us in the parks!” says Artistic Director Jennifer Tober.
Director Charles Beikert previously directed The Comedy of Errors for PSIP, and appeared in the company’s productions of Romeo and Juliet and As You Like It. He has also appeared on stage with several theatre companies in Pittsburgh including City Theatre and UnSeam’d Shakespeare Co. Beikert’s approach to the staging of Two Gentlemen will focus on the slapstick and physical humor within the play, drawing upon such inspirational comedic styles of Lucille Ball, the Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton, and Bill Irwin.
“We’re going to get silly, people! We and the audience are going to put aside the daily grind and the concerns of the contemporary world and rock out to some classic comedy,” says Beikert. “Pittsburgh loves Shakespeare and we’re delighted to bring our hilarious performances into our gorgeous city parks.”
The cast includes Charles David “Stoney” Richards (Antonio, Outlaw et al), a radio personality at CBS (WDSY-FM and KDKA) and an actor who has appeared in many films and tv shows, as well as in theatre Off-Broadway, in L.A., and locally in Pittsburgh, and PSIP Artistic director Jennifer Tober as the comedic servant Launce.
PSIP favorites Nick Benninger as the protagonist Proteus and Bob Colbert as the hyperactive servant Speed will also entertain, with Liz Farina, Sadie Crow, Christine McGrath, Jahir Christian, and Brett Sullivan Santry, rounding out the cast.
Longtime PSIP collaborator Lisa Leibering serves as Production and Costume designer (Comedy of Errors, Supernatural Shakespeare, King Lear, As You Like It, Romeo & Juliet).
PSIP will celebrate the run of The Two Gentlemen of Verona during closing week with a Bantaam Night at Wigle Whiskey’s Barrel House, Wednesday, September 19, from 6 pm to 9 pm. Actors and PSIP team members will cavort and entertain throughout the evening. A portion of proceeds from the evening’s food and beverage purchases will support PSIP’s offering of free Shakespeare performances for all.
PSIP’S TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:
The first four Saturdays and Sundays though September – all shows at 2 pm, running approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.
Sept. 1-2 – Frick Park, Blue Slide playground, Beechwood Blvd. and Nicholson St, Squirrel Hill. Enter from 2500 block of Beechwood at Nicholson.
Sept. 8-9 – Highland Park, across from the Super Playground, Reservoir Drive.
Sept. 15-16 – Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville, 40th St. between Penn Ave. and Butler St. Enter from Penn or 40th.
Sept. 22-23 – Frick Park, Blue Slide playground, Beechwood Blvd. and Nicholson St., Squirrel Hill
Audience members are encouraged to bring folding chairs or blankets and a picnic. All shows are family-friendly and admission is FREE. Donations are encouraged to support free Shakespeare in Pittsburgh city parks. Friendly dogs are also welcome. Productions are “rain or shine” expect in the event of dangerous storm conditions.
Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks was founded in 2005 by Artistic Director Jennifer Tober and has offered FREE Shakespeare productions to thousands of Pittsburghers since its inception.
For more information, visit www.pittsburghshakespeare.org