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THE TEMPEST, HENRY IV, THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR and I HATE HAMLET Set for 2014 Colorado Shakespeare Festival

THE TEMPEST, HENRY IV, THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR and I HATE HAMLET Set for 2014 Colorado Shakespeare Festival

The Colorado Shakespeare Festival will follow up its critically acclaimed, popular 2013 season with a lineup that includes humor, pathos, magic and mystery, including some plays that haven't been performed at CSF for nearly 15 years.

"The Tempest" - Shakespeare's beloved final play includes all the elements that have kept his work alive and fresh for nearly 500 years - magic, romance, high adventure, humor and pathos. Directed by Geoffrey Kent, director of CSF's 2013 smash hit, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," winner of Westword's Best Theater Production of 2013.

"Henry IV, Part 1" - The second leg in the four-play "Henriad" cycle, begun in 2012 with "Richard II," introduces the licentious, crafty Falstaff and begins Prince Hal's ascension to the throne of England. Our most traditional production of the season. Last performed at CSF in 1999.

"Henry IV, Part 2" - There will be just two very special "original practices" performances - Shakespeare as it might have been done in his own time - about Prince Hal's rise in stature and his old advisor Falstaff's descent into debauchery. Last performed at CSF in 1999.

"The Merry Wives of Windsor" - Falstaff takes a comic turn at the heart of one of Shakespeare's most hilarious farces, as his efforts to woo two married English ladies result in his being punk'd. Set in a 1960s Catskills vacation resort, you can expect a little flair of "dirty dancing." Last performed at CSF in 1999.

"I Hate Hamlet" - When a rising young Hollywood star accepts the role of Hamlet at Shakespeare in the Park, everyone thinks he's nuts - and that's before he starts getting advice from the ghost of the great Shakespearean actor John Barrymore. A comic romp that also explores the meaning of Shakespeare in the modern world. Written by New Yorker contributor Paul Rudnick, screenwriter of the "Addams Family" films. Never before performed at CSF.

Please see below (**) for more detailed descriptions of the plays.

"These are some of our all-time favorite plays by and about Shakespeare. You could call it the CSF 'staff picks,'" says Tim Orr, interim producing artistic director for the festival. "The early concept conversations we're having with our returning directors and designers - and our passion for these plays and their language - point to some amazing, moving, hilarious and entertaining theater. It'll be a season to remember."

CSF is also pleased to announce that starting this season, there will be sales of Left Hand beer and a selection of wine in the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre, University Theatre and in the adjacent Shakespeare Garden for picnicking.

"This now means you can enjoy a beer or glass of wine with a picnic and carry it right into the theater with you," Orr says.

Alcohol use is still prohibited outside the licensed area.

2014 PLAYS, IN-DEPTH:

The Tempest

O brave new world, That has such people in't!

Directed by Geoffrey Kent

A gnashing storm spills the enemies of the great sorcerer and rightful duke of Milan Prospero upon the shores of his island realm, setting the stage for revenge. But from there, Shakespeare's final, much-loved play defies expectations, erupting into a timeless, exotic tale of monsters and cavorting spirits, love and song, merriment and mercy. Directed by Geoffrey Kent, who created CSF's 2013 smash-hit, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," this "Tempest" will evoke the early 1800s British maritime era - "Master and Commander" meets Shakespeare.

Performances:

8 p.m. curtain: June 6 (preview), 7, 14 and 21; July 12, 19, 23, 24, 31; Aug. 1 and 6.

6:30 p.m. curtain: July 6; Aug. 5 and 10.

Join us July 12 and August 10 for performances of The Tempest under the full moon!

I Hate Hamlet

Paul Rudnick "knows where the laugh buttons are, and he pushes them like a virtuoso." - Los Angeles Times, on "I Hate Hamlet."

Directed by Timothy Orr

A rising Hollywood star accepts the role of Hamlet at New York's Shakespeare in the Park and his agent thinks he's gone daft. Why would he trade a fluffy, big-money TV role for dusty old Shakespeare? Leave it to the ghost of actor John Barrymore, the quintessential Hamlet of the 20th century, to hilariously haunt Andy in a play that seeks to answer that question. Written by New Yorker contributor Paul Rudnick, who "may be the funniest writer for the stage in the United States today," says The New York Times.

Performances:

7:30 p.m. curtain: June 12 (preview), June 13, 20, 22 (two performances this day); July 5, 6, 11, 19, 20, 24, 26 and 31.

1 p.m. curtain: June 22 (two performances this day) and 29; July 20.

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Why, then the world 's mine oyster.

Directed by Seth Panitch

Falstaff, one of Shakespeare's most enduring comic characters, is at the heart of one of the Bard's greatest laugh-out-loud farces. Pursuing the amorous attentions of two married English ladies, the pompous, rotund knight doesn't let their mischievous pranking swerve him from his quest. Sure, he's been punk'd, but surely it's a sign of affection.

This fresh new production will be set in a Catskills resort in the early 1960s. When a plaid-suited, bowler-hatted Falstaff rolls up with his crew, it'll be a hilarious mashup of "Dirty Dancing" and one of Shakespeare's most popular, laugh-out-loud plays.

Performances:

8 p.m. curtain: June 27 (preview), June 28; July 5, 25, and 26; Aug. 2, 7 and 9.

6:30 p.m. curtain: July 20, 22 and 29.

Henry IV, Part 1

The better part of valour is discretion.

Directed by Carolyn Howarth

Often considered Shakespeare's most sophisticated history play, the unquiet reign of Henry IV following the murder of Richard II introduces the Bard's greatest comedic character, Falstaff, the licentious, crafty knight-adviser to Prince Hal. As the action moves from political sparring between the king and the rebellious Hotspur to the clash of swords in battle, the prince begins a journey toward his heroic reign. Our most traditional production for 2014, with a classic medieval setting.

Performances:

7:30 p.m. curtain: July 17 (preview), July 18 and 30.

2:30 p.m. curtain: July 27; Aug. 3.

1 p.m. curtain: Aug. 6 and 10.

Henry IV, Part 2

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

Join us for two very special "original practices" performances of Henry IV, Part 2 - Shakespeare as it might have been done in his time. Hal is now on the road to kingship while his old advisor Falstaff ever deeper into ill health and petty criminality. See Part 1 in a matinee, enjoy dinner with us, then be part of an evening presentation of Part 2 for an unforgettable theater experience.

Performances:

7:30 p.m. curtain: July 27; Aug. 3.

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