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Oak Park Festival Theatre Returns To Austin Gardens With THE TEMPEST This Summer

OPFT Artistic Director Barbara Zahora directs Shakespeare's final masterpiece of shipwreck, romance and magic.

Oak Park Festival Theatre Returns To Austin Gardens With THE TEMPEST This Summer

Oak Park Festival Theatre triumphantly returns to its beloved Austin Gardens outdoor performance space this summer to present 21 in-person performances of William Shakespeare's "The Tempest."

OPFT Artistic Director Barbara Zahora* directs Shakespeare's final masterpiece of shipwreck, romance and magic. Preview performances are July 15 & 16; press opening is July 17. Performances run through Aug. 21. Show times on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday performances start at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at

What do hurricanes, magic, mayhem, love, revenge, and monsters all have in common? They are facets of "The Tempest's" fast-moving plot which leaves audiences breathless and cheering for more of its wry comedy. The play also explores nuanced concepts of colonialism, power struggles, and redemption. Magical creatures abound on a spectacular stage set providing entertaining for the whole family to enjoy.

As one of the few Chicago-area outdoor theatrical companies, OPFT and the cast and crew of "The Tempest" are thrilled to return to in-person performances. The organization has been working for more than a year to visualize and create a spectacular event for summer 2021 that also provides safety for all its participants.

Artistic Director Barbara Zahora says, "Even though we chose this play long before coronavirus and the murder of George Floyd changed our world so significantly, its themes of exile, injustice, the struggle for power, self-discovery and healing are all particularly resonant after the last year. As people start to come out of their homes and find a new normal post-pandemic, we hope this will be particularly meaningful for those seeing it for the first time."

The cast for "The Tempest" includes Jeannie Affelder (Antonia), OPFT artistic associate Belinda Bremner (Gonzalo), Dakotah Brown (Master of Ship/Francisco/Juno), Tony Buzzuto (Sebastian), Noelle Klyce (Alonsa), Bernell Lassai (Ariel/Ceres), Orion Seth Lay-Sleeper (Stephano), OPFT artistic associates Matt Gall* (Caliban) and Savanna Rae (Trinculo), Deanalis Resto (Miranda), OPFT artistic associate Kevin Theis* (Prospero), Emma Sipora Tyler (Boatswain/Adrian/Iris) and Austyn Williamson (Ferdinand).

The rest of the design team includes Ryan Fox (Scenic Design), Rachel Sypniewski
(Costume Design), Liz Cooper (Lighting Design), and George Zahora (Sound Design/Original Music). Original vocal music and musical direction is by Jennifer Mitchell, intimacy and violence design is by Mark Lancaster, and movement direction is by Erica Bittner. Stage stage manager is Wallace Craig.

Oak Park Festival Theatre presents William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" July 15-Aug. 21. Preview performances are July 15 & 16. Press opening is July 17. All performances begin at 8 p.m. except Sundays, which begin at 7 p.m. Seating begins one hour prior to showtime. Patrons can bring their own seating/blankets, and lawn chairs are available to rent for $5.

Tickets are $15 for previews (July 15-16) and $35 for all other performances (Seniors: $25; Students $15; Children 12 and under Free). Seating is general admission. Tickets are on sale now. For tickets or more information visit

COVID-19 social distancing protocols will be in effect and facemasks are required when not seated with your group. Due to current COVID restrictions, no food or drink will be permitted in the venue at any time. These guidelines will be updated with guidance from the CDC, the Village of Oak Park, and the Actors' Equity Association. Street and garage parking is available adjacent to the park on Forest Ave and Marion St. In the event of inclement weather, OPFT has partnered with shelter areas surrounding Austin Gardens.

For more information visit

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