Shakespeare In Clark Park Brings Free Theater, Music & Love To The City This Summer

Shakespeare In Clark Park Brings Free Theater, Music & Love To The City This Summer

What would summer be without live music, a wild love triangle, and mistaken identities? Add into that mix free entertainment, a picnic under the stars and the Bard and you have this year's edition of Shakespeare in Clark Park (SCP). SCP will showcase Philadelphia's finest actors alongside local student musicians for a glam rock inspired Twelfth Night, directed by Jack Tamburri, which is set to run July 25-29, 2018 in Clark Park in West Philadelphia. The show will wrap up with a special "Fifth Night Feast" Fundraiser before the show on July 29.

"Whenever I approach a play I try to come up with a single question that can relate to every event in the play," said Director Jack Tamburri. "In Twelfth Night, it's: how should I act in order to deserve love? Every character is putting on disguises, playing, posing, and not realizing that the way to be loved is to be authentically yourself."

Shipwrecked, stranded, and separated, twins Viola and Sebastian each fears the other lost. Using her wits, Viola disguises herself as a page boy and stumbles into a love triangle that upends the island of Illyria. Shakespeare in Clark Park's glam rock exploration of the Bard's classic romance will feature music and performances by local cabaret favorite, Jess Conda.

"Shakespeare wrote his plays understanding that the audience is always present for the actors, and the setting of Shakespeare in Clark Park drives this home for modern audiences," said Director Jack Tamburri. "This year, with Twelfth Night, we're bringing all of the elements-live music, sumptuous costumes, gender fluidity-of the traditional show into a world that our audience will relate to. For me, the one era where all of these elements collide is the glam rock era of the 1970s with David Bowie and Little Richard. Twelfth Night is an incredibly musical play and our band is at the heart of the show-providing scoring throughout the night."

Over the past five years, SCP has expanded its practice of Radical Community Engagement bringing community members on-stage with professional actors each year. It all began with SCP's 2014 production of Henry IV: Your Prince and Mine where audiences saw a 100-person army storming the Bowl at Clark Park. Radical Community Engagement became an essential part of SCP's mission when O'Neill took over artistic direction for the company in 2016.

Twelfth Night will feature original music composed by Jess Conda and Elizabeth Atkinson. Rounding out the creative team are Christopher Haig (Scenic Design), Natalia de la Torre (Costume Design), Alyssandra Docherty (Lighting Design), and Damien Figueras (Sound Design).

In addition to the community band, Tamburri directs a company of actors led by the shipwrecked twins Viola (Pax Ressler) and Sebastian (Bailey Roper) The residents of the lyrical Illyria are lovestruck Duke Orsino (Angela Bey), Olivia (Christina May), Antonio (Nichalas Parker), Sir Tobey (Jenna Kuerzi), Maria (Rob Tucker), Sir Andrew (José Mangual), Malvolio (Shamus McCarty), Feste (Jess Conda), and Captain/Valentine/Officer (Carleigh Spence). They are joined on-stage by a glam rock band of local student musicians.

On the final night of the show, SCP will host a "Fifth Night Feast" Fundraiser at The Gables, 4520 Chester Avenue, Philadelphia from 5-7 pm. VIP seating at Closing Night are included in the purchase price, which includes dinner catered by Samirand Caterers. Tickets can be reserved at shakespeareinclarkpark.org/support-us.

Twelfth Night runs July 25-29. All performances are free and are at 7 p.m. in "the Bowl" of Clark Park, located near the intersection of Chester Avenue and 43rd Street in West Philadelphia. The rain location is the Harold Prince Theater at the Annenberg Cneter for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street, University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia PA 19104. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, please visit shakespeareinclarkpark.org.

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