Shakespeare Festival St. Louis Opens 5/22

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis Opens 5/22

Dinner under the stars, a second Green Show stage, a teacher recognition night, and an enhanced Family Arts Activities area highlight the festivities surrounding this year's Shakespeare Festival St. Louis mainstage production of Antony and Cleopatra, May 22 through June 14, in Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park. Performances are scheduled nightly at 8 pm. (excluding Tuesdays).

This marks the company's 15-year anniversary season of producing free, live, outdoor, professional theatre in the park. Joining New Yorkers Jay Stratton and Shirine Babb in the roles of Antony and Cleopatra, respectively, are 14 other performers, many of them from St. Louis. New York-based freelancer and St. Louis native, Mike Donahue, is directing the production.

Opening night is set for Fri., May 22; preview performances will be held on Wed., and Thurs., May 20-21. Performances will be signed for the hearing impaired on May 21, 28 and June 4, 11. Open lawn seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Ticketed, reserved seating is also available online and in the park. Visit www.sfstl.com for details.

The nightly Green Show will kick-off at 6:30 p.m. and will include a 20-minute adaptation of Antony and Cleopatra, designed to introduce the characters and the plot to children of all ages, and performed by members of the Shakespeare Squadron, the Festival's teen ensemble. Musicians, dancers, singers and jugglers will perform throughout the crowd. New this season, a second Green Show stage will be located next to the main stage and will feature nightly special guests.

On June 8, teachers in the audience will be recognized prior to the introduction of the Maryville University Shakespeare Teacher of the Year award winner. The Festival has recognized an outstanding teacher in the field of arts education since 2011. Kelley Weber, theater director at Clayton High for 16 years, is the 2015 recipient. Weber was most recently seen on stage in Forest Park in the cast of Henry IV and Henry V, and in the Festival's 2014 Shakespeare in the Streets production in Clayton.

Butler's Pantry and the Festival will continue to offer an intimate and elegant communal dining experience on select evenings during the run of the production, in addition to nightly food and beverage offerings provided by the Saint Louis Zoo.

This season of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has been made possible in part by support from the Regional Arts Commission, the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis.

Recognized with the 2015 Excellence in the Arts Award from the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis and the 2015 Impact Award from Grand Center Arts Academy, the Festival has attracted more than 640,000 people to its annual mainstage show In the Park. The organization has reached 270,000 students In the Schools through its educational programming and, in 2012, shut down its first street, Cherokee, to present a community-based play In the Streets. With support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Regional Arts Commission, SHAKE38.com launched on April 23, 2014, Shakespeare's 450th birthday. For more information, please visit www.sfstl.com or call 314-531-9800.

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