The White Theatre Presents A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
The Lewis and Shirley White Theatre of The Jewish Community Center (The J) continues to expand its artistic horizons with its first William Shakespeare production as part of its 15th season. Shakespeare's magical masterpiece, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM will open for its limited five-performance run at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday evening, Feb. 8, at The White Theatre, located at The J, 5801 W. 115th St., in Overland Park. Additional evening performances are Thursday, Feb. 13 and Saturday, Feb. 15. Two matinee performances are Sundays, Feb. 9 and 16 with curtain at 2 p.m. On Feb. 12 there will be a special school performance at 9 a.m. Details and tickets are available at TheWhiteTheatre.org.
The J's production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT's DREAM is directed by Sidonie Garrett, Executive Artistic Director at The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. The show honors the memory of Broadway producer and Tony award winner, Marilyn Strauss, who founded Kansas City's nationally recognized Shakespeare festival in 1990. Strauss, a longtime friend of The J's, died in 2018 at the age of 91 after an illustrious career in the theatre arts.
"It would be hard to overstate the impact Marilyn Strauss has had on Kansas City theatre and the community at large" said Keith Wiedenkeller, Director of Arts + Culture at The J. "But I think it's especially fitting for this, our first self-produced Shakespeare show, to be in her honor, given her special history with both The J, and The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival," Wiedenkeller said. "I think it's fair to say, The Festival wouldn't have existed without Marilyn's leadership, and our community would have been all the poorer without that treasure."
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM is widely considered to be Shakespeare's best, funniest, and most accessible comedy. It has all of the classic elements: kings, queens, magic potions, unrequited love, an enchanted forest, mistaken identities, and of course, a happy ending. A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM is a show that is guaranteed to dazzle the senses, tickle the funny bone, and create a fantastic adventure for the whole family.
"A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM was Marilyn Strauss's favorite of Shakespeare's stories and I am proud to direct and stage it to honor her vision and dream of bringing Shakespeare, as an annual event, to Kansas City almost 30 years ago," Sidonie Garrett said. "As a female director, Marilyn was a shining example of female entrepreneurship and excellence in the theatre with her producing career in New York City and here at home. Marilyn supported me in my work as a director and producer in my own career and inspires me by all she accomplished, and I am proud to bring this beautiful play to life at The J, in her memory and to honor her legacy bringing romance, comedy and magic to this stage."
Garrett has taken a unique approach for The White Theatre's production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT's DREAM.
"We're setting the play during the 1930s, a time period that is in our not-so-distant past and when the U.S. was struggling with the Great Depression and were working hard to make ends meet," Garrett said. "It was also a time when radio programs, particularly comedies, were popular and swing music was at its height of popularity. People were seeking joy and entertainment to escape their day to day challenges. Culture flourished during this time which was also the Golden Age of Hollywood. This story about overcoming adversity to find love which also features a group of workers as wannabe actors presenting a play-within-the-play feels like the New Deal at work, making things change for the better."
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT's DREAM is the second production of The White Theatre's 2019-2020 Theatre Series. The White Theatre also offers a robust Concert Series and an exciting lineup of Special Engagements. The White Theatre season is produced by The J's Arts + Culture Department in a state-of-the-art 500-seat performing arts community theatre.
Tickets may be purchased online at TheWhiteTheatre.org, by calling the box office at (913) 327-8054 or in person at 5801 W. 115th St., Overland Park. The White Theatre box office is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as well as 90 minutes before curtain on performance days.