The Texas Shakespeare Festival will return to the stage this summer — and tickets for the annual event go on sale online beginning May 1.
TSF and Artistic Director Meaghan Simpson made the announcement earlier this month in a video message, promising patrons they’d be finally staging the shows they promised in 2020.
“We have a line-up of plays that we have been working on since the fall of 2019 and a company of artists that have been patiently waiting to join us,” Simpson said. “Then there’s you, our patrons that have showed us unwavering support through your phone calls and emails, through donations and through an understanding as we went through a year like no other. So today it is my joy and my privilege to be able to announce to you the Texas Shakespeare Festival’s 2021 season, allowing us to gather both audience and artists for a summer of theater once again.”
The Texas Shakespeare Festival will present five productions, running throughout the month of July:
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Written by William Shakespeare and directed by Deb Alley. This comedic play takes John Falstaff on a journey of courtship as he tries to seduce two wives of two wealthy men of Windsor using identical love letters. TSF describes it as “Equal parts farce and true domestic comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor will leave you feeling like Falstaff when he muses: ‘O powerful love, that in some respects makes a beast a man, in some other a man a beast.’”
The Book of Will
Written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Michael Jenkinson, depicts two of Shakespeare’s friends, John Heminges and Henry Condell, as they mourn the loss of the famed playwright and seek to publish a bound volume of his works called the First Folio so that his plays will be remembered forever.
Romeo & Juliet
Written by William Shakespeare and directed by James Dean Palmer, is the classic and tragic tale of two young lovers from rival families. “Although we know the outcome, the fast-paced race to get there makes for a thrilling ride of love, honor, and the unfortunate ending where children teach their parents what really matters in life,” TSF says.
The Bridges of Madison County
A musical directed by Michael Jenkinson, with book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. This is based on Robert James Waller’s 1992 novel, telling the story of National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid as he meets Francesca Johnson while photographing covered bridges.
The Gnomes of Gnot-a-Hill
A new children’s show by Grace Abele and DJ Canaday — two TSF alums — and directed by Michael Jenkinson. “At the peak of Gnot-a-Hill, Lie secrets and wondrous sights to behold,” TSF says. The Gnomes of Gnot-a-Hill promises magic, mayhem, mystery and fun for all ages.
Active guild members can begin purchasing tickets online on May 1, and the general public can begin purchasing tickets online on May 8. Tickets can be purchased and patrons can become guild members through the Texas Shakespeare Festival’s website at texasshakespeare.com.
COVID precautions will be taken at all of the performances, including social distancing, audiences capped at 50 percent of the theater’s capacity and the mandated use of face masks for theatergoers.
“Is there a chance these precautions may be lifted? Absolutely,” Simpson said. “But these are the agreements that we have come to with unions that represent our artists, and they are part of the protocols that we’ve had to put together in order to get approved to go forward with our work.”
Simpson said TSF expects shows to sell out given the limited auditorium seating taking place.
“If you are ready to get back to the theater and see a show this summer, we recommend looking at the calendar and getting your dates selected so that you are ready to go on May 1,” she said.
The Merry Wives of Windsor: July 1 at 7:30 p.m., July 8 at 7:30 p.m., July 10 at 7:30 p.m., July 16 at 2 p.m., July 18 at 2 p.m., July 23 at 7:30 p.m., July 25 at 7:30 p.m., July 29 at 2 p.m. and July 31 at 2 p.m.
The Book of Will: July 2 at 7:30 p.m., July 9 at 2 p.m., July 11 at 2 p.m., July 16 at 7:30 p.m., July 18 at 7:30 p.m., July 22 at 2 p.m., July 24 at 2 p.m., July 29 at 7:30 p.m. and July 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Romeo & Juliet: July 3 at 7:30 p.m., July 9 at 7:30 p.m., July 11 at 7:30 p.m., July 15 at 2 p.m., July 17 at 2 p.m., July 22 at 7:30 p.m., July 24 at 7:30 p.m., July 30 at 2 p.m. and Aug. 1 at 2 p.m.
The Bridges of Madison County: July 4 at 7:30 p.m., July 8 at 2 p.m., July 10 at 2 p.m., July 15 at 7:30 p.m., July 17 at 7:30 p.m., July 23 at 2 p.m., July 25 at 2 p.m., July 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 1 at 7:30 p.m.
The Gnomes of Gnot-a-Hill: July 21 at 10 a.m., July 22 at 10 a.m., July 23 at 10 a.m., July 24 at 10 a.m., July 29 at 10 a.m., July 30 at 10 a.m. and July 31 at 10 a.m.
Chinese Theater Night: July 27. Free admission at 7:30 p.m.
Talent Showcase: July 28 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.