Summer Shakes: See the Bard in Brooklyn’s parks!

Bottom’s up!: Queen Titania (Vanessa Butler) will romance big-eared Bottom (Corey Whelihan) in Smith Street Stage’s modern-day production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Brooklyn Paper
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It is time for Shakespeare in the parks! This summer, the green spaces of Kings County will be filled with fairies, lost princesses, and star-crossed lovers! At least four theater companies will perform the works of the Bard under the stars over the next few months, while a fifth gives a stripped-down performance of another classic playwright. Read on to plan your summer culture!

‘Dream’ come true!

Smith Street Stage performs the most appropriate Shakespeare play for the middle of summer: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” This production of the giddy magical comedy about fairies, lovers on the run, and incompetent amateur actors, set in modern New York City, will run for two weeks in Carroll Park, then move indoors for another seven performances.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Carroll Park (Carroll Street at Smith Street in Carroll Gardens, June 20–July 1; Wed–Sun at 7:30 pm. Free.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Actors Fund Arts Center (160 Schermerhorn St. between Hoyt and Smith Streets Downtown). July 11–13 at 7:30 pm; July 14 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm; July 15 at 2 pm. $10.

Summer lovin’

The New York Classical Theatre will present the pair star-crossed lovers under the stars, when it brings “Romeo & Juliet” to Brooklyn Bridge Park in late July.

When you come, bring sturdy shoes — the company’s “panoramic theater” style will keep the audience moving from one location to the next as the action moves from the streets of Verona to the Capulet crypt.

“Romeo & Juliet” at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park [Old Fulton Street at Furman Street in Dumbo, (212) 233–6496,]. July 24–25, 27–29 at 7 pm. Free.

Winter of our content!

South Brooklyn Shakespeare Company will play against the season, staging Shakespeare’s late romance “The Winter’s Tale.” The tragicomedy about a jealous king, a shipwreck, and a lost child will premiere as part of the Fifth Avenue Fair, playing in the street in front of South Bar, which sponsors the company, before moving to the Old Stone House.

“The Winter’s Tale” as part of the Fifth Avenue Fair (Fifth Avenue between 17th and 18th streets in Park Slope, July 28 at 6:30 pm. Free.

And at the Old Stone House (336 Third St. between Fourth and Fifth avenues in Park Slope, Aug. 1–4 at 8 pm.

Much Ado all day!

At the annual, day-long “Brooklyn Shakespeare Festival” in Bay Ridge’s Owl’s Head Park will feature several performances of Shakespeare’s witty comedy “Much Ado About Nothing” from BrooklynOne Production, with Elizabethan activities and music between the shows.

“Much Ado About Nothing” in Owl’s Head Park (68th Street at Colonial Road in Bay Ridge, Aug. 25 at noon. Free.

A bare stage

Finally, the body-celebrating Torn Out Theater Company — known for its all-female, all-nude production of “The Tempest” two years ago, and a naked, all-male version of “Hamlet” last summer, will mix things up a bit this year. It will present a mixed-gender show by a different 17th century playwright: “The Rover,” by Aphra Behn, one of the first women to make a living as a playwright. The show will mix nude and costumed characters to share the amorous adventures of a group of noblemen, nuns, and courtesans in Naples during Carnival, with many of the characters wearing elaborate masks (and nothing else).

“The Rover” at the Music Pagoda in Prospect Park (enter at Ocean Avenue and Lincoln Road in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Aug. 16–26; Thu, Fri at 5:30 pm; Sat, Sun at 2 pm. Free.

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at or by calling (718) 260–4507.
Updated 5:44 pm, July 9, 2018
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