What’s onstage at Shakespeare theaters in August

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Left – Right: Merrie Shearer (Starveling), Storm Sloan (Snug), Sam Douglas (Bottom), Elijah J. McNutt (Snout), Katie Bruno (Petra Quince), Seraphim Sherman (Flute). A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Nashville Shakespeare Festival, 2018. Photo: Rick Malkin.

What happened to June? Whither July? How could it already be. . . August?

This month might be your last chance to catch some of that sweet, sweet summertime Shakespeare before the weather starts to cool down and it’s time to head back to school. Check out these productions from our theater partners before (gasp!) September.

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Tracy Michelle Arnold, Heartbreak House, American Players Theater, 2018. Photo: Liz Lauren.

At Wisconsin’s American Players Theatre, Measure for Measure starts on Saturday, August 18. Shakespeare’s examination of leadership, power, and control is particularly timely in the midst of the #MeToo Movement: director Risa Brainin writes that “Shakespeare is always surprisingly relevant. . . always. But the wildly contemporary resonances of Measure for Measure at this particular moment are a bit shocking.” Also onstage in Spring Green is George Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House. It’s not Shakespeare, but we’ve been on a bit of a Shaw kick ever since June, when Bedlam brought its four-person production of Saint Joan to Folger Theatre. This production is adapted and directed by our old friend Aaron Posner. In his notes, Posner writes that Heartbreak House (the place) “is a cousin to both Chekhov’s quirky country estates and Shakespeare’s forest of Arden—an oddly magical place where love is lost and found, secrets are revealed, truth is told, and Big Changes can happen.”

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Charlie Thomas, Adam King, and Vinnie Mascola. “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, 2018. Photo by Jeff Watkins.

At the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) is onstage through August 19. The Canterbury Tales opens August 25 and runs through September 9.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, directed by Barbara Gaines. Photo: Liz Lauren.

The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s King John runs through Sunday, August 19. When asked to reflect on why BSF is producing King John, Artistic Director Tom Delise quotes director James Dacre: the play “say[s] something meaningful about the relationship of politicians to the public, and the difference between the conversations politicians have with the electorate and the conversations politicians have behind closed doors.”

There’s still time to catch the Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s touring production of A Midsummer Night’s DreamThe production tours parks around Chicago through August 26. This weekend, August 18 and 19, it also literally plays in Peoria.

The Nashville Shakespeare Festival is bringing a little Athens, Greece to the “Athens of the South.” The festival celebrates its 30th anniversary season with a rollicking production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, onstage through September 16. The production is playing at Nashville’s Centennial Park through September 9: fittingly, the park is right next to Nashville’s Parthenon.

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Esau Pritchett as Othello, Delaney Feener as Desdemona. “Othello” at Shakespeare at Notre Dame, 2018. Photo: Peter Ringenberg.

Shakespeare at Notre Dame’s Othello, featuring Esau Pritchett in the title role, runs through Sunday, August 26. This summer’s season—also featuring the Shakespeare at Notre Dame touring company’s The Merchant of Venice—asks what Shakespeare says about those marginalized by society. Director Cameron Knight’s production explores what happens when, in search of clarity, safety, and trust, we entrust the wrong people with our needs: “the wrong leadership, the wrong lover, the wrong friend.”

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The cast of Much Ado About Nothing, Aug. 12 – Sep. 16, 2018 at The Old Globe. Dir. Kathleen Marshall. Photo by Jim Cox.

At The Old Globe, Much Ado About Nothing runs through September 16. Three-time Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall directs.

Of course, there’s plenty more to see at Shakespeare theaters across the United States, from The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Utah Shakespeare Festival to Romeo and Juliet at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Revisit our posts from June and July to see more of what’s happening at a theater near you.


The American Players Theatre, Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Baltimore Shakespeare Factory, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare at Notre Dame, The Old Globe, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival are theater partners of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

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