Shakespeare and the Queen? Free performances begin July 22; see where

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What happens when you mix classic Shakespeare with classic rock?

You get “Queen of a Midsummer Night”.

The production, from the LawnChair Theater in Port Chester, is an innovative take on Shakespeare’s famous fantasy play – to music by Queen – and performed outdoors by a diverse group of actors and a backing group led by a Broadway maestro.

Don’t worry about ticket prices – this show is free. Just bring a chair. Performances begin Thursday and run through July 31 at various locations in Westchester.

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Adapted and directed by veteran actor and director Mat Young, the musical arrangements and direction are entrusted to Keith Levenson. Levenson is the conductor of The Who’s world tour, as well as numerous Broadway shows.

The Mechanics: Mat Young (Bottom), Charlotte Roth (Museau), Shelley Lepetich (Quince), Kate Henerey (Snug), Chris Nigro (Flute), Neil Schleifer (Starvling)

The plot of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” features four lovers who find themselves bewitched by fairies. LawnChair’s production will run approximately 120 minutes and will feature Queen hits like “Don’t Stop Me Now”, “We Are the Champions” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

“We feel lucky to have brought together a group of talented singers and a group of legendary Broadway musicians,” said Levenson. “Our goal is to create our own unique arrangements, to deliver a fun and accessible Shakespeare performance, and also to satisfy the Queen fans in our audience.”

The production, which takes place outdoors in various Westchester County parks, features a full group and nearly two dozen cast members. The diverse cast is representative of the community, spanning several generations and races; some are amateurs, others are professionals.

This is the 16th season of the LawnChair Theater.

The cast of LawnChair Theater's “A Midsummer Night's Queen” includes River Glassberg (Demetrius), Sally Rose Zuckert (Helena), Nicole Neurohr (Hermia) and Noam Ben Yakir (Lysander).

What started in 2006 as a summer theater project for young people in Port Chester has evolved over the following years, said executive and artistic director Peter Green, noting that LawnChair is a true community theater, a organization in which the community is as important as the theater.

“The LawnChair Theater attracts artists and crews from across Westchester County. Our company reflects the importance of diversity – of age, ethnicity, gender and theatrical “experience,” said Green. “The common denominators are talent and commitment.”

Rachel Schulte, left, is Puck, and Julie Thaxter-Goulay, right, is Titania in the LawnChair Theater production of

Bringing theater to audiences across the county is no easy feat. The sets, lighting and sound, which are minimal, must be brought in and then packed for the next show. Actors wear wireless microphones so they can be heard outdoors. Outdoor shows usually start in daylight and end at dusk.

Performances are free, but a suggested contribution of $ 20 for adults and $ 10 for students and seniors is encouraged. Members of the public should bring a blanket or chairs and are encouraged to bring picnic food and snacks.

Rachel Schulte as Puck in LawnChair's production 'A Midsummer Night's Queen'.

If it rains, the theater has a secure indoor hall for most performances, but there are rainy dates as well. Visit the home page, www.lawnchairtheater.org, on the day of the show for information and parking details.

Sally Rose Zuckert, (Helena) Nicole Neurohr, (Hermia) and Noam Ben Yakir (Lysander) in

If you are going to

What: “The queen of a summer night”

When:

  • July 23, 24: Rye Town Park
  • July 25: L’Armurerie, New Rochelle
  • July 28: Rain Date, Rye Town Park
  • July 29: Performance of private services
  • July 30: Recreation ground, Chappaqua
  • July 31: Bedford Theater Lawn
  • August 1: Bedford Rain Date

Iinfo: www.lawnchairtheatre.org

More from Shakespeare

Storm: The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Theater will have a shortened season this year, featuring The Tempest, from August 5 to September 5. 4. The performances will take place under the marquee on Boscobel’s lawn in Garrison, but capacity will be limited. Tickets cost between $ 15 and $ 175 and are on sale now at hvshakespeare.org. Boscobel is located at 1601, route 9D, garrison.

Twelfth night: The Irvington Shakespeare Company and the Irvington Theater will co-produce this outdoor production August 6-22 at the O’Hara Nature Center in Irvington, 170 Mountain Road. Parking is available but limited; carpooling is encouraged. Performances take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. the doors open at 6.30 p.m. All tickets are free but must be reserved in advance at irvingtontheater.com/twelfthnight.

Romeo and Juliet: Curtain Call’s 18th Summer of Shakespeare on the Green takes place outdoors in Stamford, Connecticut, through August 1. Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on the lawn alongside the Royal Green Restaurant at Sterling Farms on Newfield Avenue, Stamford. The remaining dates are: July 23, 24, 25, 29, 30, 31 and August 1 at 7:30 p.m. daily. The park opens to patrons at 6 p.m. to sit down. Food and drinks will be available but no alcoholic beverages can be brought into the park. Parking is available across the street at Davenport Ridge School. For tickets and more information, visit Curtaincallinc.com

Karen Croke is the feature editor for lohud.com and poughkeepsiejournal.com. Find my stories here. Contact me at [email protected]


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