After a four year hiatus, Shakespeare returns to New American Theater with A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Tony Vezner. This decadently fun and campy rendition opens February third and runs through February twenty-sixth. Staged in modern dress, with visual themes carried to the extreme including a wading pool and characters riding an ATV, it promises to be one of the more unique interpretations of Shakespeare that Rockford audiences have experienced.
Vezner has assembled the best local talent and brought in experienced actors from around the country to bring Rockford a fresh perspective on the Bard. Gerson Dacanay, who will be portraying the infamous Puck, has spent several seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Ian Novak is a graduate of the Conservatory of Classical Theater Training at the Stratford Festival in Canada where he appeared in Henry VI as well as Two Noble Kinsmen and Inherit the Wind. His performance as Lysander will undoubtedly be influenced by his experience with the Chicago Shakespeare Project and the National Endowment for the Arts touring production of Romeo & Juliet.
Shakespeare originally included several songs in A Midsummer Night's Dream, but most of the melodies for those songs have been lost. So NAT brought in their own respected British composer to breathe new life into the verses. Donald Fraser, a recent local resident, served for seven years as the Resident Composer and Music Director for London's famous Old Vic Theatre where he composed the scores for over forty productions. Shows with his music have been seen in festivals around the world, on Broadway, in London's West End, and many theaters here in the U.S. He currently writes for the Christmas and Kraft Concerts of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and is Associate Director of Worship Arts at Christ United Methodist Church in Rockford. Fraser composed two new songs for this production and is producing an entire musical score. "We're honored to be working with someone of such international distinction." said Vezner, "Don is a true artist - he loves to explore, challenge, and play. He has crafted some amazing themes for the lovers, the mechanicals, and for the fairies."
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a wondrous tale of love, magic, and the joy of theater. This delightful comedy follows two pairs of lovers whose quest for happiness is sidetracked by the mischievous woodland fairy named Puck. Love runs mad through the forest of Athens as the lovers bicker, quarrel, and suffer from mistaken identities. Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, a troupe of amateur actors is working on a play. Their work is interrupted when Puck changes the head of one of the actors into the head of an ass. The tricky fairy completes the prank by making Titania, Queen of the Fairies, fall in love with the donkey-headed actor. In the end, all the tricks are undone and love conquers all in one of William Shakespeare's most memorable and hilarious comedies.
New American Theater is in the midst of their 34th season, and is located at 118 N. Main St. in Rockford. Preview nights are January 31 and pay-as-you-can-night February 1 at 7:30 pm. The box office is open Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. For show dates, times, and ticket prices, visit us on the web at www.newamericantheater.com