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July 18, 2014 7:22 am

Shakespeare’s ‘violent delights,’ Montana Shakespeare in the Park to perform ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in Powell Monday

Casey Hoekstra and Rebecca Hurd play the title characters in Shakespeare’s classic ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ Montana Shakespeare in the Park will present ‘Romeo and Juliet’ on Monday in Washington Park. Admission is free. Casey Hoekstra and Rebecca Hurd play the title characters in Shakespeare’s classic ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ Montana Shakespeare in the Park will present ‘Romeo and Juliet’ on Monday in Washington Park. Admission is free. Photo courtesy MSIP

Montana Shakespeare in the Parks is in the midst of its 42nd season of providing free professional theatrical productions throughout Montana and four neighboring states. MSIP will produce two of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays: “As You Like It” and “Romeo and Juliet.” The summer season, which began June 18 with eight performances in Bozeman, Mont., hit the road on June 30 and will include 75 performances in 61 communities prior to its conclusion on Sept. 7.

The company will perform “Romeo & Juliet” in Washington Park at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Tuesday, at the same time, it will present “As You Like It” at the Cody Auditorium in Canal Park.

William Dickerson, a veteran actor and director for MSIP, in his fourth season of directing for the summer tour, will bring “Romeo and Juliet” to the stage. It will be replete with epic sword fighting choreographed by Kevin Asselin and original a capella music created by Philadelphia-based composer Davis Good.

An adaptation of “As You Like It” is set in 1917 Butte, Mont., where the resplendent, urbane world of the Copper Kings will be contrasted with the healing, natural world of the Montanan wilderness. This production will be directed by new artistic director Kevin Asselin, who has a rich history with MSIP as tour actor, educator, fight choreographer and director.

Claudia Boddy, MSIP resident costume designer, will design both “As You Like It” and “Romeo and Juliet.” MSIP resident set designer and technical director Tom Watson, will create the sets for the productions, tailoring the designs to travel and to withstand capricious Rocky Mountain weather.

Some of summer’s most anticipated events in the region, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks brings professional productions, at no cost to the public, to communities throughout Montana, northern Wyoming, eastern Idaho, western North Dakota and eastern Washington.

Remarkably self-reliant, the company features 10 professional actors selected by national audition who tour without technical assistance to bring live theatre to communities primarily in rural areas. This summer Trout Creek, Mont., and Belgrade, Mont., join the communities which MSIP serves. An anticipated audience of more than 30,000 will experience the two fully staged, beautifully costumed plays.

The performances are free, and tickets are not needed for admission. Audiences are encouraged to show up before show time with blankets or chairs, a picnic supper and plenty of friends and family to enjoy the evening. 

For more information on the plays and MSIP, go to www.shakespeareintheparks.org.

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