E Phoenix Idealis Theater, Inc. continues its 2013 season opener with William Shakespeare’s classic comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with performances May 3 and May 4. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a much-beloved comedy about the nature of love primarily set in the realm of fairyland. Directed by Ben Fabrizi and Assistant Director Lisa LaGrande, it opened this past weekend for a limited run at the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point, Queens. This run also serves as a celebration of the author himself as it coincides with the dates of his birth and death - April 23rd.
Believed to have been written in the 1590s, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. These events include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors who are controlled and manipulated by fairies ruled by King Oberon and Queen Titania and who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. Memorable quotations such as “The course of true love never did run smoothly” and “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” originate in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and form some of literature’s most celebrated lines.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is one of the most popular works in the Shakespearean canon and continues to grow in popularity with time. As Director Ben Fabrizi states “I love Shakespeare! Coming off our successful run of Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” this past fall, ‘Midsummer’ seemed a natural next step in our exploration of the Bard.” Countless productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” have been staged over the years. The 1971 ground-breaking Broadway production earned a Tony Award for Best Director. A 1996 Broadway revival at the Lunt-Funtanne Theatre earned Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Drama League Award nominations. Queens’ own Secret Theatre and Queens Shakespeare Company offered critically successful runs in the last five years. As Mr. Fabrizi continued “Time seemed ripe for Phoenix to present our interpretation to audiences nestled here in these Queens peninsula communities.”
Although the story of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” has a prestigious history on the stage, there have been successful interpretations in other genres as well. Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdi composed a classical concert overture inspired by this play and also wrote incidental music that would be incorporated into the stage version. George Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is his first original full-length ballet that was premiered by the New York City Ballet and also opened the company’s season at the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center in 1964. Several popular film adaptations have also entertained movie fans over the years in 1935 (with Mickey Rooney, James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Joe E. Brown, Dick Powell and Victor Jory), in 1968 (with Ian Holm, Diana Rigg, Helen Mirren, Ian Richardson and Judi Dench) and most recently in 1999 (with Kevin Kline, Rupert Everett, Michele Pfeiffer, Stanley Tucci, Christian Bale, Calista Flockhart and Anna Friel.)
The cast of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” includes some talented faces who have graced the Phoenix stage in years past, as well as some accomplished new recruits to the boards here at Phoenix. The ensemble cast includes Karlyn Baranowski, Hollis Beck, Brandon Burton, Hannah D’Arcy, Jessica Dickson, Lisa LaGrande, William Longerbeam, Holly Longmore, Gary McComiskey, Harmony Joy McGivney, Michael Pichardo and Stephen Powell. This production will also be enhanced musically by performances provided by teenage members of Our Lady of Fatima’s choir from nearby Jackson Heights.
Performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” are scheduled at the Poppenhusen Institute, 114-04 14th Road, College Point. Evening performances are May 3 and 4 at 8 p.m., with a matinee performance scheduled for Saturday, May 4 at 3 p.m.
Tickets are $14, senior citizens and students are $9. For more information or to reserve tickets, call 516-678-0016 or visit www.ephoenixi.org.
©2013 Community News Group
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