Ohio Shakespeare Festival opens with comic 'Twelfth Night'

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Ohio Shakespeare Festival, performing for a magical thirteenth summer at beautiful Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron, will present William Shakespeare's romantic comedy about unrequited love, "Twelfth Night," followed by Shakespeare's most accessible and fascinating history play, "Henry IV, Part One."

"Twelfth Night" will preview on July 3, open July 4 and run through July 20. "Henry IV, Part One" will preview on July 31, open Aug. 1, and perform through Aug. 17. Performances are Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at 8 p.m., with a Greenshow of songs, dances, swordfights and parodies performed by the younger Company members each evening at 7:30. Stan Hywet's grounds open at 6 p.m. for picnicking.

"Twelfth Night" will feature OSF Company members Lara Knox (Kate, Ophelia) as Olivia, and Anand Nagraj (Othello, Two Gents) as Orsino, along with Tess Burgler (Imogen, Juliet) as Viola, the unintended love interest to them both. Also returning to the company will be Joe Pine as Feste, Geoff Knox as Malvolio, Derrick Winger as Sir Toby Belch, and Holly Humes as Maria.

"Henry IV, Part One" will begin OSF's new two-year project producing some of Shakespeare's overlooked, and yet thrilling dramatizations of history. "Henry IV" tells the story of the Plantagenet King (who usurped the throne from his unpopular cousin, Richard II) and his hard-partying, decadent son, Prince Hal, the future Henry V. Company member Andrew Cruse (Hamlet, Romeo) will play both Prince Hal, and later the brand-new King in next season's production of "Henry V." Joining Cruse are Company Artistic Director Terry Burgler (Lear, Iago) as Sir John Falstaff, one of Shakespeare's most beloved comic characters, Joe Pine as Hotspur, and David McNees (Antonio, Tybalt) as Henry IV.

In order to make Shakespeare accessible to all audiences, OSF is offering two evenings with ticketing supported by both the Corbin Foundation and the Akron Community Foundation. "Twelfth Night" will have a "Pay what you 'Will'" performance on July 10, and "Henry IV" will have a performance free for all students (with ID) on Aug. 7.

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is at 714 N. Portage Path in Akron. Tickets are $30 for reserved seating (the first 100 seats in the center, closest to the stage), or $25 for festival (open) seating. Student tickets are $15, and further discounts on adult tickets are available for OSF, WKSU, and Stan Hywet Members. Reservations may be made any time through OSF's web site at www.ohioshakespeare.com, or by calling the box office at 330-673-8761 daily (except Mondays) from noon to 5 p.m.

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