The Bard is back in town

'King Lear' to kick off summer season of Colorado Shakespeare Festival
By Staff

Romance, power and deceit intertwine as theColorado Shakespeare Festival presents three Shakespeare and two other classic plays this summer under the stars at the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre and indoors at the University Theatre on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The six-week summer season runs from July 1 through Aug. 8.

Shakespeare's "King Lear" begins the season with a preview July 1 and opening July 2 at the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre. Directed by Lynne Collins, "Lear" is one of the most powerful dramas in Western literature, examining family and politics. Beginning with a monarch's division of his kingdom among his three daughters, Shakespeare's tragedy examines the tempest in one man's mind as his family disintegrates, his country is ripped apart by petty ambitions and the universe seems to unravel around him. "Lear" explores the most basic questions of human existence: love and duty, power and loss, good and evil.

"The Fantasticks" opens July 3 (preview July 2) at the University Theatre. A memorable score enlivens the heart of this passionate musical that charmed off-Broadway for a record-breaking 42 years. A unique take on "boy meets the girl next door," the story tells of Luisa and Matt, entering the bloom of their youth, as the world stands open to them, inviting them to explore. Their parents, scheming to encourage their children's budding love by pretending to oppose it, build a wall between the teens, hiring the trickster El Gallo to thwart their romance. By moonlight, Matt and Luisa fall hard for each other. When finally the couple comes together in the light of day, they must decide between the comfort of illusion and the wisdom that only comes with experience. Can their romance survive the sunlight? Directed by Sands Hall, the play is written by Tom Jones with music by Harvey Schmidt.

One of Shakespeare's earliest and more popular comedies, "The Taming of the Shrew" opens July 10 with a preview July 9 at the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre. A playfully provocative battle of the sexes pits the shrewish Kate against the fortune-seeking Petruchio. But just who is taming whom? Unlike other romantic comedies, the play does not stop with the wedding. Shakespeare considers the institution of marriage, the rifts between men and women, and the rough journey toward love in this play directed by Stephanie Shine.

"Measure for Measure," directed by Scott Williams, opens July 16 at the University Theatre with a preview planned for July 15. One of Shakespeare's most unpredictable and least classifiable dramas, it revolves around a ghastly choice. A young man whose fiancée is pregnant is sentenced to death, for sexual relations outside of marriage. His sister pleads for his life with the all-powerful regent who rules the city. The regent offers her a deal, on one condition: that she sacrifice her virginity to save her brother. Highlighting the abuse of power and exploring moral issues surrounding resistance to injustice, "Measure for Measure" is a complex and wickedly stimulating play.

The final offering of the season is Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" opening at the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre July 17, with a preview July 16. First produced in 1938, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play has become an American stage treasure. Wilder's best-known and most frequently performed work reveals the ordinary lives of the people in the small town of Grover's Corners, N.H. "Our Town" defies most conventional theatrical genres – it is neither a comedy nor a tragedy, neither a romance nor a farce. It is, rather, a contemplative work and richly timeless commentary on nothing less than the tragicomedy of human existence. The play is directed by Victoria Erville.

For more information, including tickets and curtain times, visit or call 303-492-0554.