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Riverside Theatre Blog - Shakespeare Festival

Riverside to host talk on The Merchant of Venice's Shylock

February 22, 2012 - 10:37 AM

Riverside Theatre will host the first in a series of special events related to its upcoming summer Festival production of The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, on Thursday, March 1 at 7 p.m. The lecture and presentation by Shakespearean scholar and UI English professor Miriam Gilbert, titled “Shakespeare and ‘the likeness of a Jew’ Shylock, Fagin and Disraeli” will take place at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 South Linn St, in Meeting Room A. The event is free and open to the public.

Shylock is one of Shakespeare's most famous—and most controversial—characters.  During this presentation Gilbert will ask, is he a knife-wielding villain or a misunderstood victim?  The talk will also examine how our view of Shylock has been influenced by figures from literature, from history, and from his various stage representations.

Riverside Theatre is receiving support from the National Endowment for the Arts for The Merchant of Venice and accompanying audience education and outreach efforts related to the theme of “the other” in the play.

Events featuring experts, scholars, community and religious leaders, aimed at confronting and countering notions of anti-Semitism, as well as additional types of other-focused hatred and prejudices will be presented this spring. Watch the Riverside Theatre website, www.riversidetheatre.org for more information.

In addition to The Merchant of Venice, this summer’s Festival will include a production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. The plays will run in rotation from June 15 through July 8, 2012. The Merchant of Venice and As You Like It will be performed at the Riverside Festival Stage in Lower City Park. This outdoor venue is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and contains 472 permanent seats. Tickets for the Festival will go on sale in late spring. For more information go to www.riversidetheatre.org or call the Riverside Theatre Box Office at 319-338-7672.

Apprentice Company Auditions/Interviews

January 10, 2012 - 8:50 AM

Riverside Theatre announces auditions and interviews for its 2012 Shakespeare Festival Apprentice Company on Saturday, February 4. 

Full-time apprenticeships are open to undergraduate, graduate students or others seeking a professional experience in the areas of acting, directing and stage management.  Interested applicants should schedule an audition (actors) or interview (directing and stage management positions) at Riverside Theatre on Saturday, February 4, 2012 beginning at 12:30 p.m. by calling 319-338-7672.  Complete information on the Apprentice program and application requirements is available at www.riversidetheatre.org

The Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival hires a company of 14 professional actors as well as a 10-member Apprentice Company to produce two classical plays which run in repertory.  2012 will mark the Festival’s 13th season in Lower City Park, and will feature productions of Shakespeare’s As You Like It and The Merchant of Venice.  The 8-week apprentice contract period is May 15- July 9.  All apprentices receive $75/week as well as housing for non-local interns.  Training includes weekly master classes with company members and guest artists.

For more information, please refer to www.riversidetheatre.org or e-mail Jody Hovland, artistic director, at [email protected]

For more information about the Apprentice Company and Auditions click here.

Video of Green Show for Ah, Wilderness!

July 7, 2011 - 9:30 AM

At the Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival, Green Shows are performed one hour before curtain. These 20-minute story theatre versions of the evening's play allow the audience to brush up on the plot in advance of the evening performance. The nightly show-and this preview performance-showcases the work of acting, production, and stage management interns from the Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival Intern Company. Traditionally, the Green Shows feature much humor and are especially appealing to kids.

Click here to watch the Green Show for Ah, Wilderness!

Video by Marketing Director Sarah Burnett

Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival Video

July 6, 2011 - 10:38 AM

Don't miss the final week of the 2011 Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival.

Watch our video to see what you've been missing or if you've already been to the Festival relive some of the highlights from the Two Gentlemen of Verona and Ah, Wilderness!

Click here to see a video of the 2011 Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival

Video by Martin Andrews of Working Group Theatre

Final Week of Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival

July 6, 2011 - 8:48 AM

The Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival is drawing to a close, there are only a few performances remaining for Ah, Wilderness! and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Tickets and information are available at the Riverside Theatre Box Office at 319-338-7672 or online at www.riversidetheatre.org.

Ah, Wilderness! will be performed this Friday, July 8 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 10 at 7 p.m. Two Gentlemen of Verona will be performed on Wednesday, July 6 at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 7 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, July 9 at 8 p.m.

Patrons are invited to picnic on the grounds while watching the Green Show, 60 minutes before curtain. The Green Show 20-minute story-theatre version of the evening's play helps audiences become familiar with the plot. Green Shows are performed by the Festival Intern Company.

Festival performances take place at the Riverside Theatre Festival Stage, Lower City Park, Iowa City. Tickets range from $17-$39 with discounts for students and seniors. Youth tickets can be purchased for $17 each. To purchase tickets, call the Riverside Theatre Box Office at 319-338-7672 or order online at www.riversidetheatre.org.

Frequently Asked Festival Questions Answered

July 5, 2011 - 10:37 AM

Have a question about the Festival? The Riverside Theatre staff have come up with answers to a number of frequently asked questions about the Festival.

Can I picnic before a show? Absolutely! The grounds are open 90 minutes before the performance. Wraps, chips, desserts, and an assortment of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages are available for purchase at the box office before the show.

What if it rains? Festival performances continue during a light rain, so please bring a wrap (no umbrellas, please). For a heavy rain, the show may be delayed up to 45 minutes. If a performance has to be canceled due to severe weather, tickets may be exchanged for another performance of the same production. Refunds are only available if the performance is canceled before the first act is completed. For refunds, mail the tickets to the Riverside Theatre Box Office, 213 N. Gilbert St, Iowa City IA 52245, with a note requesting a refund. All Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival refund claim must be received by August 1, 2011. (Service charges are non-refundable.)

Why can't I bring an umbrella? Umbrellas block the view of those behind you. A wrap is fine, and the Festival Box Office sells inexpensive rain ponchos, too.

What if there are mosquitoes? To keep the bugs at bay we offer complimentary bug spray at the Festival box office.

Can I bring alcohol to the show? No, possession or consumption is illegal on city property except where a special license has been granted--as it has been to Riverside Theatre. As a licensee, we are required to prohibit the possession or consumption of any alcohol not sold by us on the Festival grounds. Beer and wine are available for purchase at the Festival concession window.

If it is called a Shakespeare Festival, why is there only one Shakespeare play? It's actually very common for Shakespeare Festivals across the country to perform the work of other playwrights. There are just too many classics to limit the festival to Shakespeare!

Where can I park? There are some parking spaces-including handicap parking-located directly in front of the Festival stage. Additional parking is just a short walk from the Festival stage. Festival goers may park in any of the parking lots in Lower City Park.

How early should I arrive? If you would like to picnic on the grounds before a show, you may arrive as early as 90 minutes before the performance. If you would like to see the Green Show performed by the Festival Company Interns one hour before the performance, you should arrive a bit over an hour before the night's performance begins. Seating for the evening's performance begins approximately 30 minutes before the show opens.

What is a Green Show? A Green Show is a 20-minute "story theatre" version of the evening's play that allows the audience to brush up on the plot in advance of the evening performance. Traditionally, the Green Shows feature much humor and are especially appealing to kids.

Where can I see a Green Show? Green Shows are performed on the Green Show stage near the pavilion.

RTSF Special Sunday Rush Offer

July 1, 2011 - 2:30 PM

Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival is celebrating the holiday weekend by offering $19 all age rush tickets to their Sunday, July 3 performance of The Two Gentlemen of Verona at Lower City Park in Iowa City.

Rush tickets will be available starting at 6:40 p.m. with the performance of The Two Gentlemen of Verona beginning at 7 p.m.

Join the Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival Company for a hysterical, madcap romp through Verona and Milan, as we follow two love-struck gentlemen, their servants, and a lackadaisical dog in The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Reviews of Two Gents and Ah, Wilderness!

June 29, 2011 - 11:46 AM

The Gazette has published reviews of the 2011 Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival....
Click here to read the Gazette reviews of Ah, Wilderness! and The Two Gentlemen of Verona

RTSF Family Nights and 1 Show Family Pack

June 28, 2011 - 12:13 PM

This year's Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival includes two Family Night performances, one for The Two Gentlemen of Verona on Tuesday, June 28, at 7 p.m. and one for Ah, Wilderness! on Tuesday, July 5, at 7 p.m. On Family Nights, up to two adults accompanying a child will be admitted at the youth ticket price of just $17.

Those families unable to attend a Family Night can purchase a 1 Show Family Pack, which allows two adults and up to three kids to attend one performance, on any night they choose for $85.

Tickets and play information are available at the Riverside Theatre Box Office at (319) 338-7672.

"These performances are perfect for families looking for affordable, professional entertainment," said Jody Hovland, Artistic Director at Riverside Theatre. "We know parents are interested in sharing the Festival experience with their children, but a night out can be a big expense. The Family Night and 1 Show Family Pack discounts make a big difference."

The grounds open 90 minutes before performances. Families are invited to bring a blanket and picnic on the grounds while watching the Green Show, 60 minutes before curtain. The Green Show's 20-minute story-theatre version of the evening's play allows both adults and kids to become familiar with the play's plot. Green Shows are performed by the Festival Intern Company. Traditionally, they feature much humor and are especially appealing to kids.

Festival performances take place at the Riverside Theatre Festival Stage, Lower City Park, Iowa City.

Tickets range from $17-$39 with discounts for students and seniors. Youth tickets can be purchased for $17 each. Weeknight rush tickets are available 30 minutes prior to curtain for $19 Tuesday-Thursday. To purchase tickets, call the Riverside Theatre Box Office at (319) 338-7672 or order online at www.riversidetheatre.org.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona Opens Tonight!

June 24, 2011 - 9:46 AM

The Two Gentlemen of Verona, written by William Shakespeare and directed by Ron Clark, will open at the Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival tonight, Friday, June 24 at the Riverside Theatre Festival Stage in Lower City Park, Iowa City.

In this madcap romp, a young man's folly drives the action in what may have been Shakespeare's first comedy. Young masters Proteus and Valentine are the best of friends until Proteus falls for the new object of Valentine's affections, Silvia.  Forsaking Julia, Proteus sets out to betray his unsuspecting friend, only to find that both Silvia and Julia have a thing or two to teach him about loyalty and love.

"This is a great big, sweet, cupcake of a show! Two Gents is full of joy and intrigue - the company is bringing terrific imagination and energy to the stage.  I recommend it as a great family evening," said Ron Clark, Riverside Theatre Resident Artist and Director of the Two Gentlemen of Verona.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona features Zachary Andrews, Chad Bay, Patrick DuLaney, Jennifer Fawcett, Kelly Gibson, Samuel Alexander Hawkins, Jody Hovland, Alec Hynes, Peter Eli Johnson, Cristina Panfilio, Sean Parker, Christopher Peltier, Alex Shockley, Zoe Sigman, and Jim Van Valen.

The show also features a 12 year-old rescued pit bull from Solon, Big Red, as Crab the dog.

The costumes are designed by Renee Garcia, and scenic and lighting design is by Courtney Schmitz Watson.

Ah, Wilderness! Photos

June 24, 2011 - 9:29 AM

Ah, Wilderness! opened on June 17 at the Riverside Theatre Festival Stage in Lower City Park, in Iowa City as part of the 2011 Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival.

Here are a few highlights of the show, all photos by Bob Goodfellow.

(Left to right) Peter Eli Johnson, Patrick DuLaney, Zachary Andrews, and Sean Parker harmonize before the opening scene of Ah, Wilderness!


Dinner time at the Miller house on the 4th of July.


Things just got a little more interesting at dinner.


Belle (Cristina Panfilio) and Richard (Christopher Peltier), get a little friendly.



A late night at the Miller's.

Muriek (Kelly Gibson) and Richard (Christopher Peltier) enjoy a moment under the moonlight.

Free Green Show of Two Gents Friday, Downtown Iowa City

June 20, 2011 - 10:19 AM

To mark the opening of The Two Gentlemen of Verona at the Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival this weekend, the Festival Intern Company will perform a free preview of William Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona Green Show this Friday, June 24, at 12:10 p.m. on the downtown pedestrian mall (near Washington St.).

At the Festival, the Green Shows are performed one hour before curtain. These 20-minute story theatre versions of the evening's play allow the audience to brush up on the plot in advance of the evening performance. The nightly show-and this preview performance-showcases the work of acting, production, and stage management interns from the Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival Intern Company. Traditionally, the Green Shows feature much humor and are especially appealing to kids.

Ah, Wilderness! Review

June 20, 2011 - 9:10 AM

Iowa Theatre Blog reviewed the opening night of Ah, Wilderness! and had a number of wonderful things to say about the show.

Click here to read the Iowa Theatre Blog review of Ah, Wilderness!

Ah, Wilderness! Opens Tonight!

June 17, 2011 - 8:56 AM

The 2011 Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival opens tonight, Friday, June 17 at 8 p.m. with Eugene O'Neill's Ah, Wilderness! a light-hearted family comedy about family and first love with a Norman Rockwell feel.

Prior to the start of the show there will be a performance of the Ah, Wilderness! Green Show by the Festival Interns. The Green Show is a short, ~ 20 minute, story version of the play along with background information on the playwright. Green Shows are generally humerous and suitable for family entertainment.

For those not attending tonight's opening performance and Green Show are invited to join us for a free preview performance of the Ah, Wilderness! Green Show at ~ 12:10 p.m. in downtown Iowa City on the ped mall (near Washington St).

See Pics of Ron and Jody in Ah, Wilderness! production from 1983

June 15, 2011 - 9:48 AM

In 1983, Ron Clark and Jody Hovland portrayed Nat Miller and Essie Miller in the University of Iowa's production of Eugene O'Neill's Ah, Wilderness! fast forward to 2011 and Clark and Hovland will be reprising these roles during the Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival production of Ah, Wilderness! this summer.

A big thanks to the University of Iowa Theatre Department, F.W. Kent Collection of Photographs, University of Iowa Archives, and the University of Iowa Libraries for supplying Riverside Theatre with copies of these pictures.

Dinner on the 4th of July at the Miller's.

Photo provideded by F.W. Kent Collection of Photographs, University of Iowa Archives, University of Iowa Libraries.

Essie chasing after Tommy.

Photo provided by F.W. Kent Collection of Photographs, University of Iowa Archives, University of Iowa Libraries

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