Starts Thursday: Midsummer Night’s Dream on the Riverwalk

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare’s fantastical comedy about young lovers, royals, fairies and magic, will come alive for four spell-binding nights on stage at Shelton’s Riverwalk-Veterans Memorial Park on Thursday, July 9, through Sunday, July 12, at 8 p.m.

The performances will be presented free of charge to all by the Valley Shakespeare Festival.  This is the company’s third year of free summer productions in the park.

Devotees of VSF’s previous productions will recognize several returning performers as well as some new faces in this summer’s cast.

Making their VSF debuts include: Broadway veteran Gary Harger (playing the dual roles of Egeus and Peter Quince) and Matt Densky (as Puck), who most recently performed in the Madison Square Garden production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the U.S. Regional premier of Disney’s Little Mermaid.

Also joining the cast for the first time are New York actors Tara Reuter as Hermia, Kelsea Baker as Helena, Matthew Hansen as Demetrius and Erik Bloomquist as Lysander.  Playing the dual roles of Theseus and Oberon, is Dave Herigstad.

Among the returnees are locals Jessica Breda, who has performed in almost every VSF production, as Hippolyta and Titania; Tyler Huntley (Much Ado About Nothing, A Christmas Carol) as Flute, Peseblossom and Thisbe;  Gwendolyn Niles (Much Ado About Nothing, A Christmas Carol) in dual roles, and Tom Simonetti as Bottom.

Rounding out the cast are Brodey Ott, Ben Kingsley and Ansonia High School Senior Ashley Velleco, all taking on multiple roles.

About the play

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a fast-paced romp revolving around two sets of young lovers who flee into a forest and stumble onto a merry feud between the king and queen of the fairies of the forest.

It begins in Athens where Duke Theseus is preparing to wed Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, but quickly moves into the enchanted forest where all bets are off.

With the change of scenery comes the change of roles as Duke Theseus becomes Oberon, King of the Fairies and his betrothed, Hippolyta, becomes Titania, Oberon’s wife and Queen of the Fairies. And, a burly group of craftsmen who are gathered in the forest to rehearse a play they have prepared to perform at the Duke’s wedding find themselves magically transformed into forest sprites.

Mishaps and mayhem ensue as Oberon and Titania attempt to clean up the mess the mortals have made, all the while waging a mini-war between themselves using the fairies and mortals as pawns.