Valley Shakespeare troupe readies for show this week in Shelton

Cast and crew from the upcoming inaugural Valley Shakespeare Festival (VSF) production, above, pose during the Meet and Greet event on July 11 to publicize the upcoming show in Shelton.

The troupe will perform William Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” from July 18-20 at 8 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park (the Riverwalk) in downtown Shelton.

Admittance is free to the outdoor performances on all three nights — Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

“I’ve wanted to do this since age 17,” said Tom Simonetti, VSF artistic and executive director.

Simonetti, who grew up in Shelton and now works in theater in New York City, where he lives, recalls the impact that an outdoor Shakespeare play he saw in New Haven as a teen had on him.

“It showed how powerful theater can be — and how amazing as well,” said Simonetti, now age 30.

‘Americana/vaudeville twist’

The VSF version of “The Comedy of Errors” will be set in the 1920s “with an Americana/vaudeville twist,” Simonetti said.

More than two dozen people are involved in the production, including actors, crew members and other volunteers.

Audience members are welcome to bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnics to watch the play on the lawn at the riverfront park.

Steady crowd at Meet and Greet

On June 11, the VSF event at the Twisted Vine Restaurant in Derby was a chance for the public to mingle with cast members and show their support.

It featured a three-course buffet, cash bar, music and silent auction. The cost was $10, and it attracted a steady crowd. The purpose was to raise some funds while gaining exposure for the first-ever VSF play.

Many cast and crew members at the Meet and Greet were dressed in 1920s “Gatsby” outfits, reflective of the upcoming show.

Learn more about the Valley Shakespeare Festival at