Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Riverside Theatre in the Park

Iowa City - "Riverside Theatre announces their summer season of classic works, Riverside Theatre in the Park, June 14-July 7, 2013. This summer’s plays are William Shakespeare’s much loved drama HAMLET, directed by Kristin Horton, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 18th century comedy about English aristocracy, THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL, directed by Theodore Swetz. Performances take place at the open-air, Shakespearean Globe-inspired Riverside Festival Stage in Lower City Park, Iowa City, Iowa. Tickets range from $18-$40, with discounted 2-show passes available, Family Nights and group ticket deals. For tickets and information, call 319-338-7672 or visit

About Riverside Theatre in the Park
Riverside Theatre has a regular spring-fall season on Gilbert Street in Iowa City, but each summer two classic shows are presented in June and July at the beautiful Riverside Festival Stage in Lower City Park, Iowa City, Iowa. This is the 14th season of summer classics. Originally the summer season was called Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival, but the name change in 2011 to Riverside Theatre in the Park (abbreviated RTP) reflects the varied offerings, now not exclusively Shakespeare, though one Shakespeare piece has been produced each year. Actors and crew are made up of local and national professional actors and production team members, plus an apprentice company, who make Iowa City their home during the RTP rehearsal and performance period.

The Riverside Festival Stage is inspired by the Shakespearean Globe Theatre. It is an open-air theatre, seats 472 people and is set against a bluff, adjacent to a willow-ringed reflecting pond. The concessions stand opens 90 minutes before each show and offers a variety of treats and drinks. One hour before each performance is a free Green Show, a short, fun version of the upcoming performance performed by the RTP apprentice actors. The Green Show takes place on the lawn near the festival stage. For more information about the stage, concessions, accessibility, parking, weather policy, etc., visit

Shakespeare’s stage play, HAMLET, written between 1599 and 1601, remains today one of the most popular of his great works. Mystery, family, politics and love are explosively combined in the play, erupting into a wild, unforgettable climax. The story of HAMLET revolves around the young Prince Hamlet who has returned from his travels to the Danish royal castle Elsinore to find his father, the King, dead, and his mother remarried to his uncle, his father’s brother, Claudius. Soon, Hamlet is approached by a ghost claiming to be the spirit of his father. The ghost tells Hamlet that Claudius murdered him in order to usurp the throne and asks his son to avenge his death. Hamlet is shocked at this encounter and, not knowing whether his grief caused him to imagine the apparition, or if the ghost is real, Hamlet creates a plan. He feigns madness to buy time while he investigates the ghost’s claim at the castle. Hamlet’s love interest, Ophelia, suffers in the wake of Hamlet’s real or imagined madness, becoming an important tragic female figure in the play, performed this summer by Eliza Stoughton. Christopher Peltier returns to Riverside Theatre in the Park to play Hamlet. In past seasons he performed in the TWO GENTLEMAN OF VERONA and played Richard in AH WILDERNESS!

Kristin Horton also returns to RTP from New York to direct this production. Ms. Horton holds an MFA from the University of Iowa and teaches at New York University.

The production design team for HAMLET is: lighting designer David Thayer, scenic designer Shelly Ford, costume designer, Lindsay Davis and sound designer, Brianna Atwood.

Written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL was first performed in London in 1777 to rave reviews. Sheridan, born in Ireland but raised in England, is best known for his popular comedy of manners, THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL. A comedy of manners, a form sometimes called Restoration comedy, was popular after the Restoration of the English monarchy, approximately 1660–85. In the late 18th century the form was revived. It is a witty form of dramatic comedy that often satirizes manners, affectations and social customs of a contemporary society. The plot usually concerns an illicit love affair or other scandalous matters. Brinsley’s play, true to form, contains many humorous subplots about both love and money.

The story of ‘Scandal’ concerns the social circle of Sir Peter Teazle, a middle-aged aristocrat, and his new wife, a beautiful young woman from the country. Affairs, jealousy and greed are swirling around Sir Peter Teazle, who is blind to these moral disruptions. However, Sir Oliver Surface, uncle and benefactor to multiple members of the social circle returns from his travels and, hearing of this behavior, disguises himself to root out the good seeds from the bad.

Director Theodore Swetz says of the play, “Sheridan’s writing is a response to the Restoration Age where, in absolutely all plays written, the biggest bastard always wins the day. However, with Sheridan the tables are turned; his plays reveal a world where true love and goodness is celebrated while vice and hypocrisy go down in defeat.”

Mr. Swetz returns to Riverside Theatre in the Park. Past RTP directing credits include Love Labuour’s Lost, Ah Wilderness! and As You Like It. Mr. Swetz currently serves as head of acting at the University of Missouri-KC, MFA program. The SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL production design team is: lighting designer David Thayer, scenic designer Shelly Ford and costume designer, Lauren Roark. Music was composed by Matthew Janszen.

Both plays this year will have costumes created in styles true to those of the story’s respective period, HAMLET in Elizabethan style, and THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL, in 18th century London fashion.

Lauren Roark, costume designer for THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL secured an opportunity to travel to Hong Kong and work with a high-level, entertainment costume production shop. The creation of men’s jackets require highly specialized skills and she was able to work with producers on complex costume jackets. Lauren chose the materials and planned the designs, returning to Iowa with the first ‘School for Scandal’ costume pieces. She is now working on the elaborate dresses and remainder of the costume pieces with skilled professionals from the Riverside Theatre in the Park team.

Lindsay W. Davis is designing HAMLET. This is his fourth season with Riverside Theatre in the Park, and his rich costume experience brings incredible designs to the stage. Mr. Davis is a Harvard graduate and is currently a tenured faculty member at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He has designed for 14 Academy Award winners including Kevin Klein, Helen Hunt, Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino, Elizabeth Perkins, Laura Linney, F Murray Abraham, and Marcia Gay Hardin. He has designed 13 productions at the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park. He designed the original production of the Tony Award-winning Best Musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood and won the NY Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critic’s Circle Award for his work. Other awards include the LA Drama Critics Award (twice), the SF Bay Area Critics Award (twice), and The South Florida Critic’s Award.

June 14- July 7, 2013

HAMLET by William Shakespeare
Directed by Kristin Horton

Friday, June 14 8:00PM
Saturday, June 15, 8:00PM
Sunday, June 16, 7:00PM
Tuesday, June 25, 7:00PM
Wednesday, June 26, 8:00PM
Friday, June 28, 8:00PM
Sunday, June 30, 7:00PM
Wednesday, July 3, 8:00PM
Saturday, July 6, 8:00PM

THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL by Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Directed by Theodore Swetz

Friday, June 21, 8:00PM
Saturday, June 22, 8:00PM
Sunday, June 23, 7:00PM
Thursday, June 27, 8:00PM
Saturday, June 29, 8:00PM
Tuesday, July 2, 7:00PM
Friday, July 5, 7:00PM
Sunday, July 7, 7:00PM"

(Source: Riverside Theatre Press Release)

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