Lakeside Shakespeare festival widens fare

The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, which attracted 30,000 patrons last year, is angling to top that this summer with an expanded bill of fare.

That was the message of Rae W. Matthews, who spoke on behalf of the Sand Harbor State Park-based festival during a Carson City Rotary Club luncheon meeting Tuesday.

“For the first time in six years, we’re expanding our season,” she said. Among the various options presented outdoors at lakeside are the two main performance events on an alternating basis, rather than just one as in recent years. They will include William Shakespeare’s classic “Romeo and Juliet,” and “The Fantasticks,” touted as the world’s longest running musical.

Matthews told Rotarians the musical is a bit like a modern Romeo and Juliet in that it involves a romantic young couple and feuding fathers; a festival website synopsis said it’s about love found, lost and then rediscovered. Book and lyrics are by Tom Jones with music by Harvey Schmidt.

“We’re really excited to have this musical,” Matthews said, noting it should broaden the festival scope and attract an audience with different tastes while entertaining regular patrons.

Matthews said festival surveys of last year’s 30,000 patrons showed half were tourists, half local. She said two-thirds of those attending the summer of 2014 were female and 83 percent said they had college degrees.

Matthews also touted for her Rotary audience the festival’s Monday night showcase opportunities,

The Reno Philharmonic Orchestra will do a “Broadway on the Beach” performance Monday, July 20; Sierra Nevada Ballet a week later will perform “Romeo and Juliet: The Ballet,” and on Aug. 3 Mindi Abair, saxophonist and vocalist, will be performing. Tahoe Family Solutions presents “Miracle in the Andes” with Nando Perrado on Aug. 10, and the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra returns Aug. 17 for “Beatles on the Beach.”

Summer encore showcase events include InnerRhythms “Midsummer Nightmare: Xistence” on Aug. 28, Reno Jazz Orchestra with “Perfectly Frank,” a Sinatra retrospective featuring Bobby Caldwell on Sept. 5, and Trails & Vistas performing “World Concert: A Peace Project of Truckee Tahoe” on Sept. 12.

Matthews said discounts of various types are available, targeting group rate opportunities for organizations like Rotary, and added there also is a youth presentation in the festival mix.

“Then, of course, we have our Young Shakespeare Program,” she said. Appropriately, the performance is an adaptation for young thespians to do a version of Romeo and Juliet.


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