2011 Festival bite-sized Fan Fare - including a Show and Cast Overview!:    
 
THE BIG NEWS: BACK TO 2 WEEKENDS AND REPERTORY!  Fie on our devastating floods of 2010, a down economy, and the remarkable professional challenges of producing true Repertory!  Despite these notable challenges, in 2011, the ISE returns to producing in a style rare for area theatres: we’ll resume our 2009 achievement of producing 2 shows in back-to-back Repertory – Huzzah!  AND we’ll return to our 2009 schedule of performing across two full weekends- summer in Des Moines has never looked better!   
 
THE EVEN-BIGGER NEWS: AN ADDITIONAL FEST SERIES!  Did we say Fie on floods and the economy?  Drum-roll please:  due to a rare opportunity, ISE is postponing Romeo and Juliet to 2012 - - and instead (cue the Trumpet), despite the floods and the economy, in 2011 we will race into an even fuller implementation of our mission. Did you knowthat the great majority (about 70%) of America's Shakespeare Festivals produce the works ofother classic authors, in addition to the Bard?    Well,  in 2011, following the standards of those premiere Shakespeare Festivals nationwide which showcase multiple classic playwrights along with The Bard, we’ll add a brand-new series to our “Shakespeare Under-the-Stars” line.  We’ll kick off a “Classics Along the Cityscape” series of extraordinary timeless treats by NON Shakespearean authors.  As always with the ISE, both series are lushly underscored with live music and sizzling dance.     As New York Shakespeare Festival (The Public) Director Barry Edelstein says: “in times like today, when things are turbulent or unsettled ...people want to turn to wise men and women whose stories can shed light on the way we act”.  The two 2011 ISE shows will both have tie-ins to turbulent times, especially our Mark Twain show, which catches Mr. Twain during one of the most difficult, financially ruinous periods of his life - showing the pathos as well as the humor it takes to weather such storms!   
 
2011 DATES:  Mark the Last Two Weeks in July!  Fridays-Mondays PLUS INDOOR Rain and Traveling Bonus Shows) July 22-July 31.  Additional shows as posted, too.
 
2011 SHOWS:  2 Great Romantic Comedies in true Repertory:
SHOW A: Shakespeare Under-the-Stars: The Regina Monologues; The Royal Queens and Kings of Shakespeare! 
July 23, 25 and 31 at 8:15 pm on the Mainstage.  
Bubble…bubble… and magical Trouble!  Its quite the Midsummer’s eve when those famous witches from Macbeth conjure up a real royal Mystery!  Two royal Regents who figured greatly in Shakespeare’s life,  Queen Elizabeth and Queen Cleopatra, are spirited right into our midst to share wit, wisdom and the War between the Sexes... while ferreting out the witches' deepest secret. They and a surprise cast of famed historical legends will relish, explore and illuminate the Bard’s greatest romantic and comedic tales - just as you remember them!  And, just as the Bard himself did, we'll make our shows come bursting to life with terrific live music and scintillating dance!  Lush Elizabethan and other Period Costumes and special effects. Comedy, Tragedy and Romance all in one night.  Replete with rich, “secret” insider treats for Bard lovers --while a simply perfect introduction for newcomers!  Professional sound and lighting creates a wide array of simply magical moods - from completely traditional Shakespeare vignettes to cutting edge "world-class" treatments - - all presented in the context of a full original play -- an exciting "all-in-one" package completely FREE to enjoy while relaxing by the riverside -under the summer moon. FEATURING SCENES FROM:  As You Like It, Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, The Winter's Tale, and more!  
 
CHECK OUT WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY:
 
 NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 2011: "Original music (is) a key feature of many New York Shakespeare Festival productions and scores (have been) commissioned from an eclectic mix of composers, who straddled the worlds of serious and popular music. (New York Shakespeare) also (has) sponsored many productions that updated (and put)...a contemporary spin on classic works"
 

William Lowry, M.Lit; re a Des Moines 2008 production of Regina Monologues:"This is exactly the kind of show we always loved and routinely saw in New York-  and have been missing in Des Moines. Sophisticated and intriguing fresh fun instead of a tired hackney cliche of the Bard. I am thrilled to see work of this caliber now appearing here in Des Moines.  Who says Des Moines is hidebound! Can't wait to bring our out-of-town friends to this amazing play."

SHOW B: Classics Along-the-Cityscape: Mark TWAIN-ment Tonite!  July 22 & 24 on the Mainstage.  Traveling shows July 29  & 30.  8:15 pm. No doubt about it- as the New York Times says, that rascal Twain is just flat-out cool, cool, COOL.  AND ALSO a HOT cultural topic just now.  But this is that Funster Rogue as you’ve never before seen him– you’ll find new twists on old favorites plus a chance to relish VERY RARE Twain romantic works.  This is also a very timely story- Mark Twain survived periods of near-total financial ruin and deep personal tragedy (the death of two of his three beloved daughters.)  So he is no stranger to our current hard times, but brings the wit and wisdom we all need to overcome them. We’re reprising this hit original play (first produced at Terrace Hill) that captivates everyone from families to the intellectual intelligentsia.  BE THERE when America’s own Bard makes this lively, insightful appearance on our own Riverbank --in an unusual line-up complete with Twain's lovely wife, beautiful daughters, erudite publisher friend ...and a terrific musical entourage!  An unforgettable summer night of timeless wit that sails across the entire extravagant spectrum of human endeavor and desires!  --- FEATURING SCENES FROM: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, The Prince and the Pauper, Extracts from Adam's Diary, Eve's Diary, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Mark Twain letters and essays.
 
CHECK OUT WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:
The New York Times 6/19/10:  Mark Twain “ was cool, let’s face it”…  “A smash hit on bestseller lists!” “One of our greatest writers.” “Mark Twain just makes you feel good!”
Mike Morrain, Des Moines Register 6/17/08:  “The original script (about a wise guy) is the result of more than a year of research by local playwright Lorenzo Sandoval, another wise guy, who pulled together scenes from Twain’s short stories, essays and novels. …The kind of show that makes you wish your life involved more picnics with linen napkins…  Even the one-liners are polished.”
 
A STAR-STUDDED CAST!  True to our aim to feature an intriguing, ALWAYS-FRESH mix of fan favorites plus tantalizing newcomers, 2011 fairly bursts with a terrific lineup of talent!  [PHOTO 2010:  See 'em at ISE first- here, John Spinks has already moved onto New York, while Heather MacLennan continues to win many awards!] As usual, we’ve drawn shimmering local favorite leads to a whirl on the Shakesperience stage.  This year, the Metro's inimitable songstress stage starPreshia Paulding and one of the area’s most intelligent and witty interpreters of character,Mike Davenport, make their inaugural Festival appearances.  They will join ISE’s belovedJohn Zickefoose, formerly of New York where his one-man show ran for many years.  John returns to Heinemann-Sandoval Productions for an incredible 17th consequtive show!  Multiply-lauded (and Screen Actors Guild member) former L.A. actress Jami Bassman returns to our stage in what in her skilled hands, just might be a role of a lifetime.  Uber-sexy Matt Wiggins of Heavy Metal fame (who also happens to be a former Naval officer) is back by unmistakable popular demand!  Beautiful young actresses like the fresh Samantha Tucker and Janae Hohbein (The Playhouse’s Cinderella!) and Holly Fusco (a Luther College musical theatre major who has performed in 100s of cities all across Iowa with Celebration Iowa and in such roles as "Dorothy" in the Wizard of Oz) meet up with last year’s stunning charmer: the multi-talented Tiffany Flory – a singing, dancing and acting dynamo (also a Celebration Iowa alumn) who is pursuing her MFA in acting and has been a Des Moines Playhouse fixture.  MFA candidate Torii Grabowski rounds out the line up with a storytelling appearance on Family Night and in many other varied roles throughout!
And, speaking of dance, for a 6th consecutive season, the lovely Karina Barone brings her internationally-known ballet talent to our stage in our ongoing collaborations with a wide variety of area ballet schools. Karina has danced on stage with Boy George, Gloria Stephan, and in Andrew Lloyd Weber productions in London, among many many other international credits.  Also, watch for guest appearances by television star Morgan Halgren, and by returning radio, stage and operatic hit, Hollis Monroe.  To cap it all off, our own Lorenzo Sandoval reprises his award-winning, featured 2008 Terrace Hill role as America’s Bard, Mr. Mark Twain.     THE MUSICIANS gracing the 2011 Festival are just as star-spangled as is our cast!  Featured on Iowa Public Television and opening act for the likes of Jerry Jeff WalkerLeon Redbone and Lyle LovettRob Lumbard  is a master of multiple different instruments and an original singer-songwriter who headlines our Twain show. Dwight Deason and Frank Cebuhar, two of the Metro's most versatile musicians and members of the lauded Hot Club of Des Moines provide a rich diversity of musical styles for The Regina Monologues.  And, the revered Belin String Quartet, our Prairie Meadows Family Night pre-show concert act,ensure the classical sparkle sparks!  The Social Groove Drummers will again drum in that ancient Elizabethan magic.   In addition, to really put a clincher on Festival 2011, our long-time musical director -one of the Metro's true reigning musical QUEENS- returns for a series of 3 pre-show concerts, as the legendary Tina Haase Findlay and Friends presents The Regina Melodies at 7pm before all our Regina shows! All of these great Festival events will teach our “torches to burn bright”, indeed! Sooooo... Come down to relax on the Riverside on the last two weekends of July for “The Best Night of Summer!”     
 

PRESS BITS FROM 2011:

About 230 words:

Summer’s beloved iconic Bards from history each come alive along Des Moines’ own river when the 2011 FREE “Shakesperience™ Festival” returns downtown to Simon Estes Amphitheater (and other designated stages) with an expanded line-up of not just one, but two romantic comedies.  The music-spangled Mark TWAINment Tonight!”kicks off the Festival’s NEW “Classics Along-the-Riverside” series, featuring fresh twists on favorite stories as America’s own Bard, Mr. Mark Twain - - along with his wife, spirited daughters and the music of Rob Lumbard - -offer up a rousing celebration of famous American lore complete with rare Twain romantic works.  Next, the Festival’s “Shakespeare-Under-the-Stars” series returns to entice those new to Shakespeare as well as expert fans with fresh insights into some of the most famous scenes ever penned by England’s Bard, as Shakespeare’s enchanting best stories are explored in “The Regina Monologues; the Royal Queens and Kings of Shakespeare”. Organizers invite you to treat yourself to “all the classics you remember- told so freshly you’ll never forget!” Lush period costumes and rich special effects. Gates open at 6:00 pm for nightly pre-show concerts and picnics  (candlelabras welcome!) 8:15 Curtain.  For schedule of shows,  Director’s Talks, Family night, nightly pre-show concerts, and parties:  visit www.IowaShakespeare.org.   Fridays-Mondays, July 22-31.  FREE, but reserved seats and private tents are available to purchase at Midwestix.com. Nightly indoor rain locations, gourmet food vendors, wine garden (or bring your own!).

 

About 190 Words:

Two beloved iconic Bards of summer each take center stage when Des Moines’ 2011 FREE “Shakesperience™ Festival” returns downtown to riverside Simon Estes Amphitheater (and other designated stages) with an expanded line-up.  The romantic comedy Mark TWAINment Tonight!”kicks off the Festival’s new “Classics Along-the-Riverside” series, featuring fresh twists on favorite stories as Mark Twain’s wife, spirited daughters and the music of Rob Lumbard join America’s Bard in a rousing celebration of American lore.  And, the original “Shakespeare-Under-the-Stars” series returns to entice those new to Shakespeare as well as expert fans with fresh insights into some of the most famous scenes ever penned by England’s Bard, as Shakespeare’s best works are explored in The Regina Monologues; the Royal Queens and Kings of Shakespeare”. Organizers invite you to treat yourself to “all the classics you remember- told so freshly you’ll never forget!” Lush period costumes and special effects. Gates open at 6:00 pm for nightly pre-show concerts and picnics  (wine and candlelabras welcome!) 8:15 Curtain.  For schedule of shows,  Director’s Talks, Family night, nightly concerts, parties and rain locations:  visit www.IowaShakespeare.org.   Fridays-Mondays, July 22-31. FREE, but reserved seats and private tents are available to purchase at Midwestix.com.

About 170 Words:

Summer’s iconic Bards from both England and America take center stage when Des Moines’ 2011 FREE “Shakesperience™ Festival” returns downtown to riverside Simon Estes Amphitheater (and other suburban parks) with an expanded line-up. NEW in 2011, a “Classics Along-the-Riverside” series features the music of Rob Lumbard in the romantic comedy “Mark TWAINment Tonight!” -while the original “Shakespeare-Under-the-Stars” series offers some of Shakespeare’s most famous scenes in “The Regina Monologues; the Royal Queens and Kings of Shakespeare”.  Newcomers and expert fans alike will discover fascinating insights into time-tested stories, as the work of top actors is richly underscored with live music and dance.  Lush period costumes and special effects. Organizers invite you to treat yourself to “all the classics you remember- told so freshly you’ll never forget!” Gates open at 6:00 pm for nightly pre-show concerts and picnics  (wine and candlelabras welcome!) 8:15 Curtain.  For show schedule,  Director’s Talks, Family night, nightly concerts, parties and rain locations:  visit www.IowaShakespeare.org.   Fridays-Mondays. July 22-31. FREE, but reserved seats and private tents are available to purchase at Midwestix.com.

 

About 130 words:

Downtown Des Moines’ FREE 2011 “Shakesperience™ Festival” returns to riverside Simon Estes Amphitheater and travels to suburban parks with an expanded line-up. NEW in 2011, a “Classics Along-the-Riverside” series features “Mark TWAINment Tonight!”, while the original “Shakespeare-Under-the-Stars” series offers “The Regina Monologues; the Royal Queens and Kings of Shakespeare”.  Plays feature top local actors and are richly underscored with live music and dance.  Lush period costumes and special effects. Organizers invite you to treat yourself to “all the classics you remember- told so freshly you’ll never forget!” Gates open at 6:00 pm for nightly pre-show concerts and picnics  (wine and candlelabras welcome!) 8:15 Curtain.  For show schedule,  Director’s Talks, Family night, nightly concerts, parties and rain locations:  visit www.IowaShakespeare.org.   Fridays-Mondays. July 22-31. FREE, but reserved seats and private tents are available to purchase at Midwestix.com.

 

About 120 words:

Des Moines’ FREE “Shakesperience™ Festival” returns, bringing an expanded line-up of FREE professional outdoor theatre to riverside Simon Estes Amphitheater downtown  and traveling to other suburban parks. NEW in 2011, a “Classics Along-the-Cityscape” series joins the original “Shakespeare-Under-the-Stars”.  Shows in both series feature top local actors, lush period costumes, and are richly underscored with live music, dance and special effects.  Organizers invite you to treat yourself to “all the classics you remember- told so freshly you’ll never forget!” Gates open at 6:00 pm for nightly pre-show concerts and picnics  (wine and candlelabras welcome!) 8:15 Curtain.  For show schedule,  Director’s Talks, Family night, nightly concerts, parties and rain locations:  visit www.IowaShakespeare.org.  Fridays-Mondays, July 22-31.  FREE, but reserved seats and private tents are available to purchase at Midwestix.com.