Whatever Happened to Shakespeare in the Park?

shakespeare-park-twelfth-night-2007-2.jpgOne of my favorite fall cultural events was Shakespeare in the Park.  Whatever happened to it?

Despite persistent and annoying commentary, the Valley has plenty of cultural events and institutions, and even some events that qualify as institutions (see: Boulder City’s Art in the Park, in its 53rd year, and the 42nd annual Greek Food Festival, which both happened last weekend).

So, wherefore art thou, oh, Shakespeare in the Park? Well, as Willie himself penned, My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart concealing it will break! And broken my heart is. Launched in 1986 by the Arts Council of Henderson, our Shakespeare in the Park was a free and wildly popular affair during its 15-year run at Henderson’s Foxridge Park. The play wasn’t the only thing, as fans packed the place hours before curtain time for picnics and a green show staged by the Green Valley High School theater and music departments.

But after 2001, the event underwent leadership and venue changes that slowly unraveled its popularity. Later, it was taken over by the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company. That troupe did a good job of revitalizing the event, and had intended to occupy a renovated Reed Whipple Center in Downtown’s Cultural Corridor. Sadly, that idea was abandoned. Now the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company intends to reappear in 2018 at a new Clark County Theater Center adjacent to Town Square.

If Shakespeare in the Mall doesn’t quite carry the same appeal, never fear: You can drown your sorrows in a leather mug full of mead at the 22nd annual Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival, October 9-11. That is about as close as we’ll get to Shakespeare in the Park, at least for now.

What’s all this hype about the Fremont Cannon, and why should I care?

Well, unless you are (a) a student or graduate of UNLV or UNR, (b) a college football fan, or (c) have been living in Las Vegas longer than 25 years or so, you probably wouldn’t know or care. Until Oct. 3, that is, when UNLV’s football team took back the in-state trophy (a Howitzer replica) and brought it home for a red paint job. While UNR holds a 24-17 lead in the rivalry, UNLV can take comfort in knowing that the snobby school up north receives a disproportionate amount of its state funding from taxes generated down here. Boom!

Questions? AskaNative@VegasSeven.com.

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