Photo by Christopher Scinta
Photo by Christopher Scinta

By: Lauren Kirchmyer

When you think of William Shakespeare, what comes to mind? “Tradition,” said Lisa Ludwig managing director and sometimes actress at Shakespeare in Delaware Park.

Though much of his work was created in the late 1500s and early 1600s, Shakespeare’s work continues to be read and discussed throughout the world today. But according to Ludwig, Shakespeare is meant to be seen and heard, not read.

“It’s one of those things people have to experience for themselves,” Ludwig explained. “People from high school are daunted by Shakespeare, but if you watch you’ll have a new understanding of it. That’s what makes it so special.”

This summer, Buffalonians will have the opportunity to experience two of Shakespeare’s more familiar works – “Romeo and Juliet” and “Twelfth Night.”

The tragedy of star-crossed lovers Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet will be performed through July 12. “It’s going really well,” Ludwig said about the performances thus far. “It’s a favorite of people because they are familiar with it. They feel they can relate to it.”

But Ludwig is especially excited the comedy “Twelfth Night” is part of the organization’s 40th summer season. “In our 40 years we never did an all-male version of a show,” she said. Back in Shakespeare’s time, only male actors performed his works, including the multiple female roles. “We thought doing an all-male version would be an exciting way to celebrate.”

Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. “There’s nothing like being outdoors in the beautiful Olmstead Park,” Ludwig said. “To look out at the stars speaking words of Shakespeare, it’s quite exhilarating. There’s nothing quite like it.”

And Ludwig finds families returning year after year. “It becomes a tradition for people. It’s like a community picnic,” she said. “Sometimes it’s someone’s first, or only, experience with theater because it’s all they can afford.”

Though the performances are free, the organization recently launched an annual campaign. At each show, spectators will have the opportunity to donate towards the $1.3 million stage that will, hopefully, go up next summer.

“We’ve had the stage for 20 years, so it’s made of things used 20 years ago such as very heavy steel,” Ludwig shared. “After years of wear and tear the pieces don’t quite fit together like they used to.”

The new stage will be easier to take down and put up, and will give the directors three different configurations to work with for each show. The campaign will also expand space for dressing rooms, concessions, on-site equipment, prop storage and more. According to the campaign’s brochure, the project will improve the overall experience for the audience, actors and crew members.

To learn more about the 40th summer season of Shakespeare in the Park or their campaign, call 856-4533 or visit

Lauren Kirchmyer is the entertainment reporter for If you have a story idea, please email her at