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Tim Newell plays. Richard,Duke of Gloucester, along with Kay Kerimian, playing Lady Anne,in the first Shakespeare in Delaware Park production of the year, “Richard III.” on, Friday, June 22, 2012.
By Ted Hadley
NEWS CONTRIBUTING REVIEWER
Summer Shakespeare is back.
For the 37th time, Shakespeare in Delaware Park has returned with the first of two plays by the Bard of Avon along the shores of Hoyt Lake, where canoes glide and gulls swoop; a great blue heron visited on opening night. Peaceful. Serene. Idyllic.
Well, at least until actor Tim Newell begins to recite the famous first lines of “Richard III,” a history tale from Shakespeare’s dark side: “Now is the winter of our discontent,” he sardonically tells his audience confidants, an ominous start to his bloody narration of his trail to the British throne. His villainy begins at once. The body count rises rapidly.
In Shakespeare’s version of the story, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was born in 1452 — “unfinished,” he admits—with several physical handicaps: a withered arm, a gimpy leg, a hunchback. “Sent into this world half-made up,” he laments. Dogs bark at him. When his evil plans are gradually discovered, Richard is called “a bottled spider,” “an elfish, marked, abortive, rooting hog” and “a foul lump of deformity.” And those insults were from kin.
As Newell’s malignant Richard lopes about, he discloses to everyone what he’s going to do next. His favorite word is “dispatch.” His brothers, his nephews — princes, heirs, they could be a problem — his allies Hastings and Buckingham, are dispatched in rapid fashion. Richard, off-center funny, self-deprecating, can be strangely appealing. His sister-in-law, Lady Anne, widowed now thanks to him, is wooed over her dead husband’s coffin. “I’ll have her,” says the cackling one, “but not for long.” Next?
Richard finds that it’s good to be the king but uneasy lies the crown, so the saying goes. A challenger, the Earl of Richmond (later Henry VII), defeats Richard’s forces on Bosworth Field. He slays the “poisonous toad” after a fierce battle brilliantly staged, aided by Chris Cavanagh’s superb lighting design. “A horse!A horse!My kingdom for a horse!” Richard famously utters at the last. Peace is restored.
Director Saul Elkin has assembled a cast of 25, some familiar summer Shakespearians mixing with new faces, returnees and a surprise or two. All are able. Newell is a splendid Richard, emphasizing a warped mind rather than his twisted body (Elizabethans thought the two were inseparable). He’s very fine early on as the organizer of his awful deeds and later as a participant. He’s almost likable. Newell seems to have a knack for villainy: Years back, he brought plenty of menace to the role of Iago in SDP’s summer “Othello.”
Worthy in soliloquy and among the throng are Robert Rutland, oily and precise as Buckingham; Lisa Vitrano as mad Lady Margaret; David Lundy as Lord Hastings; Jacob Mirer as Clarence; Eileen Dugan as Queen Elizabeth; Kay Kerimian as Lady Anne; Jay Desiderio, long absent from local stages, as the Archbishop of York; Nicholas Lama as good guy Lord Rivers; and Adam Roth as a shouting Richmond. There is competent work by an ensemble playing multiple roles.
Director Elkin has found parallels in “Richard III” with corporate greed and power grabs—Wall Street, Madison Avenue, the halls of government — so backstabbing, disloyal guys in suits, a la television’s “Mad Men” series, are numerous. Costumes have been designed by Donna Massimo. The modern-day garb doesn’t add to the overall production; neither does it hurt. Just a little Shakespearian tweaking.
“Richard III” is long and involved. Director Elkin, after some innovative but sleepwalking opening moments, speeds the many comings and goings along the best he can on a drab monolithic set by Nathan Elsener. Steve Vaughn’s fight choreography is again stellar, and there is admirable work by a huge technical crew.
The SDP short season is dedicated this year to the late Western New York theater community icon Neil Garvey. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will follow “Richard III” from July 26 to Aug. 19.
3 1/2 stars
Presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays through July 15 by Shakespeare in Delaware Park, Shakespeare Hill, behind the Rose Garden and Marcy Casino. Free. Call 856-4533 or visitwww.shakespeareindelawarepark.org .
June 7, 2012 Buffalo, NY … Shakespeare in Delaware Park is pleased to announce its 37th season of free professional outdoor theater will begin in 2 weeks. This summer’s highly anticipated season will begin June 21st when Shakespeare’s political thriller RICHARD III hits the stage; it is an exciting story of greed, intrigue and family betrayal and will be performed with a modern flare. Tim Newell will play the title role of Shakespeare’s most famous villain and will be directed by SDP founder Saul Elkin. A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM will be up next, opening July 26th. Director Kyle Loconti promises to give audiences a magical evening under the stars with this audience favorite. This production offers something for everyone, from mischievous fairies to loveable clowns, from high-brow intrigue to low-brow shenanigans.
Also join us for Monday In The Park With Saul on July 2 and August 6 from 7 to 8pm, as founder and Artistic Director Saul Elkin, production directors and some of our actors host an informal chat about our current season, past history and the future of SDP. Bring a lawn chair and join us on stage.
Shakespeare in Delaware Park reaches over 40,000 audience members each season and is pleased to be celebrating 37 amazing years of high-quality professional theatre. SDP is proud to remain as one of the largest FREE outdoor Shakespeare festivals in the county. RICHARD III runs June 21st – July 15th with A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM on stage July 26th –August 19th. Performances are held every evening (except Mondays) at 7:30 p.m. Shows take place on Shakespeare Hill in Delaware Park, next to Hoyt Lake behind the Rose Garden, off Lincoln Parkwaynear the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Further information may be obtained at www.shakespeareindelawarepark.
Season Sponsors Provide Generous Support
2012 Season Sponsors include M&T Bank, Erie County, New York State Council on the Arts, The Buffalo News, WGRZ Channel 2, CP&I and Wynn Creative Group. Additional funding comes from members, donors and audience donations.
By MIKE DESMOND
In five weeks Shakespeare in Delaware Park will open with Richard III, the playwright’s legendary look at power corruption and violence in medieval England.
In the lead role, Tim Newell will travel the stage at the bottom of Shakespeare Hill, at least once the stage is built.
Right now, it’s a fenced-off area and the pieces of the stage are being readied for assembly.
Founder and Artistic Director Saul Elkin says his company is putting to good use the $87,000 provided by Erie County when the County Legislature amended the budget to put nearly a $1 million into cultural agencies.
When the Collins Administration cut the culturals last year, Elkin says the community quickly showed its support of the free summer festival.
“Terrific outpouring of generosity from the public,” Elkin said.
“In the hat that we pass at intermission, in the annual letter we send out asking for help, people went a step further. Almost everybody who previously donated went a step further.”
Elkin says the entire budget for Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the festival operations is $300,000.
SHAKESPEARE IN DELAWARE PARK ANNOUNCES
The 18th Annual Fabulous Feast
Saturday March 31, 2012
6pm to 10:30pm
March 2012- Buffalo, NY…Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Shakespeare in Delaware Park is pleased to announce its season fundraiser, The 18th Annual Fabulous Feast. Enjoy a scrumptious Elizabethan-style banquet with 5 courses of delicious food and drink, Saturday, March 31st from 6 to 10:30pm at Buffalo’s own medieval castle, the Connecticut Street Armory. This event always proves to be a fabulous time. Join in the fun where you’ll enjoy Shakespearean characters galore, tons of entertainment including: Clumsy the Entertainer, The Harmonia Singers , Presto Strings, dancers, sword fights and much much more! Don’t miss out on the 3 royal auctions, silent, ticket and live – with special guest auctioneer Chanel 7s own Mike Randall.
Come one, come all and help support Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s 37thSeason of FREE Shakespeare. Tickets are $65 for members, $75 for nonmembers (ticket price includes all food, drink and entertainment)
Corporate tables are available.
Shakespearean attire is encouraged but not required. Get your tickets now by calling 856-4533 or visit the website at www.shakespeareindelawarepark.
RSVP cut off date is Friday March 23rd.
Special thanks to : John Hancock Insurance the Live Auction Sponsor, Rich Products and The Buffalo News.
SHAKESPEARE IN DELAWARE PARK ANNOUNCES
6th ANNUAL FALL FUNDRAISER
KING JOHN a staged reading
October 4, 2011, Buffalo, NY…Shakespeare in Delaware Park (SDP) is pleased to announce its 6th Annual Fall Fundraiser, a staged reading of William Shakespeare’s KING JOHN, directed by Anthony Chase and sponsored by LPCiminelli.
Join Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s all- star cast, including SDP founder and artistic director Saul Elkin, Tim Newell, Eileen Dugan, Barbara Link LaRue, Adriano Gatto, Kristen Tripp-Kelley, Todd Benzin, Lisa Ludwig and a host of other familiar theatre favorites, as they tell the tale of unresolved family disputes that often end in murder. SDP has never produced this historic Shakespeare play on the main stage and is happy to continue this new yearly fundraising event of providing a reading of the Bard’s rarely produced work for all to hear and enjoy.
This special benefit performance for Shakespeare in Delaware Park will take place on Sunday, November 6th at the Buffalo Seminary. The evening will begin at 6pm with pre-show entertainment, hors d’oeuvres by Rich’s Renaissance Catering and wine tasting provided by Freedom Run Winery. The KING JOHN reading will begin at 7pm with dessert and coffee served at intermission.
Tickets for KING JOHN (a staged reading) are $50 for Shakespeare in Delaware Park members and $55 for non-members. All proceeds benefit Shakespeare in Delaware Park, just completing its 36th successful season of FREE Shakespeare. The production will take place at The Buffalo Seminary located at 205 Bidwell Parkway. Special thanks to sponsor LPCiminelli, and generous in kind donations from Rich’s Renaissance Catering, Freedom Run Winery, The Buffalo Seminary and Phillips Lytle LLP. Seating is limited. Reserve your tickets before November 2nd by calling 856-4533 or visit Shakespeare in Delaware Park on the web at www.shakespeareindelawarepark.org.