Swords and Shakespeare

BUFFALO, NY (CW23) – Every Summer Shakespeare in Delaware Park offers some amazing theatre to Western New Yorkers. The 2013 season opens with one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, Hamlet. Join us for a sneak peak of the upcoming performance and as we find out what this season has to offer.


Swords and Shakespeare

Falls native Shaun Sheley stars in Shakespeare in the Park’s ‘Hamlet’

June 13, 2013

Falls native Shaun Sheley stars in Shakespeare in the Park’s ‘Hamlet’


By Michele DeLuca Night & Day


Night & Day — Nobody produces “Hamlet” unless they already have an actor in mind to star in the challenging Shakespearian production.

That’s according to Saul Elkin, founder of Buffalo’s Shakespeare in the Park, who, when he decided to produce “Hamlet” as his opening play this summer, knew just who he wanted in the title role — Niagara Falls native Shaun Sheley.

“The only reason to do ‘Hamlet’ is if you have an actor to play it,” said Elkin, an much lauded actor in his own right, who explained that Sheley has the acting skills and the physicality for the role.

“Shaun also happens to be very experienced in stage combat,” Elkin added. “There’s a fight scene at the end of the play that is really breathtaking to watch, even now in the early stages of rehearsal.”

For Sheley, a graduate from the theater department at Niagara University, who has been acting and teaching in St. Louis, Mo., coming home to take the role is an opportunity not only to see family and friends, but to play the part of a lifetime.

“Every actor wants to play Hamlet,” he said. “I’ve always been fascinated with the role. When I was at Niagara, I used to bug everybody to do ‘Hamlet.’”

One of the reasons he loves the play, he said, is that the plot is as good as any Hollywood movie.

“For me, Hamlet is a detective in this play. He’s solving a murder mystery, trying to figure out who killed his father,” Sheley said. The plot involves a prince whose murdered father appears as a ghost and says he was killed by Hamlet’s traitorous uncle, Claudius, who becomes king and forces Hamlet’s mother into marriage.

The role shapes the actor more than the actor shapes the role, Sheley noted. “People say you can come in with all your plans about Hamlet, but eventually the character is going to take you,” he said. “He’s going to mold you to him, you’re going to go on this wonderful ride in this imaginary journey, its’ been fun so far.”

Sheley has appeared in a variety of local productions, including for the Irish Classical Theater and at Artpark. But, with four years of performances at Shakespeare in the Park, the role feels like a homecoming after ten years away.

The free park productions, which run at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays throughout the summer on Shakespeare Hill, near the Rose Garden in Delaware Park, are designed to make classical theater accessible and to encourage families to come with children, Elkin said. People bring chairs and food and often let kids fall asleep in sleeping bags as they watch the productions.

“Someone once said to me that Shakespeare in the Park is like a huge community picnic where a play is going on,” said Elkin, who founded the company, now second largest free Shakespeare production in the country, about 38 years ago.  He said he’s particularly looking forward to this season as his daughter, Rebecca Elkin-Young, is coming back to Buffalo to play Ophelia. The production also stars Buffalo actor Tim Newell as Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle.

While Elkin’s has produced “Hamlet” five times, including a rock and roll version, this production of “Hamlet” is very traditional, he said. A second play this season “Measure for Measure,” however, will receive a makeover. That 17th century play, about a duke who goes undercover to understand why his subjects seem to have lost their morals, will be transformed into a 1920s Western theme, featuring a sheriff who goes undercover to find out why his town has gone wild. “This production is going to introduce some old familiar Western songs,” Elkin promised.

“Measure for Measure” runs July 25 through Aug. 18.


IF YOU GO • WHAT: Shakespeare in the Park • WHERE: Delaware Park, Buffalo on Shakespeare Hill near the Albright-Knox Art Gallery • WHAT: Free production of “Hamlet” starring Niagara Falls native Shaun Sheley • WHEN: Opening at 7:30 p.m. June 20 through July 14, Tues. through Sun. • MORE INFO: Bring blankets or lawn chairs. Street parking only. For more information visit

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Photo courtesy of Chris Scinta: Niagara Falls native Shaun Sheeley will play Hamlet to Tim Newell’s Claudius in Shakespeare in the Park’s production of “Hamlet” this summer, opening June 20 in Delaware Park in Buffalo.

7th Annual Fall Fundraiser TITUS ANDRONICUS: A Staged Reading



TITUS ANDRONICUS a staged reading


October 12, 2012 Buffalo, NY…Shakespeare in Delaware Park (SDP) is pleased to announce its 7th Annual Fall Fundraiser, a staged reading of William Shakespeare’s TITUS ANDRONICUS, adapted and directed by Anthony Chase and sponsored by LPCimminelli.


Join Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s all- star cast, including SDP founder and artistic director Saul Elkin, Adriano Gatto, Susan Drozd, Lisa Vitrano, Greg Howze, Jeffrey Coyle, Peter Palmisano, Lisa Ludwig and a host of other familiar theatre favorites. Titus Andronicus is thought to be Shakespeare’s first tragedy and is certainly known as his bloodiest play.


This fictional story of Roman army General, Titus, is set during the latter days of the Roman Empire. The play highlights Shakespeare’s’ attempt to emulate the violent and bloody revenge plays of his contemporaries, which were extremely popular with sixteenth century audiences.  SDP has never produced this tragedy on the main stage and is happy to continue this yearly fundraising event of providing a staged reading of the Bard’s rarely produced work for all to hear and enjoy.


This special benefit performance for Shakespeare in DelawareParkwill take place on Sunday, November 4th at the Buffalo Seminary. The evening will begin at 6 pm with pre-show entertainment, hors d’oeuvres by Rich’s Renaissance Catering and wine tasting provided by Leonard Oakes Winery.  The TITUS ANDRONICUS reading will begin at 7pm with dessert and coffee served at intermission,


Tickets for TITUS ANDRONICUS (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 37TH 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, Leonard Oakes Winery, the Buffalo Seminary and Phillips Lytle LLP.  Seating is limited.   Reserve your tickets before November 1st by calling 856-4533 or visit Shakespeare in Delaware Park on the web at

Shakespearience Intern Performance: Friday August 17th! DR. PROSPERO’S SHAKESPEARE SHOW

SHAKESPEARIENCE, (Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s high school intern program) will be holding a performance on Friday August 17, 2012 at 6 pm, prior to Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s main stage performance of A MID SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM which will begin at 7:30pm.

Join us for Dr. Prospero’s Shakespeare Show.  It’s a world of play for Dr. Prospero, especially when a runaway couple unwittingly stumbles upon his Shakespearean retreat. Jon and Julie are in search of a phone; instead, they find the antics of Ariel, the whims of Prospero and the wordplay of Will. One tempestuous night in this enchanted abode and the twosome will never be the same. With a beguiling, and somewhat frightening, cast of characters including Caliban, Constance, Coriolanus, Mercutio, the MacBs, and that shrew Kate, Dr. Prospero’s Shakespeare Show brings out the Bard in everyone.

Shakespearience is truly a collaborative process. Lead teacher (Katie Mallinson) and 7 area students have worked together to write  the script, develop the concept and perfect their Shakespearian characters.  This educational experience promises to be  fun filled and entertaining for the entire audience. 

The Shakespearience Program is open to all area high school students and is designed to provide in-depth theatrical experience with theatre professionals.  Each session runs for five weeks, beginning the week prior to regularly schedule professional Shakespeare in Delaware Park performances. In addition to attending classes, students gain hands-on experience in a professional production as part of SDP technical crew.

All performances are FREE of charge.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park is now in its 37th Season of FREE Shakespeare. A MID SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM runs nightly at 7:30pm until August 19th.    Shows take place on Shakespeare Hill inDelaware Park, next to Hoyt Lake behind the Rose Garden, off Lincoln Parkway near the Albright-Knox ArtGallery. Further information may be obtained at or by calling (716) 856-4533.

SHAKESPEARE IN DELAWARE PARKS announces upcoming Special Events

Shakespeare In Delaware Parks (SDP) RICHARD III hit the stage last Thursday to a packed hill.  Be a part of the excitement this summer as we celebrate 37 years of FREE theatre in Buffalo’s own, beautiful Olmsted Park.  RICHARD III will run Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30 until July 14th.  Then the ever popular A MID SUMMER NIGHTS DREAM will begin on Thursday July 26th and run until August 19th.

SDP is also proud to announce many special events happening at the park this season…..

* Join Artistic Director Saul Elkin, along with special guests from this season’s productions for MONDAY IN THE PARK WITH SAUL.  These informal conversations about our current plays, past productions and the future of SDP, will take place on our “off” nights –Monday July 2nd, and Monday August 6th from 7:00-8:00 PM. Bring a chair and join us on-stage.

* On Special Tuesdays local musical groups including The Freudig Singers, The Royall Consort and City Honors String Orchestra will perform pre-show music on the SDP stage at 7pm.

* The SPCA and the Whiska Wag’n will join us at the hill July 15th and August 12th.

*SHAKESPERIENCE interns will perform their special preshow production on Friday July 13th and Friday August 17th at 6pm on the main stage.


Follow us on facebook for information on many more upcoming events!


SDP 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 or by calling (716) 856-4533. Or like us on Facebook


2012 Season Sponsors Provide Generous Support

M&T Bank, Erie County, NYSCA, WGRZ Channel 2, The Buffalo News, Brodo, CP & I and Wynn Creative Group Additional funding comes from members, donors and audience donations.

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