arts & entertainment

Shakespeare Festival Delights at the Shore

Now in its third year, the Toms River Shakespeare Festival captivated its audience this summer with its brilliant production of Measure for Measure.  Shakespeare’s comedy is about justice and the dichotomy between corruption and purity: “some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.”

Oh, how relevant this play is today!

The Toms River Shakespeare Festival was held August 7 at Ortley Beach St. Elisabeth’s Chapel and August 8-11 at Huddy Park in Toms River.

As fans of Shakespeare, we were excited to learn about the Festival in time to catch a performance. With our lawn chairs in tow and light sweaters for the cool air coming off the river, we settled in for the show of the summer — and it was right in our backyard!

The entire cast delivered a performance that warmed our Shakespearean hearts. The leads were played by Mike Marcou as the spying Vincentio, Brigitte Thieme-Burdette as Isabella, the apprentice nun, and Julian Abelskamp as the hypocritical Angelo. The leads delivered a tight performance, backed by a strong cast that captivated us from start to finish.

Hard Work Pays Off

Let us just say this. It cannot be overstated the impact and importance of experiencing Shakespeare’s plays performed live. We encourage everyone to incorporate the Toms River Shakespeare Festival into their summer ritual. For the richness it brings, the Festival is a gift to the Jersey Shore.

Thanks to the hard work of founder and Artistic Director Lori Garrabrant, the Toms River Shakespeare Festival finished its season with success and she has an eye on the horizon for 2020.

“Our mission is to continue to bring these timeless texts and stories to life,” states Ms. Garrabrant, “and to make our productions accessible to the widest possible audience.”

Garrabrant adds, “We have received such a warm and wonderful response from our audiences and supporters. They have thanked us profusely for bringing live, open-air theatre and Shakespeare to Toms River because they recognize how important it is to ‘cultivate culture’ within the community! These plays have been produced for over 400 years because the stories are as relevant today as they were over 400 years ago and there is something ‘magical’ that happens when Shakespeare’s plays are experienced live, in performance. We want TRSF audiences to experience that magic!”

What’s to Come in 2020

Ah, the million-dollar question, what’s to come in 2020? Garrabrant shares, “We always decide upon the play in early fall and announce by early November.” She adds, “Our shows typically run from the end of July through early August. However, our long-term goal is to run all summer.”

To stay up to date, Garrabrant advises the community to visit www.trshakespeare.org and join its email list to receive important Festival news and updates.

See you next year at the Festival! Until next time… adieu!

Images courtesy of Toms River Shakespeare Festival

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