MSF Announces 2016 Season
Producing Artistic Director Janice L Blixt revealed the line-up of plays from the stage of the Village Theatre in Canton before a packed "Midsummer" audience, drawing gasps and applause. "Each year we try to challenge ourselves," Blixt told the crowd. "For 2016, we're expanding our mission with an adaptation that is Shakespearean in scope."
MSF Artistic Associate Robert Kauzlaric, director of two Wilde Award-winning Shakespeares ("Love's Labors Lost," "Cymbeline") will direct "As You Like It," a comic tale of disguises, revolt, and redemption. Artistic Director Blixt, who has won multiple Wilde Awards for both Best of the Bard and Best Comedy, will direct the tragic history of "Richard II," which serves as a prequel to this year's epic "Henry IV."
Blixt also directs the Michigan-premiere of Karen Tarjan's adaptation of Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize winning novel "The Killer Angels," which tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg, in July and August of 2016, 153 years after the battle itself. The play premiered at Lifeline Theatre in Chicago in 2004, and is described thus: "It's the third summer of the Civil War. General Robert E. Lee leads the Army of Northern Virginia into the North and the Army of the Potomac has no choice but to pursue. Over the course of three historic days, beside campfires and amidst firefights, a remarkable group of soldiers wrestle with their doubts, their fears, and their hopes for a shattered nation. Cemetery Hill, Culp's Hill, Little Round Top, and Pickett's Charge come to vibrant life through the indelible stories of the men who fought these legendary battles."
The announcement came the day that tickets for the 2016 MSF season went on sale.
"As we continue to grow as part of the Michigan cultural scene, we want to broaden the reach of the stories we tell," says Blixt. "That includes adaptations of great works of literature set in the past. We are a classical company, and this is a classical story that is also very much a part of our history. The script is both epic, and extremely personal. Like "Julius Caesar" or "Henry V," "The Killer Angels" is so immediate, so very real, it feels like Shakespeare."
The theme of civil unrest continues in the other two plays. In "As You Like It," the good Duke has been usurped by his brother, and the Duke's daughter Rosalind has to flee for her life. In "Richard II," the king is plagued by an uprising led by his own cousin, who attempts take not only his throne but his life.
The MSF is still in performance for the next two weeks at the Village Theatre in Canton. As the Detroit Free Press says, "There is no excuse for not seeing the area's best and most consistent staging of history's greatest playwright. The Michigan Shakespeare Festival has spent the last 21 years growing into its title of the state's premier place to experience Shakespeare."
Tickets for the 2016 MSF season are on sale exclusively at the MSF website: www.michiganshakespearefestival.com.
From now until August 31st, season passes are on sale at two-for-one prices. "The Killer Angels" is expected to sell out, so purchase tickets soon!