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A Midsummer Night ... in Harlem

NYC's illustrious Shakespeare in the Park brings Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Harlem with influences from African and Hispanic Diasporas

It was indeed a perfect midsummer night to watch the premiere of Shakespeare's comedy classic, A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH) kicked off its unprecedented 18-day production in the recently renovated Richard Roger's Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park. The production ushered in a warm welcome to bringing NYC's illustrious "Shakespeare in the Park" to Harlem.

For the past 50 years, over 5 million people have taken advantage of the free "Shakespeare in the Park" productions, historically located at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. The reenactments of Shakespeare's pieces have grown to become a quintessential summer ritual.

Seizing the nouveau Harlem Renaissance and the multi-million dollar repair of the Amphitheater, CTH has taken this opportunity to expand the theme of "Shakespeare in the Park" uptown to the culturally diverse and affluently artistic neighborhood of Harlem.

Director Justin Emeka, professor of Theatre and Africana Studies at Oberlin College, is known for creating new approaches to classical theatre. He portrayed an unparalleled interpretation of the original play which deals with the difficulties of love, magical spells, and the realities of life versus the fantasies of dreams.

Emeka seamlessly integrated music, dance, and lifestyle traditions ranging from African to Hispanic Diasporas, signifying the various cultures and backgrounds residing in Harlem. His unique interpretations of classic themes incorporated creative surprises, reflective of modern day societal trends which kept the jam packed audience engaged, full of laughter, and on their toes.

This production lived up to CTH's commitment of presenting the "classics" to the stages of Harlem while heightening the awareness of theatre and great Harlem art. A Midsummer Night's Dream provided a fantastic opportunity for those inside and outside the community to relax and enjoy the magical nature of summer love.

You can catch A Midsummer Night's Dream every night through July 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm located at Richard Roger's Amphitheater (18 Mt. Morris Park West and 122nd Street) in Marcus Garvey Park. The production is free so arrive early! Seats are first come first serve.

Visit www.classicaltheatreofharlem.org to learn more about The Classical Theatre of Harlem.

  • Published in Theatre
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