REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK | Shakespeare in the Park


Thanks for all your input – see teh article at Shakespeare in the Park – Coming to a park near you

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK | Shakespeare in the Park
We’re looking for stories about free summer theater in the parks, especially productions that let you get up close and personal with the Bard. Are you in a summer production? Do you have stories or memories of close encounters with Shakespeare in a park?

Here’s what we know about this summer:
Caponi Art Park and Learning Center will host The Taming of the Shrew and The Tempest in Eagan on June 26 and 27. The Shakespeare Festival is a weekend-long event featuring full-length Shakespeare plays by the Cromulent Shakespeare Company.

If you have information, stories, schedules, or suggestions (or if you’d like to write this story), email

From a reader:
Shakespeare in the Park used to kick off in Minneapolis every summer at the Nicollet Island amphitheater. That was before a catering company called Mintahoe got a longterm lease/monopoly to book events at the neighboring Nicollet Island Park Pavilion, about six years ago.

Shakespeare hasn’t been there since. Used to draw hundreds of people, a full house, couldn’t be a better venue with a real stage and a grassy terrace to watch the show from. The amphitheater basically goes unused now
for anything public (aside from the occasional corporate rental) but Shakespeare is missed the most.

What do Cromulent’s attendance figures show for their Nicollet Island performances? How far back was Shakespeare a staple at Nicollet Island? Why does the park board website still brag about an amphitheater when it’s completely disused — apparently because any public event parking would interfere with the favored private company?

Why doesn’t Mintahoe pay its taxes?

Why does Mintahoe get all the public catering contracts, including now at the downtown Minneapolis library and Minneapolis park board headquarters?

And mostly — why can’t Shakespeare come back to the Nicollet Island amphitheater where people loved it?


CONTACT: Helen Donnay 612-251-0991 (

Cromulent Shakespeare Company Announces Free Shows in Twin Cities Area Parks

April 24, 2009—Cromulent Shakespeare Company presents two free plays on
different schedules in Minneapolis and St. Paul area parks this June: The
Tempest, William Shakespeare’s tale of a great sorcerer who creates a
storm that maroons his enemies on a magical island and Shakespeare Soup,
an entertaining original script featuring familiar Shakespearean
characters and plot adaptations.

The Tempest schedule – 7 p.m. weekdays, 2 p.m. Sundays
Fri., 6/5 – Kenwood Park – 2101 Franklin Ave. W, Minneapolis
Sat, 6/6 – Lake Harriet Lyndale Park Rose Gardens – 4124 Roseway Rd.,
Sun, 6/7 –Raspberry Park at Harriet Island – St. Paul
Thu., 6/11 – Loring Park – 1382 Willow St., Minneapolis
Fri., 6/12 – Powderhorn Park – 3400 15th Ave. S, Minneapolis
Sat., 6/13 – Father Hennepin Bluffs Park – 420 Main St. SE, Minneapolis
Sun., 6/14 – Como Park – St. Paul
Tues., 6/16 – Parkers Lake Park – Plymouth, MN
Thu., 6/18 – Washburn Fair Oaks Park – 200 24th St. E, Minneapolis Fri.,
6/19 – Riverside Park – 2820 8th St. S, Minneapolis
Sat., 6/20 – Lake Nokomis Park – E. 50th St. and E. Nokomis Parkway,
Sun., 6/21 – Newell – 900 N. Fairview Ave., St Paul
Thu., 6/25 – Whittier Park – 425 26th St. W, Minneapolis
Fri., 6/26 – Phalen – 1615 Phalen Dr., St. Paul
Sat., 6/27 – Caponi Art Park – 1205 Diffley Rd., Eagan

Shakespeare Soup schedule – 7 p.m. weekdays, 3 p.m. Sundays
Fri., 6/5 – Phalen Park – 1615 Phalen Dr., St. Paul
Sat., 6/6 – Minnehaha Park – 4801 South Minnehaha Park Dr., Minneapolis
Fri., 6/12 – Audubon Park – 1320 29th Ave. NE, Minneapolis
Sat., 6/13 – Cherokee Park – 700 Cherokee Heights Blvd., St. Paul
Fri., 6/19 – Folwell Park – 1615 Dowling Ave. N, Minneapolis
Sat., 6/20 – Highland Park – 1200 Montreal Ave., St. Paul
Fri., 6/26 – Van Cleve Park – 901 15th Ave. SE, Minneapolis
Sat., 6/27 – Boom Island Park – 724 Sibley St. NE, Minneapolis
Sun., 6/28 – Centennial Lakes Park – 7499 France Ave. S, Edina

The Tempest is directed by Bethany Ford, who directed the
critically-acclaimed Sense and Sensibility for Cromulent in 2008. “This
simple and streamlined production of The Tempest explores what it means
to be human and what is required to achieve balance and therefore peace
in the universe,” says Ford. “We will move the story forward with
fascinating relationships, suspense and comedy.”

Shakespeare Soup will be directed by Mitchell Bucky Fay, a founder of
Cromulent, who also created the script. Fay has directed more than 50
shows and written and adapted a number of scripts including Cromulent’s
most recently performed, Hunchback of Notre Dame. “In Shakespeare Soup,
strolling actors visit the village of Blackfriars only to find their help
is needed to lift a strange curse,” says Fay. “In the language and style
of the bard, characters such as Juliet, Rosalind, Puck, Nick Bottom and
more contribute to the merriment.”

Cromulent Shakespeare Company breathes new life into classical plays with
a creative and ensemble-based approach. Since their start in 1996, the
company has committed to “Embiggen the Bard,” and has performed all
around the land of lakes in parks and small theaters. In 2000, Cromulent
added new works and original adaptations to their performance repertoire.
Among Shakespeare productions Cromulent presented were Richard III, Much
Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Comedy of Errors,
As you Like It, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Love’s Labour’s Lost
and Romeo and Juliet. Adaptations include Three Sisters, Macbeth: Weyward
Magic, Falstaff, Sense and Sensibility and classics like Cyrano de
Bergerac and Strindberg’s The Father. Adding to the mix have been
original productions such as Theatre 101, Monsters of Poetry, What I Wil,
Robin Hood, Lysistrata Lesson and Fairy Tale Network and improvisational
shows such as Stud Game.