‘Much Ado About Nothing’ opens annual Carolina Shakespeare Festival

NEW BERN. N.C.–The Carolina Shakespeare Festival opens its fourteenth season August 2nd.  And to officially open the season, Shakespeare’s classic rom/com ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ will be presented at Tryon Palace’s Cullman Performance Hall.  The play centers on lovers Beatrice and Benedick who try not to admit their feelings for one another, going tit for tat along the way, until, of course, it all reaches a happy ending.  It truly is one of Shakespeare’s finest–if not his finest–romantic comedy.  Countless movies and plays since can count this work as their influence.

The Carolina Shakespeare Festival will begin performances of the play with a very special preview performance on Thursday, August 2nd at 7pm.  Official opening night is Friday, August 3rd.  It all ends August 19th.  Tickets for the preview show for the special preview show can be purchased at a discount price of $12 for all seats.  General admission tickets for adults are $28, $22 for senior citizens, and $20 for Tryon Palace Council of Friends Members.  Students and active duty military personnel can purchase tickets for $14.  Tickets can be purchased by phone at 252-639-3524 and 1-800-767-1560.  They can also be purchased in person at the North Carolina History Center Ticket Desk at Tryon Palace. 

Along with the presentations of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, the Carolina Shakepseare Festival will offer two free concert readings of ‘Henry IV Part 2’ on August 8th and 11th.  The reading on August 8th will be presented at the Old Theatre in Oriental at 7pm that evening.  The second of the two readings will be offered August 11th at 2pm at Tryon Palace.

For more information on the Carolina Shakespeare Festival and Tryon Palace, go online to http://www.csfest.net and http://www.tryonpalace.org.

East Carolina University announces Summer Theatre Schedule

NEW BERN, N.C.–East Carolina University’s School of Theatre and Dance has announced the schedule for the 2012 ECU/Loessen Summer Theatre.  The annual Summer Theatre program kicks off tomorrow, July 3rd with performances of “Our Town”, “”Seven in One Blow”, and “Collision Course–A 60’s Retro.”  The performances will be held from Tuesday, July 3rd – Sunday, July 7th.  They will be held at Tryon Palace’s Cullman Performance Hall.

“Our Town” follows the Gibbs family and Webb family throughout their lives.  It all begins in Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire in 1901.  The play will be performed July 3rd and July 5th at 7:30pm.  It will also be performed Friday and Saturday, July 6th and 7th at 2pm.

“Seven in One Blow” is based on the production developed by Randy Sharp and the Axis Theatre Company of New York.  It’s based on the classic Grimm Brothers story of a boy who swatted seven flies in one blow, and led everyone to believe he was a great giant killer.  Of course, there are some new additions to the tale that kids and parents alike will enjoy.  The play will be held July 3rd and 5th at 2pm and July 7th at 11am.

“Collision Course–A 60’s Retro” is the third of this year’s performances held by the ECU/Loessen Summer Theatre.”  It is comprised of a series of short plays written by some of the biggest playwrights of the 1960’s.  Each play runs anywhere from ten minutes to fifteen minutes in length.  Fans of the classic 1960’s sound will love the soundtrack to these plays, too.  “Collision Course–A 60’s Retro” does contain some adult themes.  Parental guidance is suggested for this performance.  “Collision Course–A 60’s Retro” will be performed July 6th and 7th at 8pm.

Tickets for this year’s peformances are on sale now.  They can be purchased online now at http://www.ecuarts.com or by phone toll free at 1-800-328-2787 and 252-328-6829.  The performances are part of the Tryon Palace Performing Arts Series.  Public Radio East and the Sun Journal serve as media sponsors for the performances.

More information on Tryon Palace is available online at http://www.tryonpalace.org and by phone toll free at 1-800-767-1500 and 252-639-3500.  

Tryon Palace hosting special Independence Day event

NEW BERN, N.C.–Tryon Palace will hold a very special family friendly event to celebrate Independence Day this year.  The staff at Tryon Palace invite families across Eastern North Carolina to join them as they celebrate, “The Glorious Fourth.” 

The two-day event will kick off with a performance by the 440th Army Band NC Army National Guard’s Concert Band and Jazz Patriots Big Band/Show Band on Tuesday, July 3rd.  The concert will be held on Tryon Palace’s South Lawn, facing the Trent River.  The concert is free and open to the public.  Pets and alcoholic beverages are prohibited.  Those planning to attend are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets and a picnic.  The concert is presented as part of the Tryon Palace Performing Arts Series.  Public Radio East serves as as the series’ media sponsor.

Tuesday evening’s concert is only the beginning of this year’s special event at Tryon Palace.  on Wednesday, July 4th, Tryon Palace will hold its “Glorious Fourth” celebration from 9am  – 3pm.  Guests will get to see classic 18th Century country dancing and games of townball, as well as see North Carolina’s first Governor welcome John Penn to read the Declaration of Independence for everyone to hear.  The kids won’t be left out, either.  Kids will get the chance to make their own historic toy.  They’ll even get to sign their own copy of the Declaration of Independence with a quill pen, and even dress in period costume.  And for the entire family, there will also be a Fife and Drum Corps parade at 11am. 

For military history lovers, there will be a gathering of the local militia to celebrate the Revolutionary War’s end.  Guests will get to talk to the soldiers about camp life during the time of the war.  The soldiers in attendance will also demonstrate how they fired their weapons, including both their muskets and canons. 

And should guests get thirsty while visiting Tryon Palace, they can visit patriot Richard Cogdell’s Ordinary (public house) for some fresh lemonade.  While there, they can enjoy some entertainment and gossip, too.

In the event of adverse weather, most of the day’s events will be moved into the North Carolina History Center.  For more information on the “Glorious Fourth”, go online to http://www.tryonpalace.org or call 1-800-767-1560 toll free or 252-639-3500 by phone.

Admission for the day’s events and the Tryon Palace Gardens is free.  However, donations are accepted.  Families of all ages are welcome.    Guests interested in taking a tour inside Tryon Palace and its adjoining buildings can purchase tickets at the North Carolina History Center ticket desk at 529 S. Front Street, New Bern.

Carolinian Shakespeare Festival presents Much Ado About Nothing

NEW BERN, N.C.–The Carolinian Shakespeare Festival is happy to announce the festival’s main presentation this year.  The festival will present Shakespeare’s timeles romantic comedy, “Much Ado About Nothing.”  The play will be presented August 2nd – 9th in the Cullman Performance Hall at Tryon Palace’s North Carolina History Center.  The North Carolina History Center is located at 529 South Front Street in New Bern, N.C.

The Carolinian Shakepseare Festival’s Producing Artistic Director, Mary Mcginley shared her thoughts on returning to perform again this year.  She said, “This is everyone’s favorite play. ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is high comedy and its word-play and banter are things of beauty. We’re so happy we’ve been invited back to perform this delightful comedy at Tryon Palace’s Cullman Hall. It’s going to be a great festival!”

Regarding the cast for this year’s production, McGinley noted, “We’ve worked hard to put together the perfect cast for this comedy about two reluctant lovers who always try to get the last word. We’ve auditioned more than two hundred actors in New Bern and New York City. I think we’ve come up with a terrific combination and I can’t wait to work with all of them.”

This year’s production features a highly trained group of thespians.  Beatrice will be played by Anna Phyllis Smith.  Smith has a BFA from Adelphi University and has also studied at the London Dramatic Academy.  She has worked with the New York Shakespeare Fest, Manhattan Shakespeare Project and Olympic Shakespeare Productions.

Beatrice’s love interest, Benedick, will be portrayed by Scott Renzoni.  Renzoni boasts his own list of accomplishments.  He is a former “Jeopardy!” champion.  He earned a degree in theater from St. Michael’s College, and now works for Shakespeare & Co.  in Lenox, MA.  To get a full cast listing and bio on each cast member, go online to http://www.muse-of-fire.org/CSFest/The_Company.html.

Tickets for the play can be purchased by phone at 252-639-3524 or toll free at 800-767-1560 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  They can also be purchased in person at the North Carolina History Center Ticket Desk at Tryon Palace during regular hours.  More information on the Carolinian Shakespeare Festival is available online at the festivals’ new website, http://www.csfest.net and at http://www.tryonpalace.org.