Shake a leg to see some Madison-area Shakespeare performances

Summer Shakespeare season is upon us.

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Madison Shakespeare Company will be performing at the Madison Children’s Museum this summer. | Photo via Madison Shakespeare Company

William Shakespeare wrote, “Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” Ain’t that the truth. Madisonians love being outside during the summer months, and what better way to spend time outdoors than with a little bit of Shakespeare?

Here are a few we’d like to spotlight:

In Madison

Madison Shakespeare Company
Founded in 2011 by Warren Hansen and John Varda, the company performs Shakespeare and other classical works for audiences in the 608.

Coming performances include:

  • Lovers in June | Saturday, June 1-Sunday, June 2 | 2 p.m. | Tyranena Brewing Co., 025 Owen St., Lake Mills | $10 suggested donation | In an outdoor casual setting, enjoy love scenes from “As You Like It,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Merchant of Venice,” and more, all with a frosted mug of beer in your hand.
  • Dido: Queen of Carthage | Friday, June 28-Sunday, June 30 | Times vary | Madison Children’s Museum, 100 N. Hamilton St., Madison | $20-$25 | Christopher Marlowe’s first play will be performed on the Wonderground play structure, seriously.
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost | Friday, Aug. 9-Saturday, Aug. 24 | Times vary | Madison Country Day School, 5606 River Rd., Waunakee | $20-$25 | This show is described by the troupe as “Shakespeare’s greatest boys-versus-girls, pinky-swear-to-the-death, ridiculously-accented comedy.”
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Young Shakespeare Players has been performing in Madison since 1980. | Photo via Young Shakespeare Players

Young Shakespeare Players
If you have a young thespian in your midst, this local nonprofit that invites youth, ages 7-18, to perform full-length, original works by the likes of Shakespeare and other greats.

There are no auditions or rejections. Anyone who registers will receive at least one substantial speaking role.

The next production will be “Hamlet.” An introductory meeting, for those that want to participate, will be held on Wednesday, May 29, from 6-7:30 p.m. at 1806 W. Lawn Ave. Rehearsals for the August performances start on Monday, June 10.

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American Players Theatre will present two Shakespeare plays this coming summer season. | Photo via American Players Theatre (Hannah Jo Anderson)

Further afield

American Players Theatre, Spring Green
The troupe’s coming season includes two Shakespeare plays performed under the stars.

  • Much Ado about Nothing” | Friday, June 14-Sunday, Sept. 29 | Times vary | American Players Theatre, 5950 Golf Course Rd., Spring Green | Prices vary | In a battle of wit and whimsy, Shakespeare’s beloved comedy showcases Beatrice and Benedict falling in love.
  • King Lear” | Friday, Aug. 9-Saturday, Sept. 28 | Times vary | American Players Theatre, 5950 Golf Course Rd., Spring Green | Prices vary | Arguably Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, this play follows the fury of a scorned king.

Summit Players Theatre, various locations
The Milwaukee-based company travels the state offering free short Shakespeare workshops and performances. Each year they perform at many of Wisconsin’s state parks:

This year’s production is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” running from Friday, June 14-Monday, July 29 at several state parks. Performances close to Madison include:

  • Sunday, June 23 | 2:30 p.m. | Blue Mound State Park, 4350 Mounds Park Rd., Blue Mounds
  • Friday, July 19 | 7:00 p.m. | Lake Kegonsa State Park. 2405 Door Creek Rd., Stoughton
  • Saturday, July 20 | 2:30 p.m. | Mirror Lake State Park, E10320 Fern Dell Rd., Baraboo

“All the world is a stage,” Shakespeare wrote. In this case, all around Madison.