Of course, Shakespeare is always in season in the steamy months

Posted: June 17, 2011

Somehow Shakespeare became synonymous with summer, probably because of the growth nationally of Shakespeare festivals in off-season months. Looking to get your fix of the Bard? It's not hard to find "a stage where every man must play a part."

The Comedy of Errors. Two sets of identical twins are separated at birth - wow, that guy took risks with plot credibility. This is one of his earliest plays, going on Wednesday through July 17 at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival at DeSales University, near Allentown. (610-282-9455 or http://pashakespeare.org)

Richard III. Find out why this particular king spent such a short time on the throne. Performed July 9-30 at a different park or space in the region each time, the usual production method for Commonwealth Classic Theatre Company. (610-202-7878 or www.commonwealthclassictheatre.org)

Much Ado about Nothing. Well, not exactly. Two pairs of lovers - one celebrating love, the other pooh-poohing it - and plenty of trickery soup up this much-loved comedy. This year's Shakespeare in Clark Park production in West Philly, July 20-24. (215-462-2115 or http://shakespeareinclarkpark.org)

Hamlet. The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival presents Shakespeare's tale of the haunted young prince of Denmark. July 20-Aug. 7, in repertory with Pride and Prejudice. (610-282-9455 or http://pashakespeare.org)

Two Noble Kinsmen. Generally thought to be a collaboration between Shakespeare, late in his career, and John Fletcher, the comedy really seems to channel Chaucer and his Canterbury Tales. The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival does the play as Shakespeare would have: Actors learn lines on their own, rehearse themselves, and wear whatever they can find. July 27-Aug. 7. (610-282-9455 or http://pashakespeare.org)

- Howard Shapiro

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