Saturday, June 30, 2018

In The News: Nebraska Shakespeare's punk-tinged 'King John' rules

by Betsie Freeman | World Herald Staff Writer

Who said Shakespeare has to be traditional or, worse, dull and ponderous?

For better or worse, the Bard has that reputation in some circles. But that opinion certainly wasn’t shared among the common folk who attended his plays in the 1600s. And it’s certainly not true among many of the inventive and forward-thinking purveyors of his works in 2018.

You can count Nebraska Shakespeare among those innovators.

On the heels of its fresh and fun “Much Ado About Nothing,” the company on Thursday premiered “King John,” a riveting and somewhat subversive take on one of William Shakespeare’s more obscure historical plays.


Friday, June 29, 2018

In The News: Shakespeare On The Green Continues with King John

by Corbin Hirschhorn | KVNO News

Russell Daniels as King John

Saturday, June 23, 2018

In The News: Life and love are a beach in Nebraska Shakespeare's creative 'Much Ado About Nothing'

by Betsie Freeman | Omaha World Herald Staff Writer
You might think a guy who’s several centuries old couldn’t surprise you.

You would be wrong.

Nebraska Shakespeare’s novel approach to “Much Ado About Nothing” proves that the old Bard — aided by director Susan Baer Collins — has lots of tricks left. The show premiered Thursday at Elmwood Park.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

In The News: "Everything to know about this year's Shakespeare on the Green"

by Betsie Freeman

Behold the tale of a real-life king.
John, King of England, ruled from 1199 to 1216. His story will be told at this year’s Shakespeare on the Green, which starts Thursday and runs through July 8. It shares the bill with the festival’s opening play, “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

In The News: Shakespeare on the Green Returns with ‘Much Ado’

by Corbin Hirschhorn

Sarah Carlson-Brown as Beatrice and Eric Parks as Benedick
Photography by Chris Holtmeier, Foton-Foto

Friday, June 1, 2018

Nebraska Shakespeare was chosen as one of 40 theatres across the nation to participate in “Shakespeare in American Communities”

Omaha, NE (June, 2018) – The 2018 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, produced by Nebraska Shakespeare to travel to schools and communities this fall as a part of the organization’s Shakespeare On Tour program, has been chosen to participate in ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’. Arts Midwest announced on May 31 the recipients of $1 million in ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’ grants to 40 nonprofit professional theater companies from 27 states and the District of Columbia. This year marks 16 years of the program which supports female directors, under-served audiences, and innovative youth programming.

Selection for ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’ made it possible for Nebraska Shakespeare to produce The Taming of the Shrew for the inaugural season of Shakespeare On Tour in 2006, and has helped the program to continue to expand. “’Shakespeare in American Communities’ made it possible for our 2017 On Tour production of Romeo and Juliet to expand to six weeks of performances,” says Director of Education, Sarah Carlson-Brown. “This allowed the tour to offer a record number of 42 shows and over 85 educational activities. This production performed for over 60 schools and communities and reached a record number of over 10,000 students in a single season!”

Participating companies will present plays by William Shakespeare to student audiences along with educational activities including in-school residencies, workshops, and post-performance discussions. Performances will take place between August 1, 2018, and July 31, 2019. The awards mark the sixteenth consecutive year of ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’, a national program managed by Arts Midwest in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Since the program’s inception in 2003, ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’ has introduced 2.9 million middle and high school students to the power of live theater and the masterpieces of William Shakespeare through performances and educational activities.

“Arts Midwest is thrilled to continue our long partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts connecting youths with the transformational power of Shakespeare through shared live performance and educational experiences created by America’s finest theater companies,” said Adam Perry, Arts Midwest’s vice president for strategy and programs. “Discovering Shakespeare’s cannon inspires students from all backgrounds across America’s cultural landscape to dream, love, explore and create new futures in epic Shakespearean style. The ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’ grant awards bridge the past to the present where leaders of the next generation are discovering that tomorrow is indeed, promised to all.”

One hundred and eleven theater companies across the United States have taken part in ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’ since 2003. These companies have presented 33 Shakespeare plays through 11,300 performances and 41,500 educational activities at more than 10,000 schools in 4,300 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Each year, thousands of students have an opportunity to experience Shakespeare performances and educational activities through ‘Shakespeare in American Communities’,” said National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest are committed to expanding access to the arts to audiences across the country.”

The following 40 theater companies have been selected to participate in the program for 2018-2019.
  • A Noise Within, Pasadena, CA 
  • The Acting Company, New York, NY 
  • Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Somerville, MA 
  • Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Montgomery, AL 
  • Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, GA 
  • American Players Theatre, Spring Green, WI 
  • American Shakespeare Center, Staunton, VA 
  • Aquila Theatre Company, Katonah, NY 
  • Barter Theatre, Abingdon, VA 
  • California Shakespeare Theater, Berkeley, CA 
  • Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Baltimore, MD 
  • Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago, IL 
  • Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati, OH 
  • Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Boulder, CO 
  • Dallas Theater Center, Dallas, TX 
  • Folger Theatre, Washington, D.C. 
  • Great Lakes Theater, Cleveland, OH 
  • Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, MN 
  • Hartford Stage, Hartford, CT 
  • Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Cold Spring, NY 
  • Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Boise, ID 
  • Kentucky Shakespeare, Louisville, KY 
  • Lantern Theater Company, Philadelphia, PA 
  • Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, Bozeman, MT 
  • Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Nashville, TN 
  • Nebraska Shakespeare, Omaha, NE
  • Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR
  • Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Orlando, FL 
  • Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Center Valley, PA 
  • Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, MA 
  • Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 
  • Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, D.C. 
  • The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Florham Park, NJ 
  • Tennessee Shakespeare Company, Memphis, TN 
  • Theater at Monmouth, Monmouth, ME 
  • Theatre for a New Audience, New York, NY 
  • Trinity Repertory Company, Providence, RI 
  • Utah Shakespeare Festival, Cedar City, UT 
  • Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga, CA 
  • Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT 
The list of companies can be found at

About Nebraska Shakespeare On Tour
Nebraska Shakespeare strives to bring Shakespeare to new audiences. Shakespeare On Tour, which encompasses over 90 communities, is a large part of achieving this goal, reaching an average of 33 schools annually and serving over 88,000 students in the past twelve years. Shakespeare On Tour demonstrates Shakespeare's universal human conditions to students. Special focus is given to making the language of Shakespeare clear and understandable. Theatrical techniques in expressiveness, physicality, analysis, rhythm, and theatrical design are incorporated to entertain students and bring continued relevance to Shakespeare's words. Now in its 13th season, Shakespeare On Tour will take A Midsummer Night’s Dream to schools and communities in September and October of 2018. The majority of performances will take place in schools, and the performance can be staged in a variety of settings including gymnasiums, classrooms, community centers, public parks, and intimate community theaters.

About Nebraska Shakespeare
Under the leadership of Executive Director, Mary Ann Bamber; Artistic Director, Vincent Carlson-Brown; and the Board of Directors, Nebraska Shakespeare’s mission is to create entertaining, challenging productions as well as immersive educational experiences that connect our diverse community to Shakespeare's exploration of what it means to be human. On stage, in the classroom and through collaborative partnerships, we create, engage, and inspire. Now in its 32nd year, Nebraska Shakespeare serves 40,000 individuals annually through performances and educational forums. For more information, visit

About Arts Midwest
Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives. Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six nonprofit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 30 years. For more information, visit

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Shakespeare On the Green pairs popular comedy with a Nebraska first

Omaha, NE (May, 2018) – Shakespeare On The Green (SOTG) returns for season 32 with the popular comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, and the regional premiere of King John. Both productions are free and open to the public.

Kicking off the season, Much Ado About Nothing will be performed at 8 p.m. on June 21-24 and July 5 and 7. A one-night only after-dark, “Moonlight Much Ado” performance will be performed at 10 p.m. on July 2. King John will be presented at 8 p.m. on June 28-30 and July 1, 6, and 8.

Shakespeare on the Green is located next to Omaha’s Elmwood Park, the entrance is just south of the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Bell Tower. Parking is available on UNO’s campus. The public is encouraged to arrive early with blankets and lawn chairs to get a good spot on the green. Concessions and souvenirs will be available.

Each performance will be preceded by a range of family-friendly activities, including food and souvenirs; Shakesperience! – educational and interactive activities for kids; Scholars Forums where artists discuss Shakespeare’s text, production, and relevant contemporary topics; and entertainment by Madrigali et al.

The witty comedy of romantic misunderstandings, gossip, and false rumors, Much Ado About Nothing, was previously produced On The Green in 2008, 1997, and 1989. In the play, Benedick and his friend Claudio return from war and become reacquainted with Beatrice and Hero. As memories of conflict give way to a life of parties and masked balls, Claudio and Hero fall madly, deeply in love, while Benedick and Beatrice reignite a more combative courtship. Taking place in a 1950’s villa and inspired by the golden age of Hollywood, this year’s production will be a “merry war” of wits that is sure to delight.

Much Ado About Nothing is directed by Susan Baer Collins, who also directed the 1997 production. Collins says of the production: “Welcome to our fabulous house party on the Mediterranean Coast! In this time of peace there is much to amuse: elaborate feasts, masquerade balls, moonlit dances, and party games. But be aware: this seeming paradise may prove claustrophobic, as residents tend to conduct their business by gossip, spying, and pretense. It’s human nature to gossip, to hide the truth, to mask our real feelings. Sometimes we invent alternative facts, or pretend to be someone we’re not. Truth is revealed by unmasking, a brave undertaking that requires self-reflection and an open heart.”

“Let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me."Much Ado About Nothing (Act 1, Scene 3)

Epic battles, illegitimacy, and the struggle for power set the stage for King John, being performed for the first time for Nebraska and Shakespeare On The Green. Richard the Lionheart is dead. His brother, John, has become King of England. The French King wages war in support of Arthur’s (John’s nephew) claim to the throne. Meanwhile, another member of the royal bloodline is discovered – Richard Lionheart’s bastard son – who joins the fray.

King John is directed by Vincent Carlson-Brown, Artistic Director for Nebraska Shakespeare. Carlson-Brown says of the production, “This play expresses madness: personal and systemic. At times it may seem like those in power are at a form of child’s play. In turn, ordinary human lives are irrevocably impacted by the absurdity of extreme religiosity, political machinations, and the arrogant putting-forth of an individual’s personal agenda.” Set in a warring 12th century England – but re-imagined through a contemporary eye – this play will be one-part “Game of Thrones”-inspired intrigue, combined with a rock soundtrack and designer fashion.
“Be great in act, as you have been in thought”King John (Act 5, Scene 1)

Shakespeare On The Green is admission-free. $30 suggested donations to the event support Nebraska Shakespeare’s year-round performances and programming.

For the VIP experience, patrons can become a donating Member and receive special benefits at each Shakespeare On The Green performance.

Membership Opportunities:
$100 Green Level members receive ground seating for four people, front and center, at Shakespeare On The Green.

$250 Bronze Level members receive VIP chair seating for four at Shakespeare On The Green and shuttle service to the park.

$500 Silver Members receive all Bronze level perks, plus reserved parking for one vehicle at Shakespeare On The Green.

$1000 Gold Members receive all Silver level perks, plus two additional chairs and attendance at the Cast Welcome Event.

$2500 Platinum Members receive all Gold level perks, plus use of the Party Tent prior to a performance at Shakespeare On The Green (accommodates 30 guests).

$5000+ Sponsor status for a Nebraska Shakespeare performance or event.

Additional information about the 2018 season of Shakespeare On The Green and membership opportunities can be found at or by emailing

Under the leadership of Executive Director, Mary Ann Bamber; Artistic Director, Vincent Carlson-Brown; and the Board of Directors, Nebraska Shakespeare’s mission is to create entertaining, challenging productions as well as immersive educational experiences that connect our diverse community to Shakespeare's exploration of what it means to be human. On stage, in the classroom and through collaborative partnerships, we create, engage, and inspire. Now in its 32nd year, Nebraska Shakespeare serves 40,000 individuals annually through performances and educational forums.