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Rivertowns Playhouse Summer Shakespeare Festival: Acting Shakespeare Inside America’s Wilderness 7/7-7/28

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June 14, 2024

Rivertowns Playhouse, the professional secular theater company of Irvington Presbyterian Church, invites you to join us this summer for a theatrical performance of a lifetime: Acting Shakespeare Inside America’s Wilderness. We are delighted to debut our new permanent theater on the beautiful, historic, and easily accessible campus of the Irvington Presbyterian Church. RTP is very grateful to IPC’s Pastor Blaine Crawford and the IPC Sessions for their support, as well as this opportunity!

In addition, we are thrilled to announce that several performances will take place throughout the summer with the New Rochelle Council on the Arts and the Village of Tarrytown at their Sunset Stages right on the water. Special thanks to Theresa Kump Leghorn of NRCA. Big thanks to Tarrytown’s Alissa Fasman, Thomas E. Mitchell, Becky McGovern, Richard Slingerland, Dan Walczewski, and Jim DeSimone for their help and support in bringing Shakespeare to a widerRivertowns audience. Exciting news!

Acting Shakespeare Inside America’s Wilderness is an innovative and compelling 90-minute performance that artfully blends stand-up comedy, music, and drama into an extravagant night of theater. This half-length, full-person play creatively adapts Ian McKellen’s Acting Shakespeare(who gave his blessing to Saliani to revive), drawing inspiration from James Shapiro’s Shakespeare in a Divided America, and is intricately woven with the parody style reminiscent of Bo Burnham’s Inside and Make Happy.

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Set against the tumultuous backdrop of early American history, the play delves into the profound impact of William Shakespeare’s works, as interpreted by two iconic figures: Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth. Their divergent understandings of Shakespeare’s texts lead them on acollision course to one of the most pivotal moments in history – Lincoln’s assassination.Lincoln, a figure of unity and hope, sought guidance in the wisdom of Shakespeare during hispresidency, while Booth, an actor consumed by Confederate ideologies, drew differinginspiration from the same plays. This contrast sets the stage for a gripping exploration of howliterature can influence the course of events and the minds of those who shape history.

The play’s unique narrative is further enriched by an eclectic mix of songs from StephenSondheim and Molly Lewis, adding a musical depth that echoes the emotional and thematiccomplexity of the story. Through a dynamic blend of drama, humor, and music, Acting InsideShakespeare’s American Wilderness not only recounts historical events but also offers areflective commentary on the power of interpretation and the indelible impact of art on societyand individual destiny.

Acting Shakespeare Inside America’s Wilderness is an innovative and compelling 90-minuteperformance that artfully blends stand-up comedy, music, and drama into an extravagant night oftheater. In this “half-length, full-person” format, the audience is invited to journey through theearly American wilderness of ideas, thought, and sentiment, witnessing how Shakespeare’sthemes of power, love, betrayal, comedy, and tragedy were instrumental in shaping both ournation’s fascinating identity and its most defining moments. Family-friendly for all ages!This epic dramedy will come to life with a cast & crew featuring local talent from Irvington,Dobbs Ferry, Mount Vernon, Tarrytown, White Plains, as well as, NYC and Connecticut

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