The Monroe County Community Theater celebrated 30 years of its Shakespeare in the Park series Thursday evening. The performance recreated the very first play they brought to stage, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” in the Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park.
The performance fused both Shakespeare’s comedy and Felix Mendelssohn’s accompanying concert overture. The on-stage orchestra consisted of string, woodwind and brass sections with accompanying soprano and mezzo-soprano vocal performances.
The cast is made up of a diverse group ranging from young thespians performing in their first show to MCCT veterans. They all volunteer their time to rehearse the production beginning in June up until debut night. The MCCT is open to community members of all ages and university students.
The majority of the musicians that make up the orchestra are students from the Jacobs School of Music. They work with the MCCT in addition to their own work apart from Jacobs. Musical Director Benjamin Watkins explained how the setting for "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" may be very different for some of the students that are participating.
“The other groups that I’ve worked with have less of a community theater vibe,” Watkins said. “This is a little bit different because you have people kind of learning what they’re doing as they’re doing it. It’s an amateur production in the sense that people love what they’re doing.”
The performance time reacheed marginally over two hours, including a 20-minute intermission in which the orchestra played Mendelssohn’s “Nocturne” as the sun set. At this time, the MCCT accepted donations that go toward funding future arts programs for the Bloomington community.
The MCCT will have two more free shows Saturday starting at 7 p.m. and Sunday starting at 3 p.m. Friday's show has been canceled due to weather.
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The IU Auditorium, the Jacobs School of Music and MidWay Music Speaks were all awarded funds.
Performances will take place on Zoom.
The concert airs at 9:30 p.m. on July 25.