I first visited Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival with my sons several years ago; it’s a very special destination, on the grounds of Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, New York. The experience so enjoyable and memorable, so I’ve been back since then, and have looked forward to seeing a performance this summer.
Shakespeare’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Director May Adrales. Presented by Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. CAST: Antonio – Stephen Paul Johnson*, Beatrice – Tina Chilip*, Benedick – Charlie Semine*, Claudio – Jose Gamo, Dogberry – Kurt Rhoads*, Don John – Stephen Michael Spencer*, Don Pedro – Sean McNall*, Hero – Alexandra Templer*, Leonato – Michael Early*. Ensemble: Kendall Cafaro, Kayla Coleman, Jon Cook, Brandon Dial, Timiki Salinas, Ryan Washington. Invited dress rehearsal photographed: Friday, June 7, 2019; 7:30 PM at HVSF Theater Tent at Boscobel House and Gardens, 1601 Route NY-9D, Garrison, NY 10524. PHOTO CREDIT – © Richard Termine. Photos courtesy of Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
The performance was last Saturday, one of the hottest days of the summer, but that didn’t matter. The actors were fantastic – animated, expressive, giving terrific performances – their razor sharp wit and remarkable charm and intensity kept the audience engaged and entertained, and it was a full house. The play was William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, directed by May Adrales and featuring Alexandra Templer as Hero, Tina Chilip as Beatrice, Charlie Semine as Benedick; the description and full cast list is here. The play is staged in the round, with the beautiful Hudson River in the background, which enhances the experience – and the setting of this version of the play, in the 1950s, adds a fun twist and enhanced the appreciation of the story.
Upon arrival, the first thing many notice is the view: it is spectacular. A perfect sight, the Hudson River is laid before you, with both shores visible, the United States Military Academy at West Point off in the distance on the right. Picnicking is encouraged on the vast lawn before the show, there is a refreshment tent for those wanting cold beverages and snacks before the performance and during intermission.
Much Ado About Nothing continues through the end of August. Other plays this season are Cymbeline, Cyrano and HVSF’s first musical, Into The Woods. This weekend, Saturday July 27th, is the last chance to see Cymbeline, with a champagne toast preceding the closing night performance. Cyrano continues through August 30, Into The Woods begins early August and runs through September 8th. For the HVSF calendar, click here.
If you’re able to make it up in the afternoon before the evening performance, make sure to look into a tour of Boscobel, which is a grand, Neoclassical mansion complete with original and period furnishings, and a very interesting story about how it was saved from demolition and fully restored. HVSF offers a special package tour discount, and the HVSF tent is right nearby, just yards away.
If restaurant dining is preferred to a picnic, in nearby Cold Spring there are many quaint restaurants, Brasserie Le Bouchon at 76 Main Street was the choice for this visit, the food was delicious and the service very friendly and attentive.
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is located on the grounds of Boscobel House and Gardens, at 1609 Route 9D in Garrison, New York. HVSF website: hvshakespeare.org and their phone number is 845-265-9575. Boscobel website: boscobel.org, phone number is 845-265-3638.