FORGIVE, I mean, Forgive the caps and the excessive use of exclamation points, please. BUT, REALLY! I MEAN, REALLY!!
The Shakespeare in the Park Kickstarter campaign is 100% funded (plus $31) as of this beautiful, sunny, snowy Sunday morning.
Hallelujah and pass the “All the world’s a stage”.
The success of this campaign means that Optimist Theatre has met the BMO Harris challenge grant offer. That grant, combined with the $20,000 in donations and pledges tallied by us = Shakespeare in the Park 2013.
More details on the production, dates, directions, special events, fun stuff, etc will be forthcoming. In the meantime, we dance like muppets and invite every single one of you to join in the glee.
Thank you to the 210 people who have made this possible for us all. You are heroes.
Susan Scot Fry
Thanks to a little help from our friends, Optimist Theatre is off to a great start on making Shakespeare in the Park 2013 a reality. An update…
BMO Harris Challenge Grant / Kickstarter Status
We’re almost 78% funded!
As of February 20, Optimist Theatre has raised a total of $15,536 in pledges and donations toward BMO Harris’ $20,000 challenge grant. With 7 days left to raise the remaining $4,464, we’re optimistic.
Optimist Theatre is raising a large portion of these funds through a Kickstarter campaign. If you aren’t familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a great way for non-profit organizations to fund a specific project.
Since we launched this campaign, we’re proud to note that the Shakespeare in the Park 2013 project has been selected by the Kickstarter organization as both the Project Pick of the Day (among the thousands of other causes) and as a Staff Pick for Milwaukee projects.
If we meet our goal, Kickstarter turns your pledge into money by charging your credit card. If we don’t make it, then you don’t get charged and Optimist Theatre does not get any money.
Our deadline to tally pledges for the challenge grant is the end of the day February 28, 2013.
When meet their challenge, BMO Harris will turn every $1 you give to $2.
AS YOU LIKE IT News
Mr. Tom Reed,* Director
Ms. Tess Cinpinski as Phoebe
Mr. Todd Denning* as Touchstone
Mr. Christopher Elst as
Ms. Alison Mary Forbes as Amiens
Mr. David Franz as Oliver
Mr. James Fletcher* as Duke Senor/Duke Frederick
Mr. Clayton Hamburg as Orlando
Ms. Kristin Hammargren as
Mr. Evan Koepnick as Silvius
Mr. Patrick Lawlor* as Jacques
Mr. Bryce Lord as Adam/Corin
Mr. Emmit Morgans as Le Beau
Ms. Tamsyn Reed as Lady Page
Ms. Genesee Spridco as Audrey
Ms. Sara Zientek as Celia
In addition to these actors and roles, Optimist Theatre will again cast a young company of players. In THE TEMPEST, they were The Tribe; TWELFTH NIGHT had The Nocturnes; and they were The Coven for MACBETH. For AS YOU LIKE IT, we will have The Guild.
Ongoing announcements, including casting for The Guild, will be posted here on the Optimist Theatre blog.
Location: Performances will be held at the brand new amphitheatre in Kadish Park overlooking the beautiful downtown Milwaukee skyline.
*Members of Actors Equity Association.
AS YOU LIKE IT Fun
FUN 1: Yet again, Shakespeare has his heroine dress as a boy to escape detection. Ah, Rosalind. But hey, if it works once (or 4 or 5 times)…
QUIZ: What name does Rosalind assume as a boy in disguise?
FUN 2: In the original text, there are actually two characters named Jaques in AS YOU LIKE It. One is a melancholy lord attending to Duke Senior, the other is Jaques de Boys, the brother of Oliver and Orlando.
QUIZ: Which Jaques delivers the famous “All the world’s a stage” speech?
FUN 3: Musical Comedy? AS YOU LIKE IT has more songs in it than any other Shakespeare play.
QUIZ: How many songs are featured in AS YOU LIKE IT?
Community Partner News: MKEFoodies
MKEFoodies is a group of ordinary Milwaukeeans who enjoy food, drink, and socializing. More importantly, it’s a collective that believes that community is vital, and that giving back makes a big difference.
Shakespeare in the Park has been selected to benefit from MKEFoodies’ February gathering.
Thank you. We are honored.
Watch for more updates
To see how the pledge drive is going, check in on our Kickstarter or on our Facebook page.
Thank you for your consideration and support. Here’s to a shining 2013 and we’ll see you at Kadish Park!
Susan Scot Fry
Optimist Theatre is a 501(c)3 non-profit theatre company. All donations are 100% tax deductible. For more information, visit www.OptimistTheatre.org.
July of 2013, Optimist Theatre is pleased to present William Shakespeare’s comedy AS YOU LIKE IT.
Plunge in with Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle’s court to find love and adventure in the Forest of Arden. Featuring iconic Shakespearean character Touchstone, the court jester, played by Milwaukee’s Todd Denning, AS YOU LIKE IT includes one of the Bard’s most famous and oft-quoted speeches, “All the world’s a stage.” Associate Artistic Director and Shakespeare in the Park Producer, Tom Reed, recently seen in the title role in Optimist’s 2012 MACBETH, will direct.
How and Why:
BMO Harris Matching Grant Challenge – BMO Harris has offered a $20,000 challenge grant to fund Optimist Theatre’s 2013 season. If we can raise the matching funds by March 1st, then BMO Harris will match it dollar for dollar. The resulting $40,000 means Optimist Theatre can produce free Shakespeare in the Park.
Since BMO Harris Bank bought the historic M&I Bank Corporation in 2011, they’ve made impressive inroads in community connections by funding a variety of projects. This includes sponsoring local sports teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and the BMO Harris Bradley Arena.
Although audience attendance is free, there are many production costs to offer a professional show. Optimist Theatre focuses the largest portion of our annual budget on hiring cast and crew from Southeastern Wisconsin, primarily from the greater Milwaukee area. The bulk of our budget goes to pay local artists and craftspeople which they in turn pay into the local economy.
Kickstarter – We’ve already raised $8,400. During the month of February 2013, an ambitious $11,600 Kickstarter campaign will help meet the BMO Harris challenge grant. All donations are tax deductible.
Kickstarter is a crowdsourced fundraising platform focused specifically on creative projects. It has become a popular fundraising source for small organizations and several successful campaigns by Milwaukee-based initiatives have been run in the last year; Youngblood Theatre’s CARTOON, BeinTween’s Matireal Trail, and the Blue Hawaii Spectacular variety show, to name a few.
To support Shakespeare in the Park and help meet this challenge, click HERE for the Kickstarter link. You will, in turn, be helping thousands more people experience live theatre – many for the very first time.
A new home – The Selig-Joseph-Folz Amphitheatre in Kadish Park.
After 3 successful seasons in the Alumni Courtyard on the campus at Alverno College, Shakespeare in the Park is moving to the recently constructed Selig-Joseph Folz Amphitheatre in Kadish Park located at 308 E Lloyd St in Milwaukee. According to veteran lighting designer Jason Fassl, the new amphitheater, “is magic.”
Kadish Park, named for Alice Bertschy Kadish, a Milwaukee Public Schools teacher, is at the crossroads of four diverse Milwaukee neighborhoods; Riverwest, the Eastside, and Brewer’s Hill, with a sliver of Harambee nearby. It is managed by the COA Youth & Family Centers (Children’s Outing Association), and the new amphitheater is the vision of its Executive Director, Tom Schneider. The COA is one of Milwaukee’s most venerable community organizations.
The amphitheatre features built in retaining wall seating which will expand on audience capacity. In 2012, seating reservations for free Shakespeare in the Park booked solid within 36 hours. This seating configuration will increase availability and ease. Translation: No More Reservations Required! Come and enjoy this lovely public park, picnic, and stake out a space to see the play when the ‘house’ opens.
The amphitheatre makes its premiere on July 9th, 2013 with a grand ceremony and music performance of the Skyline Music Series. Optimist Theatre will be the inaugural theatre company to perform at the new venue. Performances of AS YOU LIKE IT begin on July 12th.
Kadish Park is easily accessible by Milwaukee County Transit System and the Oak Leaf Bike Trail. Free street parking is also available around the park and in the COA lot.
AS YOU LIKE IT Performance Dates:
July 11 Preview for Media
July 12 Opening Night
July 13, 14
July 18, 19, 20, 21
Possible additional dates: July 25, 26, 28
About free Shakespeare in the Park Milwaukee – Now in its 4th year, Optimist Theatre brings the grand tradition of free Shakespeare in the Park to Milwaukee. Beginning in 2010 with THE TEMPEST, starring theatre legend James Pickering as Prospero, in 2011, Optimist presented TWELFTH NIGHT, directed by Laura Gordon and starring Todd Denning, and in 2012 MACBETH, starring Marti Gobel and Tom Reed.
For More Information: Visit the Optimist Theatre website at www.OptimistTheatre.org for details about the 2013 season and to find out more about the Kickstarter campaign.
Susan Scot Fry
* Todd Denning is a member of Actors Equity Association.