Ives Concert Park announces open-air theatre, music, cultural festivals
DANBURY, CONN. — Music, comedy, drama and dancing will be among the many art forms to take the stage at Ives Concert Park on the Westside campus of Western Connecticut State University, 43 Lake Ave. Ext. in Danbury this summer. Tickets for most events are on sale at www.wcsu.edu/tickets, by calling (203) 837-TIXX, or at the WCSU Box Office in the Westside Campus Center on the university’s Westside campus.
The Fine Arts season will begin in July when Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is staged at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 9, 10 and 11. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is perhaps Shakespeare’s most popular and widely performed comedy. This adaptation is 90 minutes filled with the humor of knotted love triangles, the pranks of mischievous fairies and the farcical ineptitudes of a band of tradesmen turned actors in an effort to win a prize at the wedding of the great Theseus, Duke of Athens. Children are encouraged to come early to participate in creative dramatics, crafts and games and become part of the production.
“Reynard the Fox” will be staged at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, July 11 and 12. A classic French fable written by Arthur Fauquez, “Reynard the Fox” tells the story of merry trickster Reynard, a sly but hilarious practical joker who goes a bit too far with his tricks. A visual highlight of the show will be the detailed, brightly colored costumes and make-up for Reynard and his friends Crow, Hedgehog, Bear, Wolf, Lion and Marmet.
“Into the Woods,” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, will be staged at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, July 17 and 18, and July 24 and 25. The show, presented by Sabrina’s Encore Productions, combines some of the most popular of Grimm’s Fairy Tales into one epic journey. Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Jack with his beanstalk participate in a timeless commentary on a world where princes double as wolves, and where “wishes come true, not free.” “Into the Woods” will be performed by a cast of 7th- through 10th-grade actors, accompanied by a professional six-piece orchestra. For ticket information, call (203) 304-1235 or visit www.sabrinasencoreproductions.com.
Shakespeare returns at 3 and 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2, with performances of “The Tempest.” Shakespeare’s final play, “The Tempest” has been described by some critics as a comedy and by others as a romance. It may be more of an autobiographical work in which the playwright has cast himself as the sorcerer, Prospero, in an attempt to “get his house in order.” Set on an enchanted island filled with surprises, it’s a story that will appeal to both young fans of Harry Potter and more serious Shakespeare aficionados.
At 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 9, the Ives Old Tyme Circus, a children’s stage show with family-oriented entertainment, will take the stage.
On Friday, Aug. 14, (time TBA), the Ives On-Stage Jazz Cabaret will present “A Salute to Sinatra” with the Mike Berkowitz Orchestra. Drummer/conductor Berkowitz currently is Liza Minelli’s musical director and has played with and conducted for Billy Joel, Elton John, Bette Midler and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. The concert will feature a night of Big Band Swing, dancing and dessert under the stars. This limited-seating event is a fundraiser to benefit the Charles Ives Authority for the Performing Arts. It is sponsored by Don and Pat Weeden, the Ethan Allen Hotel, Mulvaney Mechanical Inc. and Two Steps Downtown Grill. Ticket prices and information TBA.
As the summer winds down, Ives Concert Park will host a number of cultural festivals. Times and ticket information are still to be determined. These events will include the Ecuadorian Festival on Sunday, Aug. 16, and the annual Irish Festival from Friday, Sept. 11, through Sunday, Sept. 13.
On Friday, Aug. 28, the Manhattan String Quartet will perform at 6:30 p.m.
The season finale is the annual Ives Concert Park Family Fair, beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20. This free, multicultural celebration of the arts salutes the diversity and rich history of the Greater Danbury area. Daylong festivities will feature local performers such as the Philippine Cultural Group, Salsa Dancers, Sons of Portugal Folklore Dance Group, Ecuadorian Folk Dancers, Middle Eastern Belly Dancers and Polynesian Dancers, cultural drummers, a Marriachi band and the rousing Irish Mighty Ploughboys. There will be children’s entertainment and strolling Civil War re-enactors. Additional highlights will include a giant scarecrow, hay rides and a huge obstacle course. A variety of arts and crafts also will be featured, ranging from sand art to Russian handcrafts. The day will culminate with a performance by the Ives Festival Orchestra. The Ives Convert Park Family Fair is sponsored by the Danbury Cultural Commission, Savings Bank of Danbury and Don and Pat Weeden.
For more information, call the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486, visit the Ives Concert Park Facebook page or follow the venue on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IvesConcertPark.
Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.