Lots of plays these days are staged with musical underscoring, but how many of them have a full symphony orchestra with chorus?
Virginia theatregoers are the lucky ones this time, as William Shakespeare's magical woodland comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream, will get a staging partnered by both Virginia Stage Company and Virginia Symphony. This tale of mistaken identities and switched allegiances in love will be staged, May 1-3, by Paul Barnes, founding director of Oregon Cabaret Theatre.
(May 1 couldn't be a more appropriate date, by the way. Though the show's title refers to a "Midsummer Night," the shenanigans actually take place on May Day.)
Starring are Ken Bolden, Connan Morrissey, Scott Rollins, John Thomas Waite, Brian Quirk, Austin Coon, David McCann, Robert Nelson, Devid DeBeck, Miriam A. Laube, Carol Johnson, Michael Eric Strickland, Rex Young, Chrissy McDonald, Jason E. Stiles and Don Burroughs (as Puck).
Musically, this Midsummer will be complemented by Mendelssohn's incidental music, played by Virginia Symphony and the women of its Chorus, led by Chorus Master Robert Shoup. Soprano Georgeann Paddock and mezzo Faye Putnam will be featured. Also, members of the Children's Chorus will appear, led by Carol Thomas Downing. JoAnn Falletta, music director of Virginia Symphony, says of the marriage between play and playing, "Together we can combine the geniuses of Shakespeare and Mendelssohn in a collaboration of poetry and power."
Designing the production are Dex Edwards (set), Susan Branch (costumes), Kentony Yeager (lighting) and Joe Payne (sound).
Other plays by Shakespeare include Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors, Troilus and Cressida and The Merry Wives of Windsor.
For tickets ($9.72-$43.20) and information on A Midsummer Night's Dream at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk call (757)671-8100.
-- By David Lefkowitz