Fairs and Festivals

Once again, it’s that lovely and amazing time of year: summer. After a terribly long, icy winter and slow-starting spring, the sun is shining — and the region is bursting with events ripe for the picking. Whether you’re looking for quality theater, classical music, family fun, or anything in between (and we do mean anything — classic motorcycles, anyone?), there’s a fair or festival somewhere in the Valley to help you celebrate the season


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Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

June 20-Sept. 6

Methinks it shall be yet another fantastic year for the Valley’s own critically acclaimed professional Shakespeare company. Now in its 23rd year, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival has morale to spare as it launches its 2009 Eco-Comic Stimulus Season, featuring three special plays from the Swan of Avon: perennial favorite Much Ado About Nothing, the raucously funny Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), and the lesser-known Pericles.

“I’m really looking forward to doing Pericles,” admits festival Artistic Director Terrence O’Brien. “It’s a brilliant, unusual production. A lot of people will be seeing it for the first time. We always try to do something less known, to try to let the audience know that Shakespeare is fun, not dusty.” That edifying mission is part of what has made the HVSF so endearing to the thousands of patrons who flock to performances summer after summer in the unique, open-air tent theater perched upon the picturesque grounds of the historic Boscobel mansion in Garrison.

This year’s company — 12 professional actors, all HVSF veterans, and eight apprentices — opens the season June 20 with an encore production of last year’s wildly popular Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). While not technically by the Bard himself, the clever parody covers all 37 of his plays in 97 minutes, with only three actors. “It’s very funny,” promises O’Brien. “It’s one of the shows where people come back again, and bring friends.”

Much Ado About Nothing, one of Will’s best-known romantic comedies, opens June 27, and the action-packed adventure Pericles follows on July 4. All three productions run through September 6. Inside tip: buy tickets for June or July. “We’re usually sold out most of August,” warns O’Brien. So, pack a picnic to enjoy before the show (or order a premade dinner through the box office), and wander around the expansive lawn and formal gardens, where more than 600 rose bushes flower continuously from June through the fall. And while you’re planning your trip to the bonny banks of the Hudson, allow for some time to spend at Boscobel’s cozy new state-of-the-art exhibition gallery (complete with two fireplaces) on the mansion’s first floor. Last year’s opening exhibit was dubbed “a little treasure” by the New York Times. Their second major show, Home on the Hudson: Women and Men Painting Landscapes: 1825-1875, includes the work of several painters from the Hudson River School. Admission is just $5 for HVSF ticket holders.

Tues.-Sun. $29-$46. 845-265-9575; www.hvshakespeare.org


See the next page for a Q&A with HVSF Artistic Director Terrence O’Brien, or keep clicking for more festivals!


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