#97 – Shakespeare in the Park
Southmoreland Park, Oak Street, Kansas City, MO
Cost: Free! (Though donations are encouraged).
Atmosphere: Hot, crowded and
Features: Food and drink vendors,
Good for: Getting cultured af.
Tip: If you want a seat close to the stage, arrive early!
Shakespeare in the Park is part of a free, outdoor festival devoted to performing the works of Shakespeare to a diverse audience. Now in its 26th year, Shakespeare in the Park has become a Kansas City summer tradition.
History of Shakespeare in the Park
This year marks the 26th year of Shakespeare in the Park. The annual play is produced by The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, a non-profit dedicated to presenting high-quality professional productions of Shakespeare’s works and year-round education programs for children.
The play is performed over the span of three weeks in Southmoreland Park, near the Nelson Atkins and Kemper Contemporary Art Museum. It’s a great location for the play, but parking can be a bit of an issue. It is mostly street parking, but if you park a few blocks away, you’ll be just fine.
We saw Much Ado About Nothing, one of Shakespeare’s comedies. I read the Wikipedia article as a refresher of the play (Couldn’t remember its premise, though I’m sure I read it in high school).
Basically, the title of the play says it all. There was a great fuss about nothing. Two couples (Benedick and Beatrice, Claudio and Hero) who are both destined to marry, almost do not after rumors of infidelity and deception. Spoiler alert – they both end up together.
They did speak in Elizabethan English, which can be hard to follow, but overall, the performance was great.
The festival is also super accommodating. While they recommend you buy from the festival, they allow you to bring in your own food, drinks and chairs. The gates open at 6, but we got there closer to show time. It was packed, but we weren’t particularly concerned with being up front. We ended up towards the end of the park, but could still see and hear just fine.
The performances are quite long. Much Ado About Nothing started at 8pm and didn’t finish till nearly 10:30pm.
The play is performed for two more weeks (through July 1st), so you still have a chance to enjoy it for yourself. xx, Libbie.