Much Ado About Summer
This is an
on-line version of an article
appeared in the June 16, 2002 issue of
Union City Reporter for the first showing of
The Merchant of Venice which kicked off our
2002 Shakespeare Festival.
Much ado about summer entertainment
City holds its first Shakespeare in the Park series
Reporter staff writer
SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK – The Hudson Shakespeare Company performed A
Merchant in Venice in Ellsworth Park in Union City on June 12.
Not even the
rain could stop the production of William Shakespeare's The Merchant of
Venice on June 12. Performed at Ellsworth Park on 24th Street and New York
Avenue, the play wowed the 20 or so viewers who came prepared with their
This production was the first for Union City's new Shakespeare in the Park
series. Hudson Shakespeare will present two more productions in Ellsworth
Park this summer.
King Lear will be performed on July 10, and Measure for Measure on Aug. 14.
Both of these performances will begin at 8 p.m. and were sponsored by the
Union City Department of Parks and Public Property.
Hudson Shakespeare, based out of Jersey City and Hoboken, will be performing
nine Shakespeare in the Park shows throughout the county this summer.
However, this program is only part of the company's summer season. According
to Cheryl Rossillo, who directed last week's performance of A Merchant in
Venice, the company also performs other shows throughout the year.
"Give us a space, whether it be a dime or a phone booth," said L. Robert
Johnson, the company's producer, who said that they used to call it
environmental theater. "If you gives us a space we will perform."
The company, formed in 1992, began with a stage reading in Hamilton Park in
Jersey City. Now the company has expanded to perform throughout the county
in any venue.
"In the parks you always have passersby or kids on skateboards," said Jon
Ciccarelli, who is also a producer for the company. "It is always
interesting to see who doesn't expect to watch the show stay awhile."
Department of Parks and Public Works Commissioner Michael Leggiero said that
Shakespeare in the Park is just one of the new entertainment series the city
is planning to bring to its parks.
"We are trying to bring cultural variety to the community," said Leggiero.
"We are hoping in the future to have a full summer schedule of entertainment
in the community. We want to make [our schedule] as diversified as our
The city is also looking to add to the summer schedule more musical
entertainment, including jazz groups.
Leggiero said he is also looking to bring in some art fairs and shows.
However, he said he needs the community's support in creating this schedule.
"If more people take an interest in some ideas we will support it," said
Union City Reporter 2002