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Summer sends Shakespeare outdoors to play in Royal Oak

Katie Galazka, Andrew Papa and Zach Hendrickson appear in The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised], Shakespeare Royal Oak's daylight show August 2-10 in Royal Oak's Starr Jaycee Park.
Katie Galazka, Andrew Papa and Zach Hendrickson appear in The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised], Shakespeare Royal Oak's daylight show August 2-10 in Royal Oak's Starr Jaycee Park.
Photo credit: SMyers

The 14th Shakespeare Royal Oak event is getting ready to roll in the city’s Starr Jaycee Park. The annual outdoor summer theatre festival, which runs from July 28 through August 10, 2014, is presented by Water Works Theatre Company and offers two distinct productions plus two youth educational programs.

The two productions offer a lovely contrast of drama and comedy – “Hamlet” and “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised].”

This year, Water Works founder Ed Nahhat realizes a personal dream to direct Shakespeare's classic tragedy under the open sky, as it was first produced 400 years ago. "When we began the process of setting up the outdoor theatre for our first production – a process we go through from the ground up each summer – I knew the setting in Starr Jaycee Park was perfect for ‘Hamlet," states Nahhat. "Now, 14 years later, we're able to put together a remarkable cast that will bring Shakespeare's most incredible play to life." Water Works' “Hamlet will remain loyal to the Bard's genius and the Dane's perfect soliloquies, with a cast of Michigan's finest actors and designers bringing this thrilling clash of deadly swords and even sharper wit to Starr Jaycee Park. Interestingly, Drew Parker, who had some brilliant moments as Prince Hamlet in the Tipping Point comedy “I Hate Hamlet,” takes the lead in this production. “Hamlet will play at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday night and at 5 p.m. on Sundays July 31and August 10. Tickets ($20) are on sale now online.

“The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised]
For its 5th annual Daylight Show, Water Works Theatre Company will present what is possibly one of the most entertaining plays you will ever see: "The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised]" by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield. This manic performance takes the entire Shakespeare canon, throws it in a blender, and serves it up in Dixie cups. Forget any assumptions you have about the gravitas of Shakespeare – all of the roles are played by three incredible local actors and the results are hilarious. Directed by Water Works Artistic Director Sarah Catheryn Wolf, “Complete Works” is sure to leave audiences laughing all the way home! This daylight show is appropriate for ages 10 and older and runs just over 90 minutes. Show are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays on August 2,3,9 and 10, and also at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 5 and Wednesday, August 6. Tickets ($10) are on sale now online.

Outdoor Youth Educational Programs

As part of the Shakespeare Royal Oak festivities, Water Works Theatre Company is offering performance-minded students a chance to learn from experts and to perform on the outdoor stage in Starr Jaycee Park July 28 - August 9. There are two programs:

  • Water Works Academy is a one-week intensive for high school and pre-college students that gives young actors the chance to create their own play in the park using a "summer stock" company approach. Working professionals guide students as they embark on the adventure of writing, directing, stage managing, designing and performing a one-of-a-kind piece of theatrical magic on the Shakespeare stage in Starr Jaycee Park. Water Works Academy classes are July 28 - August 2, tuition is $200 per student. A few spots remain available online using online regsitration with PayPal. Registration may also be available in the park on Monday July 28.
  • KidsAct! is a one-week educational experience for students entering grades 1 through 8. Water Works' professional staff will encourage students' natural confidence and inspire their creative expression. Students love the open park setting and revel in discovering the basics of Shakespeare, safe stage combat, dance, improv and scene work. Tuition is $200 per student with a few spots still available through online registration or by emailing

Both Water Works Academy and KidsAct! will conclude with an all-ages show. The Water Works Academy show will occur on August 2 at 10 a.m. The KidsAct! show will take place on August 8 at 10 a.m. Both will take place on the Shakespeare Royal Oak stage in Starr Jaycee Park and are free for all ages and open to the public.

Seating in the Starr Jaycee Park outdoor theatre is first come, first served with an area for blankets on the lawn close to the stage. Low-to-the-ground lawn chairs are placed behind blankets followed by tall lawn chairs toward the back of the lawn area. Bleacher seating is available along the perimeter of the lawn and accessible seating is available throughout the outdoor theatre.

Guests cannot bring their own adult beverages, but Water Works Theatre Company will have beer, wine and coffee for sale during performances of “Hamlet” for guests with proper I.D. The company is proudly serving beer from Royal Oak brewery Milking It Productions and wine & coffee from local distributor Five O'Clock Brands. Non-alcoholic beverages with snacks and concessions are available at all Shakespeare Royal Oak performances. Convenient parking is available at or adjacent to Starr Jaycee Park. For more information, visit the program website at

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