2010 "Love's Labor's Lost" photographed by JeffFrazier
William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost is an enchanting evening of theatre under the stars at The Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s 23rd Annual Shakespeare in Centennial Park.

Love’s Labor’s Lost is a witty romantic comedy about four young men who take an oath to dedicate three years to strict study, renouncing the distractions of love and the company of women. But on that very day, four beautiful women show up, and nature takes her course!

Shakespeare in the Park has long been a staple of the American theatre scene across our great country. Our own vibrant, innovative, and creative troop, the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, has been mounting one great Bard moment after another in the park since 1988. Shakespeare in the Park has become an annual tradition for 10,000–15,000 people for twenty-two years, and the NSF hopes to continue to provide this experience for many years to come.

From "Macbeth" 2006
Director Denice Hicks: “Performing Shakespeare is like performing music in many ways, and the majority of the professional actors in Nashville also have musical abilities. This makes them wonderful Shakespearean actors! Every show is cast by audition each year, and we are always glad to give newcomers the opportunity to do the show in the Park. This year’s cast of Love’s Labor’s Lost includes some favorites from past seasons (Brenda Sparks, playing the scholar Holofernes, did her first show with us in 1996; Tom Angland was in the 1992 production of Much Ado About Nothing; Alex Murray, taking on the role of Costard the swain this year, played Catesby for our Richard III; and Eric Pasto-Crosby who was our Horatio in 2008, will be Berowne), and we are delighted to feature Joseph Robinson, Nettie Kraft, Shannon Hoppe, Ricardo Puerta and Jeff Boyet, in their Nashville Shakespeare Festival debuts! We also will feature ten college and high school student apprentices in supporting roles. Our apprentices are cast by audition and receive fifty hours of intensive training in performance before joining the full company for rehearsals. This year’s Apprentice Company includes students from four different colleges and several public and private high schools. We also frequently have home-schooled students in the company. Offering these young artists the opportunity to train and perform along with Nashville’s best professionals is a very important part of our mission.”

Love’s Labor’s Lost, focusing on the theme of “the birds and the bees,” will be set in the late nineteenth century. Bustles and tailcoats, gloves, fans, and whimsical hats will make the show look like a Victorian valentine. Adding a layer of physical comedy, the actors have studied birds’ courtship rituals in order to incorporate the distinctive bobbing, strutting, and fluttering of birds into their performances.

Denice Hicks, photographed by Jeff Frazier
Denice Hicks: “The great outdoors demands great performances which require major energy. When nine hundred people are gathered to see a Shakespearean play under a beautiful Tennessee sky and the moon rises and the geese fly over, there is magic in the air! The audience is so relaxed, sprawled on their blankets or in their lawn chairs, full from their picnics, enchanted by the evening.”

Love’s Labor’s Lost features original music, with the violinist taking on the role of Cupid. This show will delight all ages with colorful, animated characters, clownish antics, romance, and ridiculousness in the pursuit of love!

Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost directed by Denice Hicks, August 19–September 12, 2010. Performances Thursdays through Sundays and Labor Day Monday at the Centennial Park Bandshell—6:30 p.m. pre-show entertainment, 7:30 p.m. show, with food and drink available on-site.


by Jim Reyland

Crowd at Shakespeare in the Park

2007 "Merry Wives"
2006 "Macbeth"
1993 "Comedy of Errors"

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