Shakespeare By the River Presents “The Taming of the Shrew”

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The third annual Shakespeare by the River production opens this weekend.

People passing by Muskingum Park in recent days may have noticed that a scene from the wild west has taken shape around the gazebo. The open-air setting will provide the backdrop to the third annual Shakespeare by the River production of The Taming of the Shrew.

The production runs Thursday through Sunday for the next two weekends — June 30 through July 3 and July 7 through July 10. All shows begin at 8:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

In an unusual twist, director Andy Felt is setting the play in the late 19th-century American West, rather than its original 16th century Italy.

Baptista, a rich merchant, announces that his fair young daughter, Bianca, will remain unwed until her older sister, Katherine—ill tempered and strong willed—has wed. Lucentio, a student and the son of another wealthy merchant, has fallen in love with Bianca. He poses as a tutor of music and poetry to gain entrance to the Baptista household and to be near Bianca. Meanwhile, Petruchio, a fortune-hunting scoundrel, arrives in town, hoping to capture a wealthy wife. Hortensio, another suitor of Bianca, directs Petruchio’s attention to Katharina. When Hortensio warns him about Katharina’s scolding tongue and fiery temper, Petruchio takes the warning as a challenge and resolves to capture her love.

The production features a cast of 18 professional and pre-professional actors from around the region and Marietta. Several of the cast members and production staff were involved with the recent production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! at Peoples Bank Theatre.

Shakespeare by the River is a joint effort of Marietta College and the Hippodrome/Colony Historical Theatre Association and the City of Marietta. The production is also made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artsbridge and Paskawych Entertainment.