Montclair Shakespeare Series brings culture.
“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, then listen up! The Montclair Shakespeare Series is a newly founded group of talented professionals that perform concert readings of Shakespeare’s most famous works, accompanied by live acoustic music. Hoping to expand the cultural community of Montclair by celebrating Shakespeare’s work, the Montclair Shakespeare Series will perform a reading event each month at various historic venues across the community of Montclair.
Melissa Toomey, freelance actress and artistic director of the Montclair Shakespeare Series, is a recent graduate of the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at SUNY Purchase. Toomey recently founded the series that focuses on the actors’ ability to bring the characters to life without intricate costumes, decorated sets or movement. A typical play showcases the readings that are read by the actors and actresses with the script in hand. This allows for the audience to admire the raw talent of the professionals and the classical language written by Shakespeare.
On May 20, 2015, the Montclair Shakespeare Series launched with the one-night-only reading of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. With a sold-out house at the Montclair Women’s Club, the eager spectators who attended the event were curious to see what Montclair Shakespeare Series was all about. Following the inaugural opening, on June 30 the Montclair Shakespeare Series had the second reading, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the third reading, As You Like It on July 23. Both events took place at the Van Vleck House and Gardens.
After three very successful events, the Montclair Shakespeare Series decided to take a month to recuperate and not carry out a reading for the month of August. This allowed Toomey and the rest of the group to “recharge” and prepare for the upcoming fall season.
The Montclair Shakespeare Series recently announced that the first reading of the fall will be one of Shakespeare’s most famous works, The Tempest. The event was originally set for Sept. 24 at the Van Vleck House and Gardens, but had to be postponed due to funding and scheduling issues.
Since all the readings are free and open to the public, the Montclair Shakespeare Series relies on donations and funding for things such as venue booking costs and travel expense required for members coming to Montclair from NYC to perform. Not only that, but with the help of donations and funding, the Montclair Shakespeare Series will expand their programming and outreach.
“We’re happy to get the word out every way we can, as we are still in our early stages as a company,” said founder Toomey. Their goal is to continue the series into 2016 and possibly register as a non-profit organization in the future.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Montclair Shakespeare Series or about upcoming events and ticket sales, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/montclairshakespeare.