Magic, Mischief at Heart of 2010 Houston Shakespeare Festival

Free Performances of ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’ ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ to Run July 30 – Aug. 8

Summer's here. For many Houstonians, it's the season for swimming pools, sun tans and, of course, Shakespeare.

For more than three decades, the Houston Shakespeare Festival - a collaboration between the University of Houston and city of Houston -- has entertained audiences with free summer plays at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park. This year, the tradition continues with a double dose of comedy: "Much Ado About Nothing" directed by Sidney Berger and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" directed by Carolyn Houston Boone. Performances run July 30 - Aug. 8.

"We're doing two comedies this year, which is really fun for summer audiences," said Berger, the festival's co-founder and director. "They enjoy the comedies in outdoor settings. It makes for a leisurely theater experience for families and audiences of all ages."

The romantic comedy "Much Ado About Nothing" centers on a plot to divide young lovers Claudio and Hero. Aiding the torn couple are the constantly bickering Benedick and Beatrice (who may very well be in love with each other).

"The title is a bit ironic," Berger said. "In this play, there is much more substance than some audiences think. Loving someone is not always an easy thing to do. It's a story that focuses on two independent spirits who discover that they need each other."

One of the Bard's most popular plays, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" follows a romantic farce in a magical forest. Through fairy mischief and misdirected magic spells, lovers' lives are turned upside down. This particular production will transport the timeless comedy into an Art Deco forest.

Co-founded in 1975 by Berger, the Houston Shakespeare Festival has attracted thousands of Houstonians to Miller Outdoor Theatre. Performances have featured rising talents and esteemed stage veterans including Dan O'Herilhy and Ken Ruta.

Performances begin at 8:30 p.m. Admission is free, but tickets are required for covered seating and are available at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and one hour prior to each performance. For theater information, call 281-373-3386. For more details on HSF, visit


WHAT: Houston Shakespeare Festival: "Much Ado About Nothing," "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
WHEN: Performances begin at 8:30 p.m.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream": July 30, Aug. 1, 3, 5, 7
 "Much Ado About Nothing": July 31, Aug. 4, 6, 8
WHERE: Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park
WHO: The University of Houston's School of Theatre & Dance, the city of Houston