We're closing in on the end of the year, and while holidays and festivities are swirling in the air, now is the time for charity. With that in mind, I'd like to promote a worthy cause - the Michigan Shakespeare Festival.
My history with the MSF goes back 15 years, to my playing Mercutio it David Doersch's ROMEO & JULIET, and one of the twins in Gregg Henry's THE COMEDY OF ERRORS. In subsequent years I returned to play Petruchio, Don Pedro, Laertes, Antonio the Pirate, Oberon, Pistol in Henry V, and Macbeth. I've directed RICHARD III for them, and done the fights for 10 shows over the years. I've spent as much time on the MSF stages, both indoor and out, as I have at Chicago Shakespeare and First Folio - in fact the only company I've done more shows for is A Crew Of Patches.
Most of that is due to the former Artistic Director, John Neville-Andrews. Working with John was always a treat, and under him I grew to love Shakespeare more than ever. I can say that many of my ideas for THE MASTER OF VERONA and several other projects grew out of my time at the MSF.
Last year John retired, and my wife, Janice L Blixt, was named the Artistic Director of the company. After a very successful first season, she's gearing up for her second. For her first full-year plan, she's not only producing three full-length, full-cast classical summer shows, she's also presenting a free children's show and a professional school tour of ROMEO & JULIET to all of southeast Michigan. After only three weeks of reservations, she's gotten interest from over 40 schools in 9 counties, representing thousands upon thousands of students.
So while I owe the MSF a great deal for our wonderful past, I have an even more vested interest in its future. Under Jan's leadership, the Festival is reaching out to schools and teachers, clubs and unions, seniors and students, all to foster and grow a love for the most important writer in our life, William Shakespeare.
So at this generous time of year, I ask my friends and readers to take a moment at donate to the MSF. Even the smallest amount is appreciated - these are tough times for the Arts. A $10 donation would be lovely, and a $25 donation earns you praise in our program.
You can donate to the Michigan Shakespeare Festival here.
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Thank you, and have a Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year.