Shakespeare in the Park premieres in Basalt |

Shakespeare in the Park premieres in Basalt

Staff report

After a 12-year run in Aspen, the Hudson Reed Ensemble is opening its first Shakespeare in the Park production in Basalt this summer.

Hudson Reed’s artistic director Kent Reed said the move was a year in the making and was necessary because of the loss of rehearsal and performance space in Aspen.

“I have spent most of my creative life in Aspen and leaving is like leaving home and starting afresh,” Reed said. “But leaving home is a growth experience and I am so pleased that the town of Basalt has opened it’s arms to us and we are very excited to become a part of Basalt’s vibrant and growing arts community.”

The ensemble will be performing in Midland Park adjacent to the Basalt Regional Library in Old Town Basalt.

“It’s a small, intimate park nestled alongside the river, making it ideal for our Shakespeare productions.” Reed explained.

The company will perform a series of three scenes from Shakespeare’s most popular plays: “Richard III,” “The Taming of The Shrew” and “Romeo and Juliet.”

The company has shifted the settings of the plays. “Richard III” introduces England’s Wars of the Roses, while “The Taming of the Shrew” is set in Deadwood, South Dakota, with Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok, and “Romeo and Juliet” takes place in Renaissance Italy.

The hourlong evening of scenes mirrors the first season of Shakespeare in the Park in Aspen.

“Just as in Aspen 12 years ago, we wanted to initiate folks unacquainted with Shakespeare to gain an appreciation of his work through these bite-sized, easy to digest, samples of his work,” Reed said.

Cast members include Chris Wheatley, Talulah Marolt, Naomi Havlen, Rodrigo Perez and Kent Reed.

The free performances are today, Saturday and Sunday, as well as July 19 and July 21. Curtain is 7 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring a picnic.