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Shakespeare’s Irresistible Romantic Comedy Twelfth Night Tours Union County Parks this Summer

2015 Shakespeare in the Park's Next Stage Ensemble's performance of ROMEO AND JULIET
2015 Shakespeare in the Park Next Stage Ensemble’s performance of ROMEO AND JULIET

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is proud to announce the return Shakespeare in the Park featuring six free performances of Shakespeare’s irresistible romantic comedy Twelfth Night at parks throughout Union County this summer during July and August.

“Shakespeare is an icon of English literature whose magnificent manipulation of the English language transcends time,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “This summer’s tour of Twelfth Night in our parks provides an opportunity for residents of all ages to experience the most remarkable storyteller the world has ever known.”

Featuring the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Next Stage Ensemble, Twelfth Night is a story of mistaken identity, concealed truth, and comic revelation.

Malvolio from past performance of Twelfth Night.
Malvolio from past performance of Twelfth Night.

The summer tour of this charming comedy kicks off at Meisel Avenue Park in Springfield on Sunday, July 17 at 2 p.m.

Additional performances include:

Sunday, July 24 at Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield at 2 p.m.

Wednesday, July 27 at Raymond Wood Bauer Promenade (Amphitheater) in Linden at 7 p.m.

Sunday, July 31 at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside at 1 p.m.

Friday, August 5 at Rahway River Park in Rahway at 7 p.m.

Monday, August 8 at Oak Ridge Park in Clark at 7 p.m.
Admission is free to each of the six performances.



Pack a picnic and bring a blanket or lawn chairs and head out to Union County parks to enjoy Next Stage Ensemble’s abridged 75-minute performance of this time-honored story of mistaken identities, bewildering desires, practical jokes, and bawdy merriment – all in the name of love.  

Rich in song and music, Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare’s most popular romantic adventures. In the words of the Bard himself, “If music be the food of love, play on.”

After a tragic shipwreck, Viola finds herself washed ashore on the beach of Illyria, having lost her twin brother Sebastian in the storm.  Masquerading as a young boy, Viola enters the service of Duke Orsino, who is in love with the lady Olivia.  The Duke charges the disguised Viola to help him win Olivia’s hand.  Olivia, in pure Shakespearean style, falls in love with the disguised Viola who, in turn, has fallen in love with the Duke!  Combine this wonderful and charming romantic comedy with the hysterical figures of Malvolio, Sir Andrew Aquecheek and Sir Toby Belch, and you have one of Shakespeare’s most riotous comedies of mistaken identity!

The Next Stage Ensemble, the Shakespeare Theatre’s summer touring company of early career actors, is part of the Theatre’s Summer Professional Training Program which offers students working toward a career in the performing arts clear instruction, individual attention, and thoughtful and candid evaluation in a professional theatre environment. The Next Stage Ensemble works with The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s resident and guest directors to fully develop abridged productions of classic plays. The troupe tours to various locations throughout the state – including libraries, retirement homes and community centers.

Now in its 54th season, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is an independent, professional theatre company located on the Drew University campus. One of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation, serving 100,000 adults and children annually, it is New Jersey’s largest professional theatre company dedicated solely to Shakespeare’s canon and other world classics. Through its distinguished productions and education programs, the company strives to illuminate the universal and lasting relevance of the classics for contemporary audiences.

For more information or for a complete listing of summer events visit