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Union County’s Shakespeare in the Park Tour of Twelfth Night Kicks Off This Weekend in Springfield

Union County’s free Shakespeare in the Park tour of Twelfth Night kicks off this weekend at Meisel Avenue Park in Springfield on Sunday, July 17 at 2 p.m. Sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, admission is free.

Pack a picnic and bring a blanket or lawn chairs and head out to Meisel Avenue Park this Sunday to enjoy Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Next Stage Ensemble’s abridged one-hour performance of this time-honored story of mistaken identities, bewildering desires, practical jokes, and bawdy merriment – all in the name of love.  

“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,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen.

Malvolio from past Next Stage Ensemble performance of Twelfth Night.
Malvolio from past Next Stage Ensemble performance of Twelfth Night.

Additional performances in Union County parks 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.

One of Shakespeare’s most popular romantic adventures, Twelfth Night is rich in song and music. 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. Come out to Union County parks this summer to the see Next Stage Ensemble’s performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

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