Belly laughs return to the Delaware Shakespeare Summer Festival stage with The Merry Wives of Windsor, Wednesdays through Sundays from July 12—28, at Rockwood Park, 4651 Washington St. Extension, Wilmington.
This seventeenth annual outdoor festival is Del Shakes’ signature program, offering picnic-friendly entertainment under the stars. Tickets, ranging from $18—22, are on sale at delshakes.org.
The Merry Wives of Windsor is a ridiculously bold comedy that has brought us one of the most legendary characters of stage and screen: Falstaff. He fancies himself a suitor for two women—both married—fueled in his bravado and vanity by booze and ego. But the titular merry wives prove more than a match for him with their wit and ingenuity, coaxing him to hide in a basket of dirty underclothes. The larger-than-life Falstaff was considered to be “Shakespeare’s greatest creation” by American film icon Orson Welles. Falstaff appears in three of the Bard’s plays, and is homaged in opera, film, and even the Marvel comic, Thor.
Krista Apple, returning to Del Shakes after performing Beatrice in the fall 2018 community tour of The Merchant of Venice, makes her Del Shakes directorial debut. She said, “What made me fall in love with this play is that it’s radically domestic. The people we are rooting for and cheering on are everyday people. The problems of the play are people having to work out how to live together. They have fun together; they fail together; they love together. They even teach each other.”
Apple is a HotHouse Company Member at the Wilma Theater, a member of the acting faculty at University of the Arts, and a contributor to American Theatre Magazine.
“It is a treat to be back home for the Summer Festival after a year of the broadest and most frequent year-round programming we’ve ever delivered,” said David Stradley, producing artistic director of Delaware Shakespeare. “We’ve opened caskets of gold in Georgetown, mourned Annabel Lee in Dover, delivered sonnets in Smyrna, and we are ready to pry open the world that is our oyster back in Rockwood Park for the Summer Festival.”
Additional passes, including a two-show pass, an unlimited attendance Summer Festival pass, and a pass that combines Summer Festival tickets and tickets to this fall’s Romeo and Juliet are available for $43—$65. A limited number of pre-placed lawn chairs are available in reserved locations on a nightly basis, with a $42 Saved Seat ticket. Children five and under are admitted free every night. Children twelve and under are admitted free on Sundays when accompanied by a paid adult admission.
Guests are advised to plan extra time to reach Rockwood Park, as Marsh Road detours are expected to continue through the Summer Festival. The Del Shakes website will be updated throughout the festival season with detour information.
Following the Summer Festival is the annual “Shakespeare, Poe and Fiends” reading, returning October 11—14, 2019, multiple venues, and Del Shakes’ Community Tour of Romeo and Juliet, October 23 through November 17, 2019, statewide venues. The Community Tour visits shelters, community centers and prisons, culminating in a ticketed public performance in Wilmington.