Thursday, August 6, 2015


What a great setting for a theatrical production:  the Beardsley Park Zoo in Bridgeport!  Until Sunday, August 9, the zoo will entertain more than a menagerie of monkeys and pride of peacocks when the Connecticut Free Shakespeare presents the 17th century Spanish romantic comedy "Mornings of April and May" by Pedro Calderon de la Barca.

Think a funny soap opera where rumors and revenge, disguises and disgrace, treachery and tarnished honor, lying and love are all mixed up in a potpourri of dancing and singing.  Ellen Lieberman, Producing Artistic Director, has assembled a grand young cast of Actors' Equity members and candidates who play the ladies and gentlemen who think they are in love, want to be in love, hope they fall in love and even commit murder in the name of love.

With lace mantillas, flowered fans, twirling parasols, swirling skirts and concealing veils, Dona Ana (Katrina Foy) and Dona Clara (Marca Leigh) and their maids Lucia (Lynette Marshall) and Ines (Caitlin Barone) play games in the park and lure the unfaithful Don Hipolito (Ian Eaton), the fiance of Dona Clara to reveal his true colors.  Think conniving cad meets Casanova.  For her part, Dona Ana has been in seclusion since her intended, Don Juan, (Alex Schneps) killed a man he believed was engaged in a secret assignation with Ana.

Now, years later, Don Juan has returned to Madrid, sought refuge at his friend Don Pedro's (Sergio Mauritz Ang) home, hoping to rectify his interrupted courtship with Ana. Unfortunately Don Luis (Mark Friedlander) has pledged to kill Don Juan, the man who took his cousin's life and a fierce sword fight ensues.  Happily Don Pedro's manservant Arceo (Gavin McNicholl) provides comic help for Don Juan and, in the process, wins the hand of the witty lady Lucia.  Trickery abounds, friendships are tested, loyalties are strained, identities are mistaken, all in the name of Cupid's career.

With Bertram Garskof as Executive Producer, Elizabeth Popiel's artistic tiled set, Valerie Henry's splendid costumes, Jaz Dorsey's original music and lyrics and a fine troupe of actors, "Mornings of April and May" is a delightful way to spend a summer evening with the family, with or without a picnic supper.

Performances are 6-8 p.m. tonight, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Bring blankets or lawn chairs. Admission is free but donations are most welcome.  The zoo opens for picnics at 5:15 p.m. and is located at 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport.  Rain may cancel a performance so call the info line at 203-916-8066.  Parking is also free.

Grab the kiddies and your picnic gear and go to the zoo for comic courtships and music filled match makings.

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