By Tim Leeds 

'Midsummer/Jersey' opens tonight at Little Theatre


Lindsay Brown

Lela Philips, from left, Jordan Smith and Erika Holsapple watch Wednesday as Mindy Langel-Smith and Patrick Leeds speak during a rehearsal of “Midsummer/Jersey.”

The Montana Actors’ Theatre youth production company starts a two-week run of something old and something new tonight, with a mixture of Shakespeare and MTV.

“Midsummer/Jersey,” a blend of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Jersey Shore,” opens at 8 p.m. at the Little Theatre at Montana State University-Northern.

The play runs nearly to the start of another MAT summer tradition, its children’s theater camp, which is set to run Aug. 5-9.

“Midsummer/Jersey,” by award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig, brings classic Shakespearean characters such as Robin Goodfellow — Puck — and the king and queen of the fairies, Oberon and Titania, along with other classic characters, to New Jersey, where Shakespeare’s story of confusion in love, engagement and marriage is retold.

Ludwig, who has had six plays on Broadway and earned two Laurence Olivier Awards, three Tony nominations and a host of other awards, premiered “Midsummer/Jersey” in a slightly different venue. He opened the play in 2011 at James Robinson High School in Fairfax, Va.

The play uses an immense cast of young Havre actors, with 31 roles. Some of the actors are doubling up, but more than a score of young actors rehearsed the roles and will perform in the production.

The doors open at 7:30 tonight, with productions at 8 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday, as well as Thursday-Saturday next week, Aug. 1-3, at the Little Theatre on the west end of Cowan Hall at the university.

The children’s camp, which costs $35, will run from 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday, Aug. 5-9, also at the Little Theatre. After a week working on stage skills, the children, ages kindergarten through fifth grade, will produce a play at 7 p.m. Aug. 9.

Registration will be Aug. 4 from 4-6 p.m. or Aug. 5 from 8-9 a.m.

For more information, people can call Jessa Pyette at 945-1079.


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