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OJP’s Midsummer Shakespeare festival is back

This July, Ophelia’s Jump Productions’ Midsummer Shakespeare Festival returns to Pomona College’s Sontag Greek Theatre with a special presentation of William Shakespeare’s, The Winter’s Tale.

“The Winter’s Tale is unique in the annals of romantic comedy,” a news release about the event said. “It starts off like a tragedy, spins into comedy, and concludes with a fairy-tale happy ending. The play also contains the most famous stage direction in the history of theatrical literature. (Without giving away too much, it involves a bear.)”

The play follows King Leontes of Sicilia and King Polixenes of Bohemia, two life-long buddies to the benefit of their realms. That was until one day, Leontes suspects his Queen, Hermione, of infidelity after she was much too friendly with Polixenes. Leontes explodes into a jealous rage which has dire consequences for his loved ones.

Perdita, Hermione and Leontes’ infant daughter is then banished to Bohemia and left to die, but is saved by a passing shepherd and his son. Perdita “grows up into a great beauty, attracting the romantic attention of Florizel, Princess of Bohemia.”

However, their families’ royal houses, beset by grief and regret are still at odds. Is there any hope for the love of Perdita and Florizel? It will take an act of miraculous magic to make things right, if the lovers are ever to achieve their happily-ever-after.

It may be called The Winter’s Tale, but a romance with a fairy-tale ending is perfect for a summer evening.

Founding Associate Artistic Director of Ophelia’s Jump Productions Caitlin Lopez directs this production.

Known as an actor and improvisor, Lopez was a company member at Spectacles Improv Engine where she co-created teams and forms steeped in narrative genre work such as The Mechanicals, The Blankety Blank, and The Illegitimate Stage. Her directing credits with OJP include 33 Variations, Twelfth Night, The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Much Ado About Nothing, and As You Like It.

Her cast for The Winter’s Tale includes Austin Mooney, Conrad Cecil, Courtney Brechemin, Elana Aronson, Janette Valenzo, Justin Wickman, Liana-Rose Veratudela, Michael Johnson, Ryan Herrera, Scott Robinson, Sophia Dunn-Walker, Tania Esmeralda Vazquez and William Mueller. The production’s stage manager is Miranda Tejeda; lighting designer, Sheila Malone, and founding artistic director, Beatrice Casagrán.

Prior to the performance, the Sontag Greek Theatre, located behind Seaver Theatre, will be open early to accommodate picnickers. Concessions will include craft beer, wine and snacks. pre-show entertainment will be provided by a nightly Green Show beginning at 7 p.m.

The Winter’s Tale will open on Thursday, July 14 and the final performance will be held on Sunday, July 24. The show will run on Thursdays through Sundays at 8:00 p.m.

General admission begins at $30. College students with I.D. and children under 12 admission is $20. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit opheliasjump.org or call them at 909-734-6565.

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