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Toms River to Host Third Annual Shakespeare Festival

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A past performance at the Toms River Shakespeare Festival. (Facebook Photo)
A past performance at the Toms River Shakespeare Festival. (Facebook Photo)

The Toms River Shakespeare Festival will be returning this summer to perform William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, directed by TRSF Producing Artistic Director and Founder, Lori Garrabrant.

A preview performance will be held outdoors on August 7 at the St. Elisabeth’s Chapel on 3rd Avenue at Ortley Beach and will open and run at Huddy Park, August 8 – 11. Show times are at 7PM Wednesday – Saturday and at 3 PM on Sunday.

“Our doubts are traitors and make(s) us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”

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A young novice nun must persuade the Duke of Vienna’s corrupt deputy, Angelo, to spare her brother’s life but when Angelo proposes a salacious bargain to redeem him, where will she turn and who will believe her? The play strikes a familiar note of recognition even today.

This year TRSF has introduced a rain policy. The Ortley Beach performance will move indoors at St. Elisabeth’s Chapel in the event of any inclement weather and at Huddy Park, shows will move to Christ Episcopal Church, Toms River. Should inclement weather threaten on the day of a performance and necessitate a move indoors, a decision will be announced on the website (www.trshakespeare.org) and to TRSF subscribers via email by 3pm Wednesday-Saturday and by 12 noon on Sunday.

Measure for Measure marks Toms River Shakespeare Festival’s third season, following last year’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and 2017’s inaugural production of The Tempest. Both productions featured a mix of local and New York talent for cast and crew, including Toms River OCVTS Performing Arts Academy graduates and interns. The cast of Measure for Measure will include many familiar faces from previous productions, as well as some new talent.

“We’re thrilled to return to Toms River for our 3rd season,” said Ms. Garrabrant. “Our great hope is to be able to continue to bring these timeless texts and stories to life and to create theatre that is inclusive, accessible and FREE for all! Your belief in our Festival and your enduring support serve to counter any doubts that Shakespeare is alive and well and thriving in 2019 (and indeed, for all time).”

A Toms River native, Lori Garrabrant earned her undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and did her post-graduate training in Classical Acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art [LAMDA]. She now resides in Manhattan with her partner, Kevin, and their two children. Ms. Garrabrant proposed producing a Shakespeare Festival in Toms River to Mayor Kelaher in the summer of 2016 and to the Board of Directors for the Downtown Business Improvement District in early 2017 in celebration of 400 years since Shakespeare and 250 years since Toms River. Local reception has been extremely positive and audiences have increased measurably with every run.

A suggested donation of $5 is requested and it is advised to bring a beach/lawn chair and/or picnic blanket to enjoy seating at the park or at St. Elisabeth’s Chapel outdoors at Ortley Beach. Food and refreshments will be available for purchase from our local food vendor, Thyme for All Seasons.