Producers ready for Shakespeare tragedy

A June rehearsal reveals quality of actors preparing to entertain Des Moines audiences

The Iowa Shakespeare Experience is brewing up an absolutely wicked concoction for its fourth season. Starring Janae Hohbein and Nick Toussaint, “Romeo and Juliet” will headline the 2012 Shakespeare Festival, July 18-22, in Greater Des Moines.

Three Razors Media caught up with the Iowa Shakespeare troupe at Simon Estes Amphitheater downtown during a mid-June rehearsal of the more than 400-year-old play, which reveals an intricate bond between young love and heartsick violence.

“Fear comes upon me. O, much I fear some ill unlucky thing.” – Friar Laurence

Period costumes, rapier sword fighting, atmospheric lighting and other special effects are planned for the 2012 production of “Romeo and Juliet,” a classic filled with the wide-range of raw emotions that coincide with gut-wrenching adoration and lives cut short.

Mainstage performances of the Renaissance-style show will kick off nightly on July 18, July 20, July 21 and July 22. The curtain goes up at 8 p.m. for all main stage shows downtown. On Thursday, July 19, a special Shakespeare on our Lawn traveling “Will Call” highlights show is scheduled to take place at the Jordan House mansion in West Des Moines. Patrons may attend Wednesday’s performance for a nominal gate charge of $5. Show up to early enjoy an ice cream social hour under the oaks on the historic West Des Moines home’s lawn.

The amphitheater gates swing open at 6 p.m. for picnics, pre-show concerts and other activities as 17 local and regional artists set their hearts on turning producers Robin Heinemann and Lorenzo Sandoval’s 2012 interpretation of the play into an emotional joyride for Shakespeare lovers both young and young at heart. If the high-caliber of talent displayed at an early-stage rehearsal is any indication of what’s in store next month, fans will surely flock to watch the timeless tragedy unfold on the Des Moines riverfront while enjoying a full-costumed version of this and other climatic scenes.

More information about the Iowa Shakespeare Experience and 2012 Festival, including details about how kind donations to the nonprofit organization help to support the arts in Central Iowa, may be found at

Three Razors Media is a proud community sponsor of the Iowa Shakespeare Experience 2012 Festival. Many thanks to John Mandelbaum, Justin Mandelbaum, Brad Brody, DesMoinesArts and Shrieking Tree for their contributions to this project.

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