Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre announces new season

The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre is selling memberships for its third season, which is set for June 10 through 28, 2009, at the Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall on the UCA campus.

The third season will include popular Shakespeare titles Macbeth and The Taming of the Shrew, the children’s classic The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; and the Arkansas premiere of the Broadway smash hit, Mel Brooks’ The Producers.

“We’re terribly excited for all of these shows,” said Matt Chiorini, producing artistic director of AST. “To be the first Arkansas theater to mount a production of The Producers is a great honor.”

Memberships start at the $50 level (Knights and Maidens) and go up to $100 (Lords and Ladies) and $250 (Kings and Queens).Also being discussed this year are the addition of on-site licensed child-care during some performances, family nights with pre-show picnics and performances, a special event in Little Rock, an in-schools tour of Macbeth sponsored by Chesapeake Energy, a partnership with Little Rock Tours for a Father’s Day package for visitors from Little Rock and the continuation of last year’s popular “Bard Ball.”

After a successful 2008 summer festival that saw a 63 percent increase in ticket sales and a greater proportion of out-of-town visitors, Chiorini is confident that the festival will continue to grow and attract an audience from all over Arkansas.

“There is nowhere else in Arkansas that people can come in and see a quality Shakespeare show in the afternoon and then a Broadway hit musical in the evening,” he said. “We hire a tremendous group of artists to create four first-rate productions, and more and more people are beginning to realize what a hidden treasure we’ve got here. We continue to offer something for everyone and hope they’ll keep coming back for more. Conway has never been more worth the drive.”

Memberships supporting the festival are available at Tickets and season tickets will be available in the spring. For more information, call Chiorini at (501) 269-4815.