The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival begins on June 11, 2019, and runs through July 7 in Southmoreland Park.
Admission is FREE with seating managed on a first-come, first-served basis. You can bring along your own blanket or lawn chair or rent plastic chairs for $10 each. Premium reserved seats and blanket spaces are available for a fee.
This year’s production is Shakespeare in Love. Here’s a synopsis of the show from the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival website:
Will Shakespeare is a known but struggling poet, playwright and actor who not only has sold his next play to two different producers but now faces a far more difficult problem: he is bereft of ideas and has yet to begin writing his next masterpiece. He is in search of a muse, but all attempts fail him until he meets the beautiful Viola de Lesseps. She loves the theatre and would like nothing more than to take to the stage but is forbidden from doing so as only men can be actors. Viola is also a great admirer of Shakespeare’s works. Dressing as a man by the name of Thomas Kent, she auditions and is ideal for a part in his next play. Shakespeare soon sees through her disguise and they begin a love affair, one they know cannot end happily as he is already married and she has been promised to the aristocrat, Lord Wessex. As the company rehearses his new play, Will and Viola’s love is transferred to the written page leading to the masterpiece that is Romeo and Juliet.
Performances are nightly Tuesday through Sunday at 8 p.m. There will be no show Thursday, July 4, but there will be a show Monday, July 1. Signed performances by American Sign Language interpreters are June 15 and June 26
The gates open at 6 p.m. Here’s the entertainment schedule:
- 6:30 p.m. – Pre-show parody by Team Shakespeare.
- 7 p.m. – Show Talk: Local Shakespeare enthusiasts will give you an entertaining and educational preview of the play.
- 7:15 p.m. – Pre-show parody by Team Shakespeare.
- 8 p.m. – Shakespeare in Love performance
Festival goers can bring along their own food and beverages, but a variety of concessions including vegetarian options, beer and wine are available for purchase. A full menu and prices can be viewed here. Cash and major credit cards are accepted.
Southmoreland Park is located two blocks east of the Country Club Plaza and across the street (to the west) from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. Due to the popularity of the festival and other cool things happening in the neighborhood, parking is pretty limited so carpool or rideshare if you can. Bike racks are available near the front gate. Here are some places where parking may be available:
- The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art for $10 per car, CASH ONLY. Know that festival parking at this location will be unavailable June 22, 2019.
- Kauffman Foundation Memorial Garden (FREE)
- 44th Street and Warwick Boulevard (FREE)
- 45th Street and Oak Street (FREE)
- 48th Street and Rockhill Road (FREE)
- UMKC Oak Street Parking Garage (FREE)
For more festival fun check out: Kansas City Spring & Summer Festivals.