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updated: 8/28/2014 5:57 PM

Shakespeare in the Park returning to Wheaton for second year

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  • Wheaton Park District and Wheaton College's Arena Theater are presenting Shakespeare in the Park for a second year this Friday and Saturday in Memorial Park.

      Wheaton Park District and Wheaton College's Arena Theater are presenting Shakespeare in the Park for a second year this Friday and Saturday in Memorial Park.
    Courtesy of the Wheaton Park District

  • The Wheaton Park District and Wheaton College's Arena Theater will present William Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost this Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. in Memorial Park.

      The Wheaton Park District and Wheaton College's Arena Theater will present William Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost this Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. in Memorial Park.
    Courtesy of the Wheaton Park District

 
 

Last summer, organizers of Wheaton's first Shakespeare in the Park event were crossing their fingers that each night at least 300 people would attend the live performances.

So when a total of roughly 2,000 theatergoers came out for the two-day gathering, they were happily surprised.

"It was just absolutely incredible. It was an amazing problem to have," said Kristina Nemetz, Wheaton Park District's superintendent of marketing and special events.

Officials from the event's two sponsors -- the park district and Wheaton College's Arena Theater -- are hoping for a similar response this weekend, when William Shakespeare's work comes to life again in Memorial Park, 208 W. Union Ave.

This year's play, "Love's Labour's Lost," will be begin at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The park will open at 6 p.m. for attendees to find a seat and purchase concessions.

A rain date is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday.

According to a news release, the play is one of the first Shakespeare wrote. It is described as a "light and mirthful tale about attraction, mistaken identities and love."

The event is free, but donations are welcome. Proceeds will benefit the DuPage County Historical Museum.

Nemetz said the actors have been rehearsing since the beginning of the month. The cast, she said, includes professional actors who graduated from Wheaton College and several current students.

"It's by no means just your average theater in the park," she said. "It's definitely a professional level of theater."

While the event is adult-oriented, Nemetz said families with young children are welcome, as there will be a college-sponsored crafts for kids and opportunities to come and go from the park as they please. Theater buffs, she added, should come to enjoy the unique experience of watching a play outdoors.

For details, visit www.wheatonparkdistrict.com.

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