Neal A. Ghant as Caliban (left) and Bruce Evers in "The Tempest." Photo by Bill DeLoach.

A glass of wine, a sky of stars and thee.

After a season away, Georgia Shakespeare returns to Piedmont Park this spring with The Tempest and a new name for its almost annual tradition: “Shakespeare in the Park.”

The renaming reflects a new location for the former “Shake at the Lake.” The site is now Piedmont Park’s Legacy Fountain, not Lake Clara Meer. The popular event, which returns May 9-13, does so largely through a three-year grant of $300,000 from the Charles Loridans Foundation.

Each performance of the Wednesday-Sunday run begins at 7:30 p.m., with picnicking before and during the show. The Tempest, reprised from last season, tells the story of Prospera, a banished royal who conjures a great storm and shipwrecks her enemies on her island. Carolyn Cook, who’s been with Georgia Shakespeare for 18 seasons, plays Prospera (normally Prospero and played by a man). She’s joined by Chris Kayser as the fairy Ariel (usually female) and Neal A. Ghant as Caliban.

The new location brings with it an expanded ticketing system. Limited free tickets will still be available on a first-come, first-served basis on the morning of each show at Piedmont Park and the Georgia Shakespeare box office. But patrons can now purchase reserved tables, chairs, picnicking spots and general admission tickets ($10, on the lawn, also on a first-come, first-served basis).

Georgia Shakespeare’s 27th season continues indoors in June with its summer festival of shows at the Conant Performing Arts Center on the Oglethorpe University campus. The lineup:

Illyria: A Twelfth Night Musical. June 6-Aug. 5. An adaptation by John R. Briggs (2010’s Shrew: the Musical) of the mistaken-identity comedy. Chris Kayser is Sir Toby Belch and Tess Malis Kincaid is Maria lead the cast. Briggs directs.

Much Ado About Nothing. June 21-Aug. 4. A dance of infidelity, deception and mistaken identity with Courtney Patterson and Joe Knezevich as the bickering on-again, off-again lovers Beatrice and Benedick. Georgia Shakespeare Producing Artistic Director Richard Garner directs.

The Importance of Being Earnest.July 5-Aug. 3. Oscar Wilde’s comedic masterpiece takes audiences back to Victorian England for a romp through London with two young men on a quest for their lady loves (Patterson, Ann Marie Gideon). Sabin Epstein directs.

The Emperor and the Nightingale. July 14-Aug. 3. The Hans Christian Andersen story, in musical form for the Family Classic Series, tells the tale of a beautiful songbird who transforms a troubled emperor into the land’s wisest ruler. Gideon and Terrance Jackson lead the cast. Allen O’Reilly directs.

And in the fall:

Macbeth. Oct. 4-28.This re-imagined telling is inspired by Orson Welles’ 1936 Voodoo Macbeth. It’s presented in partnership with the National Black Arts Festival. Directed by Raelie Myrick-Hodges.

Subscription packages are on sale now as are single tickets for “Shakespeare in the Park.” Single tickets for the summer shows go on sale Monday, April 23. Visit or call 404.504.1473.






About Kathy Janich

Kathy Janich is a longtime arts journalist who has been seeing, working in or writing about the performing arts for most of her life. She's a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, Americans for the Arts and the National Arts Marketing Project. Full disclosure: She’s also an artistic associate at Synchronicity Theatre.

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