Hilo Community Players

Shakespeare in the Park: More Than 40 Years of Tradition

Our History

Hilo Community Players’ Shakespeare in the Park began in 1978 as an idea of Jackie Pualani Johnson. This year marks our 44th year presenting Shakespeare in the Park in Hilo.

In 2014, we added a tradition of youth programming to our festival, affectionately referred to as “kid-shakes.”

This summer we will open both Romeo & Juliet and The Seussification of Romeo & Juliet at Hilo’s Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium Parking Lot! We hope to see you there!

 

THE MOST EXCELLENT AND LAMENTABLE TRAGEDY OF ROMEO & JULIET, Hilo Community Players’ 44th annual Shakespeare in the Park, opens on July 9 in the parking lot of the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. Shakespeare’s genre-twisting crowd-pleaser  — half bawdy romantic comedy, half crushing romantic tragedy– tells a story not of kings or courts but of an entire town, from rich merchants to lovesick teenagers to domestic servants to bored aristocrats, caught in a passionate spiral of love and hate.
Like 2020’s production of OTHELLO, ROMEO & JULIET this year will be presented in compliance with Covid guidelines, as the Players appear on a raised stage before an audience watching from the distanced safety of their cars– even tuning into the show’s sound via a short-range radio transmission. “For our second year at the Civic we wanted to do everything we could to fill that huge space,” said the production’s director, veteran HCP Shakespeare actor Theon Weber. “I don’t think a Shakespeare play exists that’s more widely beloved, and we’re staging it at a scale that can reach every car in the parking lot.” To this end, the actors will be joined onstage by a troupe of dancers choreographed by Paradise Performing Arts Center director Nadia Schlosser. “The play isn’t only a story– it builds a whole miniature town, a miniature world,” Weber said. “Our dancers, melting in and out of character and manipulating the actors around them– they help populate that world, but they also play the forces that are tearing it apart.”
Though the stage may have moved and the sound been amplified, one Shakespeare in the Park tradition remains inviolable– free admission for all. With the County of Hawaii’s invaluable help and despite a second year of pandemic disruption, HCP’s flagship event continues to do what it’s done for over four decades– provide a safe, free, open environment for audiences of all ages to discover the strange and bottomless world of Shakespeare’s work.
The show will run July 9 to 11, 15 to 18, and 22 to 25, beginning each night at 7:30pm. As always, Shakespeare in the Park is completely FREE for our community. Donations are appreciated.

Past Shakespeare in the Park Festivals

1978

A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Directed by Jackie Debus Johnson

1979

The Tempest - Directed by Jackie Debus Johnson

1980

The Taming of the Shrew - Directed by Helie Rock

1981

As You Like It - Directed by Peter Franklin Schickler

1982

Hamlet - Directed by Peter Franklin Schickler

1983

Romeo & Juliet - Directed by Julian Canuso

1984

The Comedy of Errors - Directed by Don Moody

1985

Othello - Directed by John Koch

1986

Twelfth Night - Directed by Peter Charlot

1987

Julius Caesar - Directed by Paul Mark Clark

1988

The Merry Wives of Windsor - Directed by Margaret Harshberger

1989

Antony & Cleopatra - Directed by Pru Sillito

1990

The Merchant of Venice - Directed by Julian Canuso

1991

The Tragedy of Richard II - Directed by Don Moody

1992

King Henry IV-Part 1 - Directed by Paul Mark Clark

1993

King Henry IV-Part 2 - Directed by Beth Kucharczyk

1994

King Henry V - Directed by Robin Hilliard

1995

Two Gentlemen of Verona - Directed by Laura Andres

1996

The Tragedy of Richard III - Directed by Jackie Seaquist

1997

Measure for Measure - Directed by Don Moody

1998

Macbeth - Directed by Jackie Pualani Johnson

1999

The Winter's Tale - Directed by Cathy Punch

2000

Titus Andronicu - Directed by Catherine McPherson & Sharon Furstenworth

2001

King Lear - Directed by Paul Mark Clark

2002

One Uddah Mid'Summah - Directed by Jackie Pualani Johnson

2003

Much Ado About Nothing - Directed by Justina Mattos

2004

Romeo & Juliet - Directed by Cathy Punch

2005

Twelfth Night - Directed by Laura Andres

2006

The Tempest - Directed by Randy Raphael

2007

The Best of the Bard - Multiple Directors

2008

Hamlet - Directed by Laura Andres

2009

The Taming of the Shrew - Directed by Randy Raphael

2010

Love's Labour Lost - Directed by Amy Jackson

2011

The Merchant of Venice - Directed by Catherine McPherson

2012

Richard III - Directed by Jackie Pualani Johnson

2013

As You Like It - Directed by Laura Caswell

2014

Antony & Cleopatra - Directed by Jake McPherson & Dr. Justina T. Mattos

This is Hamlet written by Tim Brownell - Directed by Jackie Pualani Johnson

2015

Measure for Measure - Directed by Rob Hunt

I Hate Shakespeare written by Steph DeFerie - Directed by Alston Albarado

2016

A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Directed by Justine Thompson

Romeo To Go written by Jonathan Rand - Directed by Leah Wilson

2017

The Best of the Bard Too - Multiple Directors

MmmBeth written by Allison Williams - Directed by Mimi Tincher

2018

The Merry Wives of Windsor - Directed by Catherine McPherson-Tampos

 

 

 

Lions In Ilyria written by Robert Kauzlaric - Directed by Alston Albarado

2019

Hamlet - Directed by Catherine Williams

 

 

 

 

Hamajang Hamlet, written by Jackie Pualani Johnson - Directed by Angie Nakamura

2020

Othello (Shakespeare in the Park...ing Lot) - Directed by Sarah Elliott

Oh, Hello! (Virtual Production) written by Dr. Justina T. Mattos - Directed by Alston Albarado

2021

The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of ROMEO & JULIET - Directed by Theon Weber

2021

The Seussification of Romeo & Juliet - Directed by James Pono O'Connor

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