Living the Dream

Excerpt from Chico News & Review (article by Ken Smith)
Photography Credit: Martin Svec, Blackpoint Photography

Midway through the opening-night performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as the sun set on a makeshift stage area at the edge of Bidwell Park’s Cedar Grove, the Bard’s words were momentarily drowned out by familiar and very un-Shakespearean sound: Van Halen.

The music grew louder, then quickly ebbed, as a few dozen cyclists passed by on the road on the opposite side of the clearing, some of their bikes decorated with glowing LED lights.

This isn’t mentioned in any way to diminish the quality of the production, or as a warning to potential audience members for the latest local incarnation of Shakespeare in the Park. Quite the contrary, the players didn’t skip a beat or drop a single line, and a few audience members just smiled and quickly forgot about the distraction. Such disruptions are part of the risk, and in this case the beauty, of staging a play in a public place, outside of four walls. If anything, the ride-by only contributed to the overall feeling of the evening—a magical and distinctly Chico experience.

Legacy Stage, the troupe behind the production, couldn’t have chosen a better work for their second foray into the park than A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The tale of three groups—the aristocratic Athenians, mysterious fairy folk and working class “Rude Mechanicals”—whose worlds chaotically and hilariously collide one long night was a perfect fit for Cedar Grove. The play starts before sundown and ends well into the dark night.

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Arts in the Wild: Gearing up for Shakespeare

Excerpt from Chico News & Review (article by Ken Smith)

There is a tradition dating back decades of the Bard’s works being performed in Bidwell Park, overseen by generations of local thespians and multiple theater companies. Shakespeare’s last appearance in the park was in 2019, when then-new company Legacy Stage produced Macbeth, with the intent of making Shakespeare in the Park an annual event. Then COVID came along.

Legacy Stage is returning to the park in June with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play will be directed by Erin Horst, who is also a Legacy Stage co-founder and president of the theater company’s board of directors.

The troupe’s last show in the park was an ambitious and (literally) moving production, which took place at various locations around Cedar Grove and adjacent natural areas. Small audiences went with the players from location to location, lighting the action with handheld flashlights. The route covered roughly two miles and had attendees on their feet for roughly two hours, and any exertion did nothing to dampen praise for the event, which the CN&R described as “nothing short of a revelation—one of the most gratifying theatrical experiences.”

Horst said this year’s main setup will be more traditional but that overall there will be several elements making Legacy’s production completely unique.

“This time they’ll be sitting on blankets and chairs and the action will surround them and go through them,” Horst said. “As fun as the moving version was, it led to smaller audience sizes, and we want this to be accessible and easy for all to attend.”

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Musical Revue “All Together Now” Opens Friday

Excerpt from the Chico Enterprise Record (article by Verda Mackay)

After months of going through the problems of the COVID virus, lovers of live theater, young and older, are happy to welcome the opening of performances.

“All Together Now!”, a global event celebrating local theater is a musical revue with songs from Broadway’s biggest hits and classic shows. Among the featured songs are hits from “Mamma Mia!,” “Sister Act,” “Mary Poppins,” “Waitress,” “Rent,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and many more. Many favorite local performers will perform.

Music Theatre International, located in New York, is providing schools and theaters around the globe with this exclusive musical revue to be used as a fundraiser for the local theaters which are persevering under trying circumstances.

This festive musical theater event gives local theater companies the opportunity to join in a performance to celebrate the place and feeling that is live theater.

Read the full article here.

Whom to Watch in 2020: Producing a Legacy

Excerpt from the Chico News & Review (article by Jason Cassidy)

Erin Horst’s mother still has the notebooks that her daughter filled with theater designs.

“I’ve been sketching out a theater company since I was a little kid,” said Horst, now a mother of two. “I was very convicted from an early age that this is what I’m doing with my life.”

This fall, Horst began to make her designs on creating a theater come true. The actress/director and drama instructor (at both Chico State and Inspire School of Arts & Sciences) teamed up with two friends—actress/director Lara Tenckhoff and actress/director and fellow Chico State instructor Jami Witt Miller—to produce Macbeth in Bidwell Park, the first production for their newly founded Legacy Stage theater company.

Read the full article here.

Legacy Stage’s “Shakespeare in the Park” Named ‘Best Comeback’ for CN&R Best of Chico 2019

Roving outdoor version of Macbeth is ‘a revelation’

Excerpt from: Chico News & Review

All the world’s a stage, indeed. It certainly is for Chico’s newest theater troupe. Legacy Stage takes advantage of multiple natural sets throughout Lower Bidwell Park for its debut production, a mobile version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. And the opening-night performance last Thursday (Oct. 3) was nothing short of a revelation—one of the most gratifying theatrical experiences I’ve had in Chico.

It’s been more than a decade since Shakespeare in the Park was held in Lower Bidwell Park’s tree-lined Cedar Grove. And as the audience stood in that meadow in the dark during his introduction to the night’s experience, director Matthew Teague-Miller spoke fondly of what was once a crucial component of Chico’s arts identity, while also promising that this return to the park was going to be something completely different…

Read full article below or by visiting the Chico News & Review website.

‘Macbeth’ Gets an Inventive New Twist

Excerpt from The Orion

The Legacy Stage theater group has created a unique twist on Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”. For this performance, they’ve dropped all the qualities of traditional theater. This means no stage, no seats and a two-mile walk around Bidwell Park at night.

For a performance this unique, audiences should be prepared to experience Shakespeare as they’ve never seen before….

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Photograph by Carie Jean Photography

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Excerpt from Chico News & Review

A new theater group has plans to start up in Chico next fall, and it will hit the boards with a bold opening statement. The debut production of Legacy Stage will be an outdoor showing of Macbeth in Bidwell Park’s Cedar Grove. Not only is the troupe tackling Shakespeare’s great tragedy, but it’ll be presenting it a dozen times throughout the month of October (Oct. 3-Nov. 3).

Legacy is being launched by a group of local theater folks who decided to pool their resources to collaborate on projects, according to co-founder Erin Horst, who teaches theater at Inspire School of Arts & Sciences and Chico State. Horst’s co-conspirators are actress and Chico State Theater lecturer Jami Witt and local actress/director Lara Tenckhoff

Read the Full Article Here
Photograph by Carie Jean Photography