July 20, 2006

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Nashua Publisher's Note: Taking it outside
By Jeff Rapsis

One of the best things about summer in New Hampshire is that it's possible to take things outdoors. From dinner al fresco to fireworks displays, in summer the Nashua area and all of southern New Hampshire is alive with activities that the entire family can share and enjoy.

This time of year, there's some great outdoor theatre, too. In Nashua, one of the best bets is coming up this weekend and next: the Nashua Theatre Guild's latest Shakespeare in the Park production of Love's Labour's Lost.

The show, which is free to all, will be performed at Greeley Park on Saturdays & Sundays, July 22 & 23, and 29 & 30 at 2 p.m. It's the Nashua Theatre Guild's 14th annual summer production in Greeley Park and if you haven't made it to one, you should.

And Nashua's not the only place doing outdoor theater. Up in Manchester, the New Thalian Players are staging evening outdoor performances of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, the Broadway musical about ancient Rome.

Done in Veterans Park in downtown Manchester, it's worth a family trip up to the Queen City to check this out. For starters, a number of Nashua area people have parts in the show: David Cote of Wilton, Anne Dufault of Pepperell, Mass. and David Hickman and Becca Shimkin of Milford all have prominent roles.

Also, it's free to all. Think about that. An entire fully staged musical in the great outdoors, free and open to all, no matter what age group or income level. Not only is it something that's truly affordable, but it's a great way to bring people together for a remarkable shared experience--one made all the more remarkable because it's under the stars.

When are the shows? Four performance will take place. Dates are Friday and Saturday, July 21 and 22 and again on July 28 and 29. All shows begin at 8:30 p.m., but come early to get a good seat on the lawn. (Bring your own chairs and blankets!) For early birds, there will be pre-show entertainment in the form of a variety of local acts to help warm up the crowd.

Another interesting feature of this production is the roster of special guests who will make cameo appearances during the show. Luminaries including former Manchester Mayor Bob Baines and radio host Charlie Sherman will don togas and join in the event.

Many area businesses have contributed to keep Theatre in the Park a free event, which is great. Full disclosure: Hippo is a media sponsor for the show.

Why so many? Because that's how many people are expected to attend A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum over the course of both weekends. Last year's production of Grease drew more than 5,000 during one weekend, which is one reason organizers decided to expand this year's run to two weekend. (Also to protect the show in case of inclement weather.)

I hope you'll join me in taking advantage of this great summer event under the stars!


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