Midsummer Jersey

It’s Opening Night!! Tonight is first performance of Midsummer Jersey at Hamilton High School in Sussex. The show will run tonight through Sunday.

Wait?!?! What???? You’ve never heard of Midsummer Jersey? This comedy is a fairly recent creation of Ken Ludwig, the genius that has brought us wonderful shows like Lend Me A Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo and many others. Just think Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream meets Jersey Shore. I know, I know. I was skeptical at first too. But last night, Kristi and I went to the parent preview and it was awesomely funny.

The play starts out just prior to the wedding of Governor Athens to his girlfriend, Hippolyta. Mia and her boyfriend Lyle take off for Canada where they plan to be married. They are followed by Mia’s old boyfriend, Dennis, and her BFF, Helene. As the story progresses, we meet Oberon, Titania, Puck, and a host of fairies making mischief on the Jersey beach. On top of that, we see a band from a Jersey hair salon rehearsing an abbreviated version of Romeo and Juliet that they hope to perform the Governor’s wedding celebration. Sound familiar?

I have to admit that I have read the original play by Shakespeare a couple of times and seen it at least once. It is quite possible that knowing the show makes some of the humor all that much funnier. Even so, the performances of the students really sold it for me. Is this the best high school production I’ve ever seen? Probably not. But the strong script and the extra effort of these budding thespians really make it a show I can heartily recommend to my friends.

To me, the best parts of the show are the banter between Oberon (A.J. Magoon) and Puck (Sree Karri) and the arguments between Oberon and Titania (Grace Thompson)… but then again I may be a little biased there. The four lovers (Mia, Lyle, Helene, and Dennis) are played by relative newcomers to the stage and they do an outstanding job of portraying New Jersey teens in love. Kudos to the entire cast and crew. I can’t wait to see it again on Friday night.

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