The Michigan Shakespeare Festival’s board votes on the plays for a specific season — pitched by MSF’s Producing Artistic Director Janice L. Blixt — 18 months in advance of the curtain being raised.
So in early 2016, when MSF’s board voted to approve Taming of the Shrew, Julius Caesar, and Chekhov’s The Seagullfor 2017 (the season kicks off in Jackson on July 6), the company had no idea that it would be staging Caesar shortly after New York Public Theater’s production of the play (which depicted Caesar as Donald Trump) made national headlines and drew protestors.
“I expected Shrew to be the controversial show, where I’d be fielding questions like, ‘How are you dealing with the misogyny?’” said Blixt.
Not so much. Although Blixt, who is directing Caesar, had her own vision for the play — a take that bears no resemblance to the Public’s political lightning rod production — MSF has received phone calls, emails, and Facebook comments from across the country recently.
“We’re getting it from both sides,” said Blixt. “Some people are angry that we’re doing the show at all. Others are angry that we’re not giving it a more political bent. Both of our venues (in Jackson and Canton) have gotten a lot of calls about it. Enough so that I finally had to issue a statement.” READ THE REST HERE