In Montgomery, Alabama, we found something that reminded us of the best of Manhattan. For a decade, an annual summer tradition of ours was seeing Shakespeare productions at the open-air Delacorte Theater in Central Park with our friend Charlie, who joined us in the Deep South for some play-going.
The Bard gets his due at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the sixth largest in the world. Although festival isn’t entirely an apt description. The theater is located in a grandiose building on the sprawling grounds of the Blount Cultural Park with a river, manicured lawns, and Tudor-style structures à la Stratford-upon-Avon.
The first of our back-to-back Shakespeare evenings was a production of Much Ado About Nothing, with a twist. It was set in India in the 1930s near the end of British colonial rule, an entertaining and effective interpretation of the comedy. Afterwards the audience was treated to cupcakes on the house, an opening weekend tradition. The second night was far less exciting, with a classic take on Julius Caesar. And no cupcakes.
If you’re a Shakespeare fan and find yourself in Montgomery—or close enough for a detour—stop in for a dose of culture. For us there was a bonus: Not only did an indoor venue mean the show could go on during a storm, the sturdy brick building was a better place to be than the RV during a tornado warning.