Houston Shakespeare Festival 2012

When guest actors Cindy Pickett (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, St. Elsewhere) and Mark Metcalf (Maestro on Seinfeld, villainous Douglas Neidermeyer in Animal House) take to the stage at Miller Outdoor Theatre to do Comedy of Errors as part of the Houston Shakespeare Festival, they and everyone else will be speaking the Bard’s words in a Texas accent. This doesn’t extend to the other performances in this year’s offerings sponsored by the University of Houston’s School of Theatre & Dance — Hamlet will be done more traditionally, with Pickett as Gertrude and Metcalf as Claudius.

Pickett, of course, grew up in Houston, the daughter of the late UH theater professor Cecil Pickett, who was deeply involved in the annual festival, which, in fact, is dedicated to him this year. It’s been awhile since Pickett has done theater and especially outdoor theater in Houston’s summer. “We’ll be all right if we don’t pass out,” she says.

Metcalf has done a lot of theater throughout the country. He doesn’t relish the heat either, particularly since his costumes are in polyester and wool, but he signed up for this one, he says, because “I wanted to take one more crack at Claudius.” They’ll be joined by young actors, many of them from UH’s theater program. The shows, all at 8:30 p.m., alternate, with Hamlet on August 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11, and Comedy of Errors on August 4, 8, 10 and 12. 6000 Hermann Park Drive.
Aug. 3-5, 8:30 p.m.; Aug. 7-12, 8:30 p.m., 2012


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