Shakespeare in the Park

Every Summer and Fall, one of my favorite outdoor events to attend in Dallas is Shakespeare in the Park. They feature different plays every year and this Summer they are holding Cymbeline and The Comedy of Errors.  It's a great opportunity to spend time with friends and family, what can be better on a warm Summer's night than a picnic with a side of Shakespeare?

"As the area’s veteran producers of Shakespeare in the Park, Shakespeare Dallas has invited audiences to enjoy accessible productions in an open-air amphitheatre since 1971, reaching over 50,000 people every summer and fall." -- Shakespeare Dallas

As celebration for this Summer's Shakespeare in the Park, I have come up with a simple and healthy Picnic menu!  Though you can bring anything you like on your own picnic, I've included some easy recipes and suggestions to help you plan a picnic fit for kings :) Below is some additional information on Shakespeare Dallas and short synopsis of the performances playing this summer.

Cymbeline By William Shakespeare Directed by SD Artistic Associate Rene Moreno

Previews: June 16-17 Opening: June 18 Continuing June 29 through July 24 on Sundays, Tuesdays and Saturdays With additional performances on June 19 & 20

Performances begin at 8:15 p.m. at the Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre

"Golden lads and girls all must, as chimney-sweepers, come to dust."

Shakespeare weaves a tale of the beautiful princess Imogen and her new husband, Posthumous, parted by circumstances invoked by her wicked stepmother and her distant father, the King Cymbeline of Britain. Posthumous' impoverished state makes him undesirable to King Cymbeline as a match to his prized daughter. Under the influence of his wife, King Cymbeline banishes Posthumous and confines Imogen to the castle. While exiled in Rome, Posthumous meets the foul Iachimo who finagles him into a wager on Imogen's chastity. Iachimo goes to Britain and through trickery gains access to Imogen's bedchamber. He manages to slide off a bracelet Posthumous gave Imogen to use as proof. Posthumous believes Iachimo's treachery, and enraged, sends his faithful servant Pisanio to murder Imogen in retribution -- although when he learns falsely of her death, he is devastated and repents his action. Imogen, meanwhile, has escaped to Wales in man's clothing, unknowingly meets up with her long-lost brothers and is eventually reunited with her husband and the truth is revealed amidst the victory of Britain against Rome.

Fri. & Sat.: $10 adults/$7 seniors and students. Tues. – Thurs. & Sun.: $10 donation requested. Children 12 and under are free.  

Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre 1500 Tenison Parkway Dallas, Texas 75223

The Comedy of Errors By William Shakespeare Directed by Matthew Tomlanovich

Previews: June 24-25 Opening: June 26 Continuing June 30-July 23 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. With an additional performance on June 27. *Please note there are no performances on June 22 or June 23.

Performances begin at 8:15 p.m. at the Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre  

"Was there ever any man thus beaten out of season, When in the why and the wherefore is neither rhyme nor reason?"

Take one pair of estranged twins (both called Antipholous) and one pair of twin servants (both called Dromio), keep them in ignorance of each other and throw them into a city with a reputation for sorcery and you have the chief ingredients for theatrical chaos. Fast-paced, hilarious and seemingly irreverent, the young William Shakespeare explores themes in this comedy that recur again and again in his later work: mistaken identity, coincidence and the importance of family.

Fri. & Sat.: $10 adults/$7 seniors and students. Tues. - Thurs. & Sun.: $10 donation requested. Children 12 and under are free.  

Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre 1500 Tenison Parkway Dallas, Texas 75223

Season Sponsors 570 KLIF, 1310 The Ticket, Brierley+Partners , City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department, e-Rewards Market Research, Fossil, Star Newspapers, TACA, Target, Texas Commission on the Arts, The Dallas Morning News, The Hall Agency

Shakespeare Dallas 3630 Harry Hines Blvd. Dallas, TX 75219 (214) 559-2778 ---------------------------------

The Perfect Summer Picnic Menu

Assorted Cheeses and Fruit Platter

Smoked Gouda, Bleu Cheese, Colby Jack, Fresh Strawberries, Green Grapes, Apricots with Rosemary Triscuits

Garden Vegetable Pasta Salad

with broccoli, tomatoes, corn, avocado, red onion, and black beans

Finger Sandwich Platter

cucumber tea sandwiches with cream cheese and sprouts & vegetable sandwiches with hummus and olive oil

Summer Fruit Salad

cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, blueberries, raspberries, green grapes soaked in honey and vanilla

Ingredients for Assorted Cheese and Fruit Plate : (serves 4-6)

  • 8 oz Smoked Gouda
  • 8 oz Bleu Cheese
  • 8 oz Mozzarella
  • 8 oz Colby Jack
  • 1 box Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits
  • 8 oz Fresh Strawberries, cleaned and hulled
  • 8 oz Green Grapes, cleaned
  • 8 oz Apricots

Bring a cheese knife and board along with you on the picnic, if you do not have these items a simple butter knife and paper plate will suffice.  Arrange the cheese crackers and fruits to your liking and serve with a nice Riesling or light red like a Pinot or Syrah.

Also feel free to experiment with fruits and cheeses.  You can use other fruits such as apples, figs, raspberries or peaches.  Or perhaps try interesting cheeses like a sharp Gruyere, a creamy Brie or maybe a nice mild Cheddar.  You can find a helpful wine and cheese pairing guide at Gourmet Sleuth here.

Ingredients for Garden Vegetable Pasta Salad: (serves 4-6)

  • 1 lb of Fusili or Penne Pasta, cooked
  • 1 cup of broccoli florettes, blanched
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup fresh yellow/white corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup of red onion, small diced
  • 1/2 cup of black beans
  • 1/4 cup of green bell pepper, small diced
  • 1/4 cup of red bell pepper, small diced
  • 1 avocado, pitted and small diced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a tablespoon of salt.  Pour in the dry pasta and cook for 4-6 minutes or otherwise stated on the package.  Once pasta is "al dente" or semi-firm, strain pasta and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.  In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients listed above and toss with cooked pasta.  If more salt/seasoning is needed, simply add additional flavor according to your taste.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Ingredients for Finger Sandwich Platter: (serves 4-6)

  • 1 french baguette, sliced into 1/2" rounds
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup spring mix
  • 1 cup hummus
  • 1 english cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup of sprouts
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

To assemble cucumber sandwiches, take your baguette rounds and slather each side generously with cream cheese.  Add sliced cucumber and sprouts and hold together with toothpicks.  Sprinkle with cracked black pepper and refrigerate til ready to serve.

To assemble veggie sandwiches, take your baguette rounds and slather each side generously with hummus.  Place the field greens, tomatoes, avocado and onion in between and hold together with toothpicks.  Refrigerate and drizzle with olive oil when ready to serve.

You can make all different types of sandwiches -- ham and cheese, turkey and swiss, blts -- feel free to be creative!  You can also assemble the sandwiches at the picnic, just bring your pre-sliced ingredients and allow your guests to make their own.

Ingredients for Summer Fruit Salad (serves 4-6):

  • 1/2 cantaloupe
  • 1/2 honey dew
  • 1/4 watermelon
  • 1 pint of blueberries
  • 1 pint of raspberries
  • 2 cups grapes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 fresh vanilla bean

Using a melon baller, remove the seeds from the cantaloupe and honeydew.  Carve as many melon balls you can get from the cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon.  Set aside.  Reserve the remainder of the melon scraps for a refreshing juice.

Place balls in a large bowl and add the berries and grapes.  Whisk the honey with the vanilla extract/bean and pour over the fruit mixture.  Allow the fruit salad to "marinate" for at least an hour before serving.

Now remember when I told you to set the melon caracasses behind?  Well you can use the leftover melons to make a refreshing drink for the picnic! Now take the melon scraps you set aside and scrape off as much of the flesh as you can.  Transfer the juices and melon flesh into a large bowl or jar and mix with a cup of simple syrup, blend throughly with a hand held blender.

Ingredients for Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.

If you want to make other drinks you can try this refreshing Mango Lemonade and Watermelon Lemonade or perhaps some of my Limeades !  Simply serve over ice and you are ready to go :)

I hope everyone who lives in Dallas takes the time to take part of Shakespeare in the Park.  It truly is a wonderful experience!  Not only do you get a picnic under the stars (boys, girls like these things) but you get to watch talented actors and actresses from Shakespeare Dallas put on an amazing performance.  Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and remember -- no picnic is complete without a picnic basket :)!  (I got mine from Target for $15)