Orlando Shakespeare Theatre is a MUST SEE

Jim Helsinger, Queen Elizabeth and #1 Son

Jim Helsinger, Queen Elizabeth and #1 Son

“A visitor to Orlando may not expect to find arts and culture–They expect to find Theme Parks,” states Jim Helsinger, Artistic Director for the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre.

Number One son and I are sitting at a table in the lobby of the Lowndes Shakespeare Center.  We have just watched an incredible, new play entitled, Wittenberg by David Davalos.  Jim was one of the leads.  He took a moment to speak with Brandon and I after the final performance of the play.

This was the third year that Number One Son and I were blown away by a new play’s premiere at this theatre.  In addition, we have seen several Shakespearean productions and other traditional and contemporary works in one of the four small theatres that comprise this complex.  I have also accompanied Number One Daughter’s Montessori School on a couple of afternoon field trips to see a Shakespearean play as part of the theatre’s commitment to educating young people.

Every show I have seen has been exceptional.

I have been to shows on Broadway, Off Broadway and regional theatre productions throughout the country.  I have seen professional touring productions in Los Angeles, Washington D. C. and Cincinnati.  I have seen musicals & plays in London, ballets & Russian folk dances in St. Petersburg, as well as Shakespearean productions at the recently re-created Globe Theatre near the banks of the Thames.  I have even appeared on the professional stage myself and was a theatre major for my undergraduate studies.

But I have never seen a theatre consistently produce so many high quality works of art as the OST; performance after performance, year after year.

Jim Helsinger has been with OST for seventeen of the 20 seasons it has been in existence and he is also a faculty member at UCF.  I was grateful that he took a few moments after his final performance to chat with Brandon and I.

I ask him if he wants me to convey any special message in my blog and he is quick to sing the praises of all the organizations that make up the Loch Haven Park complex, where OST is headquartered.

In addition to the OST in the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, there is the Orlando Museum of Art, the Mennello Museum of American Art, the Orlando Repertory Theatre, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orlando Science Center.

It’s a thriving cultural center that not many visitors to Orlando take advantage of or even know about.

Jim knows that the majority of people visiting the Orlando area come for the Theme Parks.  But for the lucky few who have found this blog–The well informed traveler looking for “more than a mouse”™–They will discover a show at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre.

And they will be so glad they did!

2 Responses to “Orlando Shakespeare Theatre is a MUST SEE”

  1. Mari Romanack Says:

    Anything playing when we are there? My #1 son is avid actor in High School…

    • LanceAround Says:

      Hi Mari: You are coming down in Mid-July. During this time, the Orlando Shakes does not have any productions–They are in the middle of their summer camp programs. In fact, there are only a couple of regional theatres that have shows that week. When you are in the Disney parks, your son might enjoy the many small shows that appear throughout the park during the day. These can be found on the daily information sheet you get when you arrive in the park. In addition, I recommend the following shows for your son: La Nouba at Downtown Disney, Blue Man Group at Universal, Sleuth’s Dinner Theatre, and the Festival of the Lion King in the Animal Kingdom park. All of these are professional acting jobs that can help your son understand more about working in this field (I was a theatre major in college!) Two years ago, my daughter took our family on a trip to San Francisco because she wanted to appear as an extra in the TV show Monk. You can read about her adventures at: http://www.ambersvacation.blogspot.com. I hope you enjoy it! LanceAround

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