To quote William Shakespeare, “All’s well that ends well,” and for the Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF), this sentiment holds true. GRSF capped off the season with its second-highest attendance record, which arguably could be the best ever. The season that had the highest attendance record had an additional week of shows. According to Emily Kurash, GRSF Director of Marketing. “[That year] they were also more flexible with how they counted [attendance]. They included professional actors and tech persons — people who maybe didn’t have a ticket — in attendance for each show. We didn’t do that this year,” she explained.
According to Kurash the total attendance for all three of the professional plays — “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” “Hamlet” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” — numbered 10,793, which is 27 percent higher than the previous year. With the inclusion of the apprentice play, “Troilus and Cressida,” as well as all of the other various GRSF-sponsored events, such as Concerts on the Green and the inaugural Will Run 5K, the attendance reached 17,292. “It was awesome,” Kurash said of the participation and attendance numbers. “It was just wonderful to get to hear people’s reactions to the shows, whether they were seven or 97, and to see the bond people have formed over the festival as a whole.”
The three professional plays for GRSF’s 12th season have been identified as the comedy “Much Ado About Nothing,” the classic tragedy “Romeo and Juliet,” and Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie.” For Kurash and the rest of the GRSF staff, including Artistic Director Doug Scholz-Carlson and Managing Director Lee Gundersheimer, each of the three plays explores love and human relationships. “They’re complementary of each other,” Kurash explained. “The heavy, [story of] star-crossed lovers in 'Romeo and Juliet' is a perfect balance with the accidental love in 'Much Ado,' and I think 'The Glass Menagerie' brings in a totally different side of love, [that of] a family. I think these three plays are going to be a great complement to each other.”
Although preparation for the 12th season does not kick into high gear until early to mid-2015, GRSF staff is already delighted at the thought of another successful festival, which is something the Winona area community helps to foster each year. “We want to give a huge thank-you to all of the volunteers, businesses and the people of Winona who support this festival every year,” Kurash said. “It’s really incredible what this town does [to support GRSF], and we are so incredibly lucky.”
Learn more about GRSF at grsf.org.