TOMS RIVER – The Toms River Shakespeare Festival takes its inaugural steps this summer to a custom built stage at Huddy Park in Downtown Toms River. Founder & Producing Artistic Director Lori Garrabrant selected The Tempest because of its title event – the large storm conjured by the main character is a storm similar to one faced by Toms River and surrounding areas in 2012.
This free event takes place July 28, 29, 30 and August 4, 5 & 6 at Huddy Park with a special performance on August 3 at Ortley Beach. Information is available via trshakespeare.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/TRShakespeare. Shows are at 6 p.m. with a 3 p.m. performance on Sundays. There will be lawn chair and picnic blanket seating on the grass or beach.
“Last year we celebrated 400 years since Shakespeare and this year we celebrate 250 years since Toms River. The community is having a renaissance (post-Sandy) and we feel very well centered and privileged to be a part of it,” commented Garrabrant.
Mayor Thomas Kelaher was also on board right away. “I cannot wait to greet the cast of The Tempest arriving in Toms River for our first ever Shakespeare in the Park to be held at our newly restored Huddy Park this summer. It is wonderful that the show’s director/producer, Lori Garrabrant, is a Toms River native and graduated from Toms River Schools…and I know that everybody in Toms River joins me in welcoming Lori and her production company to our community.”
Lori Garrabrant earned her undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and did her post-graduate training in Classical Acting at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art [LAMDA]. She now resides in Manhattan with her partner, Kevin, and their two children. She had proposed producing a Shakespeare Festival in Toms River to Mayor Kelaher in the summer of 2016 and to the Board of Directors for the Downtown Business Improvement District in early 2017. Garrabrant has always loved the Downtown Toms River area and is thrilled to bring her passion for Shakespeare to the shore.
“I have tremendous resources from my work as a professional actress in NYC (and Chicago) and have been afforded a wonderful opportunity to pair them with the resources and artistic community in Toms River. It’s a magical pairing and dream come true for me.”