A Timeless Night Under the Stars in Dallas: Shakespeare in the Park

by Sara Aguinaga on June 21, 2024 in Entertainment,

The 52nd annual Shakespeare in the Park festival is back to entertain audiences with memorable performances and top-notch storytelling. With a six-week programming schedule, you’ll have ample time to see both shows.

Shakespeare Dallas invites attendees to immerse themselves in outdoor theatre for Shakespeare in the Park, a cherished Dallas tradition. Featuring Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and scenes from Homer’s The Odyssey, audiences can enjoy these performances under the stars every Thursday through Sunday from June 14 to July 21.

A unique aspect of Shakespeare in the Park is the opportunity for audiences to bring their own picnics. The park venue allows for outside food and is BYOB-friendly. Seating is on the lawn, so attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair. The relaxed atmosphere allows attendees to enjoy a meal under the stars, making it affordable and convenient.

Twelfth Night: A Modern Twist on a Classic Comedy

Twelfth Night stars Caleb Mosley, Francine Gonzalez and Mikaela Baker. Photo Jordan Fraker.

Twelfth Night, directed by Rob Clare, is a romantic comedy filled with mistaken identities and humorous twists. The production’s 1930s setting adds a fresh and vibrant layer to the classic tale, with period costumes and sets that transport the audience to a bygone era.

The play follows the adventures of Viola, who, after being shipwrecked and separated from her twin brother Sebastian, disguises herself as a young man named Cesario. Under this guise, she enters the service of Duke Orsino, who is in love with Countess Olivia. Hilarity ensues as Viola, in disguise, becomes the object of Olivia’s affection while she harbors feelings for Orsino.

Twelfth Night Cast

  • Mikaela Baker as Olivia
  • Francine Gonzalez as Viola
  • Caleb Mosley as Orsino
  • Ryan Michael Friedman as Feste
  • Michael Johnson as Malvolio
  • Francesca Santodomingo as Maria
  • Shawn Gann as Toby

Caleb Mosley: Texas-raised Actor and Theatre-maker

Caleb Mosley, a recent graduate of SMU with a B.F.A in Theatre. Courtesy photo.

Hailing from San Antonio, Caleb Mosley recently graduated from Southern Methodist University in May. During his last semester, he made his professional debut at Theatre Three as Konstantin in The Seagull.

Playing Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night is only his second professional acting job, and he is thrilled it’s with Shakespeare Dallas. Caleb finds the role of Orsino fascinating and challenging.

“Orsino is such an incredible role to take on because he’s so fascinated but also tortured by how much love he has inside of himself,” he says. At this point in his life, Caleb feels he is asking the same question about love, which makes the role even more significant to him.

Caleb has worked to create a truthful journey for Orsino that audiences will connect with. “With the help of our director, Rob Clare, and our Viola, Francine Gonzalez, we’ve found what I believe is a truthful journey that audiences will connect with,” he shares.

His collaboration with Francine Gonzalez, who plays Viola, adds even more depth to the performance. Caleb believes that Shakespeare wrote a timelessly relatable character in Orsino, and he hopes audiences will see a past and present version of themselves in the Orsino he portrays.

Caleb’s rendition of Orsino. Photo Jordan Fraker.


Mikaela Baker’s Journey to Shakespeare

Mikaela Baker fell in love with theatre from a young age. Courtesy photo.

Mikaela Baker, Texas-born and raised, inherits a profound love of theatre that spans generations within her family. “Theater has always been a generational passion for me,” Mikaela reflects. “It was passed down from my mother to me, and from her mother before her, which makes what I do today that much more special.”

After studying theater at Vanderbilt University, Mikaela returned to Texas where she continues to contribute significantly to the local theater scene. Her performances at Shakespeare Dallas and other venues showcase her talent and reflect her commitment to preserving and enriching the cultural fabric of her community.

“I didn’t think Shakespeare was for people like me,” Mikaela admits. “But during a time when I was trying to validate myself as a ‘real actor,’ I auditioned for Shakespeare Dallas, and it was through that experience that I began to fall in love with The Bard’s work and the diverse community these stories attract.”

In her current portrayal of Olivia in Twelfth Night, Mikaela brings a personal touch to Shakespeare’s classic character. “Olivia is my favorite role I’ve had the privilege of playing thus far,” Mikaela passionately shares. I spent so much time studying this character, going, ‘I’ve been there’ or ‘I am there,’ which is most wonderful because it shows that life really does imitate art.”

Mikaela as Olivia. Photo Jordan Fraker.

Through Olivia’s journey of love, loss, and self-discovery, Mikaela weaves her own experiences and insights, creating a portrayal that resonates deeply with audiences. “I know her and her story intimately,” Mikaela explains, “and in many ways, I’m telling pieces of my own story in language that was written over 400 years ago! And there’s something profoundly magical about that.”

Beyond her acting career, Mikaela serves as the Executive Director of Altar’d Playhouse, a testament to her leadership and commitment to fostering creativity and inclusion in the arts. Her advocacy for diversity and representation within theater reflects her belief in the power of storytelling to connect communities and inspire change.

“If I could have one hope for this show,” Mikaela concludes, “it’s that there’s at least one little black girl in the audience who gets to watch what I get to do on stage and thinks, ‘I can do that too!’ Because she can.”


Scenes from The Odyssey by Mary Zimmerman

A scene from The Odyssey. Photo Linda Blase.

Experience the modern adaptation of Homer’s epic saga in Scenes from The Odyssey. Directed by Danielle Georgiou, Justin Locklear, Danny Anchondo and Jenni Stewart, this production follows a contemporary young woman struggling to comprehend Robert Fitzgerald’s translation of The Odyssey

Suddenly, she is transformed into Athena, the Greek goddess who passionately advocates for Odysseus as he navigates his arduous journey home. Encounter legendary characters like Circe, the Cyclops, Poseidon, Calypso, and the Sirens as Odysseus’s decade-long voyage unfolds under the stars.


Scenes from The Odyssey Cast

The cast of The Odyssey. Photo Jordan Fraker.

The ensemble includes:

  • Adrian Godinez
  • Nicole Berastequi
  • Elizabeth Evans
  • David Helms
  • Rudy Lopez
  • Carson Wright
  • Harper Caroline Lee
  • Brandon Whitlock
  • Celeste Perez
  • Chidalu Agbor
  • Cameron Casey
  • Lisette Sandoval-Perez
  • Brandon Wetch
  • London Crawford
  • Bethany Gabrielle Mejorado
  • Caitlin Chapa

Review of Scenes from The Odyssey

The fantastic set of The Odyssey. Photo Sara Aguinaga.

Attending the premiere of Scenes from The Odyssey was a memorable experience. The atmosphere was electric, with the audience eagerly anticipating the start of the show. The summer heat faded as twilight neared, making for a comfortable evening under the stars.

The Samuell-Grand Amphitheater is set in a beautiful park with a pond behind the stage, adding a serene and picturesque backdrop to the performances. The open-air venue allows audiences to enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings while immersing themselves in the play.

Having a picnic was a delightful addition, making the evening enjoyable and affordable. The open seating arrangement ensured that there wasn’t a bad seat in the house, allowing everyone to appreciate the performance thoroughly. The darkness of night added a unique depth to the atmosphere, enhancing the epic nature of the play.

The restrooms were a short stroll from the lawn area, ensuring a quick bathroom break did not disrupt the audience’s experience.

The actors utilized every aspect of the stage and the props, bringing the story to life in a dynamic and engaging way. The set was breathtaking and meticulously designed, creating a visually stunning backdrop for the performance. The costumes were equally impressive, perfectly capturing the time period and adding authenticity to the production.

The Cyclops props wowed the audience. Photo Linda Blase.

The highlight of the night was the portrayal of the Cyclops. The props used were creative yet oddly convincing. By far, the entrance of the Cyclops brought out the most significant audience reaction.

The performances were captivating, and the setting under the stars added a magical quality to the evening. Chatting with other audience members and sharing thoughts and experiences was also a pleasure. It was uplifting to see the community come together to appreciate art in such a meaningful way.

Overall, Scenes from The Odyssey was a triumph. It blended superb acting, beautiful sets, and a welcoming atmosphere to create an enchanting evening.


History of Shakespeare Dallas

Founded in 1971 by Robert “Bob” Glenn, Shakespeare Dallas has become a cultural cornerstone in Dallas. It provides various programs that engage the community and foster a love for the arts.

Performing for more than 25,000 attendees each year, Shakespeare Dallas is best known for the beloved Shakespeare in the Park series. This festival produces quality works the way Shakespeare was meant to be enjoyed – under the stars. 



Tickets can be purchased online through the Shakespeare Dallas website and are affordable, starting at $20 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors. Season subscriptions, offering priority seating and early admission, are available for $50.

Gates open at 7:30 p.m. for general admission, with each show starting promptly at 8:30 p.m. The productions, which run approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, include a brief intermission, providing a perfect evening for families, couples, friends, or those going solo.


Seating Information

The lawn provides a great view for everyone. Photo Sara Aguinaga.

For optimal viewing, low-back chairs should be placed in the front, and high-back chairs should be placed toward the back. Blankets can be placed in either section. Arriving early to adjust positions would help ensure the best sightlines.



The Dallas Shakespeare Shoppe offers themed apparel, accessories and souvenirs. Photo Sara Aguinaga.

In addition to the performances, Shakespeare Dallas provides a range of merchandise and souvenirs that allow attendees to take a piece of the experience home with them. There’s something for everyone, from programs and posters to themed apparel and accessories.


Julius Caesar in the Fall

This fall, Shakespeare Dallas presents Julius Caesar, directed by Katie Ibrahim. Concerned about Julius Caesar’s perceived threat to democracy, revolutionaries chose the drastic measure of assassinating him. As chaos and superstition engulf society, civil war erupts in this compelling Shakespearean tragedy. Julius Caesar will be performed from September 13 to October 13.


Shakespeare’s Legacy

Shakespeare in the Park is a timeless tribute to the enduring appeal of William Shakespeare’s masterpieces and the profound ability of theater to unite communities. For over five decades, Shakespeare Dallas has illuminated the cultural landscape of Dallas with its captivating performances, offering audiences a chance to engage deeply with the poetic brilliance and universal themes of Shakespeare’s works.

Each season, productions like Twelfth Night and Scenes from The Odyssey not only honor Shakespeare’s legacy but also breathe new life into these classic tales, infusing them with innovative interpretations and fresh perspectives. Through meticulous attention to detail in set design, costume, and performance, Shakespeare Dallas crafts an immersive experience that transports audiences to different eras and realms.

Whether you’re an ardent admirer of the Bard’s prose or someone discovering his genius for the first time, Shakespeare in the Park promises an unforgettable cultural journey. It’s an opportunity to connect with timeless stories and characters that resonate across centuries, reminding us of the enduring power of art to inspire, provoke thought, and foster community.

For more information about Shakespeare Dallas and to purchase tickets, visit shakespearedallas.org. Don’t miss your chance to join this beloved Dallas tradition and experience the magic of Shakespeare under the stars.


Cover photo Linda Blase

Sara Aguinaga’s passions include reading, creating art, and traveling. She enjoys exploring the culinary diversity across the expansive Lone Star State. As a licensed massage therapist, she strives to bring peace to the lives of others.