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Top 5 Summer Shakespeare Festivals

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Summer 2010 might already be called the season of Shakespeare.  Here are our top 5 summer Shakespeare festivals:

1. Joseph Papp's legacy of taking Shakespeare out of doors continues with Shakespeare in the Park at Central Park's Delacorte Theater. Al Pacino headlines this season as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, and will surely have theatergoers lining up before sunrise to snag a pair of free tickets. Most of the same cast will appear in the second play, The Winter's Tale. The plays will be performed in repertory from June 9 through July 31.

2.  Stew and Heidi Rodewald, the team from the Broadway musical Passing Strange, join up with the director Joanna Settle, to provide a score for Othello at the Shakespeare on the Sound festival in Greenwich, Conn. Last year, he scored A Midsummer's Night's Dream at the festival and has since said, "Shake has become my homey."

3. Calling itself "the other free Shakespeare in the Park" -- the one without the insufferable wait -- Hudson Warehouse returns to Riverside Park at 89th Street with its modern take on classic theater. Its summer slate includes The Trojan Women in June, and Cyrano in July before returning to Shakespeare with Romeo and Juliet in August.

4. For the 24th year, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival will perform works by the Bard at the picturesque Boscobel House and Gardens, which double as scenic backdrop. The festival has scheduled Troilus and Cressida, The Taming of Shrew, and The Bomb-itty of Errors, a rap version of A Comedy of Errors.

5. The New York Classical Theater presents works in Central Park at 103rd Street on the West Side and at Battery Park. This year's selections offer a little comedy (Much Ado About Nothing) and a little historical drama (Richard III). Can't make one of the performance dates? All the rehearsals are open and free to the public.