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Hampton's Shakespeare in the Park Founded by TC Alum David Brandenburg

In the winter of 1996, David Brandenburg, who at the time was a recent MA graduate of TC's Music and Music Education Program, was chatting with his cousin about the possibility of starting a theater company in the Hamptons. Brandenburg, whose mother was TC's former Dean Judith Berman Brandenburg, had spent his summers at his family's house in the Hampton's community of Amagansett, Long Island, throughout his childhood. On a whim, they proposed starting a Shakespeare in the Park program, and at the same time figured that someone must already be doing it. As it turned out, no one had been.

"It seemed like a good 'real' idea and we decided to pursue it," said Brandenburg, who had been working in a non-profit music organization at the time. That experience proved helpful in fundraising efforts, and by July the cousins were able to put together a two-week show featuring "Romeo and Juliet."

The idea has expanded to include a six-week run of the actual production along with educational programs in some local schools and a summer camp for young people between the ages of 8 and 15. "We also have an internship program for young people ages 16 and up," Brandenburg said.

Brandenburg, who during the academic year runs the Yale Jazz Ensemble, writes original music for the productions in various styles and combinations of instruments, which is generally performed live. He also acts as music director, conducting the orchestra at the performance.

His brother, Neal, who is currently a student at TC in Educational Policy, is also involved in the publicity and general management of the festival. His cousin has since "moved on to other things."

Performances take place in the summer for four weeks at Theodore Roosevelt County Park in Montauk, Long Island, and five performances in one week at Agawam Park in Southampton. Fundraising events help defray most of the costs, and a suggested donation of $15 donation is collected at the performance, itself. This year's production is "The Taming of the Shrew." For more information on the Hampton's Shakespeare Festival activities call (631) 267-0105 or visit their Web site at http://www.hamptons-shakespeare.org/ .

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