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August 6, 2019 - 9:32am

Submitted photos and press release:

The sounds of laughter, music, and Shakespeare echo inside an old general store building on Main Street in Perry. When the door is opened, the company members of Shake on the Lake – the oldest-running professional Shakespeare Company in Wyoming County – are revealed.

This is their eighth summer season. Shake on the Lake began its 2019 tour in July, traveling to eight counties in Western New York and the Finger Lakes.

Artists from throughout the country are staging Shakespeare’s most musical show, the pastoral comedy, "As You Like It." The resident company rehearses the show on site in Perry, specializing in “fast, fun, and physical” performances, which bring the arts to public spaces in rural communities.

The play will be performed in Batavia starting at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday, Aug. 8, in the city's Centennial Park.

No tickets required (show is free). Show is 90 minutes without an intermission. Bringing lawn chairs and blankets is recommended. All ages welcome.

Theater artist Josh Rice, who grew up in Perry and graduated from Perry Central School, cofounded Shake on the Lake. Eight seasons later, he returns every summer to produce Shakespeare with a company of professional actors from around the nation.

“We started Shake on the Lake with the intention to create a company based around play and trying to inject that spirit of play into our process, as well as our product," Rice said. "From day one, we focus on play-driven play-making where everyone – from company interns to our senior theater artists – can make a creative impact on the play.

"Giving artists ownership in the creation of a work, as well as the company itself, makes for a much-more rewarding and productive process.”

This summer the Artistic Team chose to tackle Shakespeare’s "As You Like It." The company went from script to show in two and a half weeks, during which time they also present young artist educational programming, community workshops, and outreach to Groveland Correctional Facility through their Voices UnCaged program, which recently received national recognition at the Arts in Corrections national conference in California. Actors live in the community for the summer, many of whom return year after year to work and eventually become seasonal residents.

One of those artists is Chad Bradford, who is associate artistic director for Shake on the Lake and is a founding company member. This summer’s tour is the fifth Shake on the Lake show Bradford has directed as he returns to Western New York after performing with Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.

“When I think about presenting Shakespeare in 90 minutes or less like we do at Shake on the Lake, it means we have to listen to each other and use collaboration to create our fun, fast, and physical shows,” Bradford said. “Our spectacle is original music, improvisation, and in having our actors having fun devising and performing.”

Shake on the Lake first began performing at its home stage, Silver Lake, where it continues to have a four-show residency during the first weekend in August. The company has transformed from a single venue to a region-wide tour with 18 shows.

“In the Elizabethan era, companies of performers would travel to the outskirts of the rural British countryside, set up shop, and perform these same Shakespearean plays,” Rice said. “Shake on the Lake echoes this history, and we thrive in communities that have similar rural sensibilities to those 400 years ago. Shakespeare has been performed everywhere, for everyone, and we’re proving that all communities deserve great theater --especially these rural ones.”

“We regularly have audiences in triple-figures," said Managing Director Pilar McKay. “To me, this shows that we are fulfilling our mission to create art that people want to be part of. Shake on the Lake is special because we live, work, and believe in our rural communities.”

Catch Shake on the Lake on tour this year in Wyoming County (Silver Lake – Perry/Castile, Letchworth St. Park, Arcade, and Attica), Genesee (Batavia), Orleans (Point Breeze and Lyndonville), Livingston (Geneseo and Linwood Gardens), Erie (Springville), Monroe (Brockport), Ontario (Cumming Nature Center), and Allegany (Angelica and Wellsville).

For more information about Shake on the Lake, click here.


Shake on the Lake is a live theater festival located in Silver Lake. Founded in 2012, as the only professional theater company in five adjacent counties in Western New York, the mission of the festival is to “entertain, engage, and enrich those in the community by creating theater productions in a natural outdoor setting.”

Show Synopsis:

"As You Like It" follows the story of Rosalind, who faces an uncertain future after the exile of her royal father by her uncle, the newly installed Duke Frederick. Buoyed by her loving cousin, Celia, and the rascally clown, Touchstone, Rosalind makes the best of her lot, and by chance, entrances the eyes of a brave young man, Orlando. After Orlando’s successful wrestling match against the Duke’s champion, both Orlando and Rosalind must secretly flee to uncertain lands to escape the eyre of the new duke as well as Orlando’s jealous brother, Oliver. They run separately to the Forest of Arden, fearing they will never see one another again, not knowing the magic and romance that awaits them in the forest.

Alternative Synopsis:

“All the world’s a stage,” and Shake on the Lake is poised to bring the “players with exits and entrances,” playing “many parts,” as they bring Shakespeare’s most musical comedy, "As You Like It," on tour across Western New York this summer. Join Rosalind, one of Shakespeare’s most savvy and strong heroines as she flees to the Forest of Arden with her comedic sidekicks to find her exiled father, Duke Senior. But what fate awaits her in the woods? Come find out as Shake on the Lake puts its fast, fun, and physical-style on display in this comedy about love, longing, and the beauty of the natural world, incorporating classic Shakespearean tropes like cross-dressing, mistaken identity, live music and songs, and...wrestling. All of Western New York is our stage in this 90-minute musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s "As You Like It," on tour now through Aug. 11.

July 4, 2019 - 11:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in picnic in the park, batavia, Centennial Park, GO ART!, video.
Video Sponsor

Some sights and sounds from GO ART's annual Picnic in the Park today in Centennial Park.

February 1, 2019 - 12:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Centennial Park, batavia, news.


Photo submitted by Melzie Case.

March 15, 2017 - 7:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Centennial Park, news, weather.


Lilah Guarino, 7, (top photo) and Quintin Hoca, 4, (below) couldn't wait to get to Centennial Park today to sled in the snow. The sun came out late this afternoon and they were there. It's the first time this winter there has really been enough snow for good sledding. Lilah's father said she's been bugging him all winter about sledding so she was eager to hit the slopes today.



March 9, 2017 - 11:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Centennial Park, batavia, weather, news.

Yesterday, we reported on the number of downed trees in Centennial Park and we mentioned coming across a couple cutting one tree into logs for firewood.

As we said, City Manager Jason Molino basically said, while not encouraged, the wood would eventually be taken to the yard waste station anyway where residents could claim it as firewood.

Police have just been dispatched to Centennial Park for a "suspicious condition." A person with a rusted black pickup truck is cutting wood.

January 12, 2016 - 1:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, batavia, Centennial Park.


It's cleared now, but about a half hour ago, Batavia got hit by a snow squall that reduced visibility. It was hard to see even more than a few trees deep into Centennial Park.

Forecasts show another band or two of lake effect snow heading our way this afternoon. The National Weather Service is Buffalo has a lake effect snow advisory in place until 10 p.m.

July 3, 2015 - 1:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, batavia, Centennial Park, GO ART!, July 4.


Big plans abound here for the Fourth of July weekend.

The Muckdogs kick things off at 7 p.m. with a game against Mahoning Valley. There will be a fireworks show after the game, and with the Muckdogs on the road tomorrow, that serves as your local Independence Day weekend pyrotechnics.

On the calendar tomorrow morning is the Kiwanis 5K, with a start time of 9 a.m. at Centennial Park. There's also a chance of rain in the morning, potentially the one blemish on the weekend weather.

In the afternoon, GO ART! hosts its annual Picnic in the Park at Centennial Park.

Sunday, it's time once again to ramble on down to Jackson Square (and School Street and Center Street) for the annual Ramble Music and Arts Fest.

March 2, 2015 - 2:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Centennial Park, weather.

It's been a bit nasty out today, but at least it's not sub-zero.

There's more winter weather on the way, too.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a winter weather advisory for noon Tuesday to 1 a.m. Wednesday.

The forecast is for a mix of snow and freezing rain and sleet. 

Snow accumulations of one to two inches and ice of a tenth of an inch.  

Visibilty will be less than a mile at times.

Caution when traveling is advised.

Top Photo: Ray Tortorice walks his Cub Cadet on Trumbull Parkway to clear snow from his walk and his neighbor's walk this afternoon. Bottom photo: a tree in Centennial Park.

July 5, 2014 - 12:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Centennial Park, GO ART!, picnic in the park.

I was driving to Centennial Park on July 4th afternoon when we got the call for the fire in Bethany, so I didn't make Picnic in the Park until things were winding down.

I did get to meet Hiawatha and her owner Brian, which was fun, and I enjoyed some great Celtic music by Gan Ainm.


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July 2, 2014 - 10:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, music, entertainment, Centennial Park.

The Batavia Concert Band kicked off its 2014 summer season at Centennial Park this evening. 

The season has been dedicated to the late Wayne A. Burilson, conductor, who died March 26 at age 37.

The guest conductor tonight was John Kresse.

Shows this year are scheduled for 7 p.m. in the park on July 9, July 16, July 23 and July 30 (all Wednesdays).

The band will also play Friday, July 4, at GO ART!'s Picnic in the Park, which runs from noon to 5 p.m.

Speaking of Picnic in the Park and music, also performing are Stephanie Pietrzak, “America’s Polka Sweetheart,” at 1 p.m., and at 2:30 p.m. is “Trilogy,” a four-piece classic rock and roll band, followed at 4 p.m. by Gan Ainm, playing Irish and Irish American traditional music, led by John Ryan.

And speaking of live music in Batavia, the Ramble Music at Arts Festival is this Saturday in Jackson Square. The opening ceremony is at 11:15 a.m.

June 23, 2014 - 9:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Centennial Park, GO ART!, picnic in the park.

Press release:

The Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council (GO ART!) presents the 36th annual “Picnic in the Park” this Independence Day. The festivities run from noon until 5 p.m. on Friday, July 4th, in historic Centennial Park on Richmond Avenue in Batavia. As is tradition, this year’s “Picnic in the Park” is a free, family-friendly event that will once again include all-day live musical entertainment, an arts and crafts show, folk arts programs, food vendors, children’s activities, and much more!

Introduced just last year to great response, the event will be preceded by a “Kiddie Parade” kicking off the day. Harkening back to earlier times, families with children ages 12 and under are invited to bring their bikes, scooters or strollers to the northwest corner of Centennial Park – between the Main Stage and Richmond Avenue -- at 11 a.m. to decorate them for an old time “Kiddie Parade.” Decorations will be provided, and the parade will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Ellicott and Park avenues.

Live entertainment is presented on two separate stages, the Main Stage and “Stage 2,” which has traditionally featured performances that engage kids and families. MAIN STAGE entertainment commences at noon with the “Picnic” staple Batavia Concert Band playing its traditional mix of Sousa-style marches and Big Band numbers.

Founded in 1924, the Batavia Concert Band has brought musical pleasure to the region every year except during World War II. The Concert Band itself consists of 40 - 50 brass, woodwind and percussion players ranging from advanced high school musicians to 50-year veterans. Many have professional performance experience; the rest are advanced amateurs. All love to play. The Band's musical repertoire is wide-ranging in origin, style and period, and includes marches, Broadway show tunes, favorites from hit musicals and movies, pop, jazz and even rock numbers arranged for band. Join the Band for weekly concerts during the summer on Wednesday evenings in Centennial Park.

A wide variety of bands featuring local and traditional music will follow on the Main Stage throughout the rest of the afternoon:

1 p.m. -- Stephanie Pietrzak, “America’s Polka Sweetheart,” takes the stage with her “Honky Polka Band” to perform their lively Polish polka music. Having played for more than 45 years in the polka industry, the much-heralded Pietrzak was inducted into the International Polka Association Hall of Fame in 2010. She began her polka music career at age 7 on the accordion but soon switched to the Polish concertina, a larger, square-shaped type of accordion with a distinctive sound, loved by Polka musicians. For more than 25 years she performed as a duo with her mother, Wanda, and the two were dubbed “America’s Polka Sweethearts.” They toured extensively across the United States and Canada and performed on numerous radio and television broadcasts, and with other well-known Polka musicians such as The Versatones, Marion Lush and Li’l Wally. Sietrzak continues to perform with her own band and has recorded several albums, including her own compositions. She developed her own radio show celebrating the music she loves at Polkasonline.com and continues to win awards for her work as a concertina player, vocalist and songwriter.

2:30 p.m. – “Trilogy” is a four piece classic rock and roll band that has been playing family-oriented music in the Western New York area for the past 26 years. The band features Dana Hurlburt on lead guitar and vocals; Guy Macaluso on bass, guitar, keyboards and vocals; Eric Kelly on guitar, keyboards and vocals; and Tom Kwiecien on drums. Be prepared to sing along and have fun!

4 p.m. -- Gan Ainm (pron.: gahn ahn'-um) performs Irish and Irish American traditional music, led by John Ryan. Meaning “without a name,” Gan Ainm recognizes the innumerable tunes that are passed on from one musician to the next, known as a "reel," "jig," "polka," or "hornpipe" that may be nameless, or ascribed to a person or event that fits the moment. The group includes players who have grown up in the active Irish music and dance community of the Rochester area, performing on button accordion, concertina, fiddle, guitar, tin whistle, bodhran, as well as vocals. They will invite you into the high energy dance tunes, soulful ballads, and easy camaraderie of an Irish session.

THROUGHOUT THE DAY in Centennial Park, other activities include horse-drawn wagon rides by Hartland Carriages, pony rides and petting zoo by North Forty Pony Express and the Wildlife Educators Coalition returning with its wide assortment of animals. Geoffrey Clough offers his popular interactive program of children’s songs called “Cookie Songwriting,” and of course juggling and other roving entertainment in the park. The GLOW Area YMCA will have its bounce house and inflatable obstacle course on site, and the Explore Art! Tent invites kids and families to do their own hands-on art activity, all materials provided, and free face painting will be available at the tent. Also, Stage II, the “family stage,” features interactive programs for kids and families, including family entertainer Janice Spagnola’s “The Extra Fun Balloon Show,” magic and puppet entertainment with a twist…a balloon twist that is! Balloon puppets will come to life along with amazing balloon magic. And finally, a surprise performance written and performed by the audience itself in a classic “choose your own adventure” style finale.

Along the Richmond Avenue side of Centennial Park, artists and crafters representing an amazing diversity of arts and crafts are featured in an ARTS AND CRAFTS SHOW AND SALE. An amazing variety of arts and crafts are represented, such as gemstone jewelry, photography, seasonal indoor/outdoor woodcrafts, puppets, hand-woven textiles, glass jewelry, clay creations, nautically inspired furniture, and much more. Additional attractions consist of booths by community nonprofit organizations, including Genesee County ARC information & recycling education, Genesee County Historians Association, Batavia Assembly of God dunk tank and sand art, Batavia Players pizza & show info, ACORNS Genesee County Park info, GO ART!’s Picnic in the Park prize giveaway and many others. “Picnic” always offers up tantalizing food by a variety of vendors, such as Abbott’s cones, sundaes, milkshakes and root beer floats, Lonsberry fresh-squeezed lemonade and soft pretzels, Kernel Cravin’ Kettle Corn, and, of course, the Batavia Jaycees famous "dog and burger stand" in its traditional location.

The event is funded, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts Folk Arts Program with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Picnic sponsors include the County of Genesee, LocalEdge and Rotary Club of Batavia. Table sponsors: Batavia Area Jaycees, CY Farms/Batavia Turf, Roger & JoAnn Triftshauser, and Turnbull Heating & Air. Contributor: Freed Maxick CPAs, P.C. Flag Sponsors: Bouchard Financial Services, Bob and Linda Knipe, McGinnis Excavation & Plumbing, and Tonawanda Valley FCU. Friends include Max & Jane Mason and Paula R. Schumann. Additional support provided by City of Batavia DPW, Genesee County Chamber and the Porter Family.

Admission is free to the “Picnic in the Park.” Please call GO ART! at 585-343-9313, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.goart.org for more information.

May 10, 2014 - 11:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Centennial Park.

This is certainly a beautiful time of year for Centennial Park. The trees are budding and the dandelions and forget-me-nots are in bloom.

April 19, 2014 - 1:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Centennial Park, Batavia Kiwanis Club.

The Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt this morning at Centennial Park might be called an Easter Egg Scramble. It starts at 9 a.m. and pretty much all of the plastic eggs containing either candy or prize numbers are off the ground by 9:01.


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