The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Jul 27-Aug 7, 2022

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

'Tis pity love should be so contrary.

Friend or foe? While traveling abroad in Northern Italy, best friends Valentine and Proteus find themselves at odds over the same girl, putting their fidelity to the test. In "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," Shakespeare delivers a charming adventure complete with romantic intrigue, disorderly servants and a band of honorable outlaws.

Since 1958, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival has delighted audiences with professional theatre on the CU Boulder campus. Complete your Colorado summer with Shakespeare under the stars in the historic Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre—complimentary seatbacks included.

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Weather policy

Attending an outdoor show in the Boulder foothills can be unpredictable. Come prepared to enjoy the adventure by reviewing our weather policy and attire suggestions. Learn more

Performance dates and times

Wednesday, July 27, 7 p.m.  $22-$69
Thursday, July 28, 7 p.m.  $22-$69
Wednesday, Aug. 3, 7 p.m.  $22-$69
Thursday, Aug. 4, 7 p.m.  $22-$69
Sunday, Aug. 7, 7 p.m.  $31-$86

View full CSF 2022 calendar

Buying options

Save big with season tickets! This show is available in the Full, Pick 2 or 3, Weekday Will, and Choice Option packages or as an add-on to other season ticket orders. Learn more

Single ticket discounts are available for preview night, groups (10+), youth (K-12), seniors (65+), students, active military and CU employees. Volunteer ushers get to see the show for free. Learn more

More about the show

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Plot synopsis

Lifelong best friends Valentine and Proteus must part ways. Valentine leaves home in Verona to pursue a life of adventure in Milan, accompanied by his servant Speed, while Proteus stays behind to be near his beloved Julia. After Valentine’s departure, Proteus’ relatives encourage him to follow his friend and make something of himself in Milan. Proteus and Julia say their goodbyes, but not before sealing their engagement with a ring and a solemn oath. Joined by the clownish Launce and a canine companion named Crab, Proteus departs for Milan.

In Milan, despite earlier pronouncements against love, Valentine is unexpectedly smitten with the Duke’s daughter Silvia. She’s engaged to her father’s favorite, Thurio, but secretly agrees to wed Valentine. When Proteus arrives in Milan, however, he also becomes infatuated with Silvia, forgetting his loyalty to Julia and Valentine. Proteus betrays his best friend by revealing Valentine and Silvia’s clandestine elopement plans to the Duke, which results in Valentine’s banishment and Silvia’s confinement. With Valentine out of the way, Proteus attempts to win Silvia over. Meanwhile, Julia disguises herself as a male page (“Sebastian”) and arrives in Milan. Proteus hires “Sebastian” to woo Silvia on his behalf.

Silvia flees captivity in search of Valentine, with her father and her two unwanted suitors, Thurio and Proteus, in swift pursuit. Silvia is captured by a group of exiled outlaws in the forest, then “rescued” by Proteus, who attempts to take Silvia by force. The banished Valentine, now the newly minted leader of the outlaws, intervenes to protect Silvia. Valentine first denounces his friend, then, at Proteus’ remorse, forgives him. Julia reveals herself, and Proteus’ love for her is restored.

The Duke forgives Valentine’s deception and approves of the marriage to Silvia. At Valentine’s request, the Duke permits the banished outlaws to rejoin society. All enemies are reconciled, friends forgiven, and relationships are (mostly) restored. 

—Amanda Giguere, dramaturg

Director's note

Look for The Hook. That’s the first thing I do with a play. Before I get involved with actors and designers, I look for The Hook: the thing in the story that really grabs me on a personal level. In this play, I found it right there in the first speech. It’s that fierce, lifelong friendship between Valentine and Proteus. These guys are young, but their friendship feels old, like it stretches back to childhood, school days, first crushes, heartbreaks, failures and successes (the agonies and the ecstasies, as it were). I have a friendship like that. It’s been a long, rich, rewarding trip, but there have been times—I’m sure she’d agree—when the road has been… rocky.

As our play begins, we catch the eponymous Two Gentlemens’ friendship on the brink of its first real crisis: separation. Facing that dilemma is a huge first step on the path to maturity. Do I venture out into the world and make my way? Or do I stay home and claim my spot? And what happens to our friendship? We faced it too, my dear friend and I. Like Valentine, I chose to leave my hometown for college, travel, career, new horizons. My friend chose to stay home and made an equally distinct life there, as the proverbial pillar of her community. And just as we feared, the bond was broken. We got busy. We drifted. Feelings were hurt. We both had a lot of growing up to do. But then, years later, a tragic event brought us back together, the bond re-formed, and now we feel more like family than friends. To paraphrase Dr. King, the arc of friendship is long, but it bends (if it doesn’t break) toward love, acceptance, wisdom…

Proteus and Valentine certainly have some adventures in this play. They both fall in love. Go out on their own. Meet new people and forge new relationships. One even becomes something akin to a pirate, for goodness’ sake! And their bond is tested. Big time. They, too, have a lot of growing up to do. But ultimately, despite profound betrayal and a breach of trust, they find forgiveness. And I like to hope that it’s this forgiveness—maybe the most supreme act of maturity—that propels them forward to love, acceptance and wisdom.

Oh, and did I mention there’s a bit with a dog?

—Carolyn Howarth, Director for The Two Gentlemen of Verona

A tale of two tails: Dog actors make debut at CSF

Two unlikely actors will make an appearance at this year’s Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Mabel, an 8-year-old lab-mix, and Zebulon, a black lab trained for service through Canine Partners of the Rockies, will share the role of Crab in The Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare in the 2022 summer season.

CU Boulder Today

Learn more - A tale of two tails: Dog actors make debut at CSF

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

While this early play is often given short shrift by casual observers of the canon, it is a surprisingly sophisticated elixir of bitter moral choices, on friendship and love, sweetened with an array of comedic shtick—a tonic on par with the playwright's later, more familiar efforts, as we see in this well-conceived and finely tuned production.

Bob Bows, ColoradoDrama

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Where there is a Will (Shakespeare), there is a way

“What we kept asking ourselves was, ‘What’s on the other side of making a mistake? Is that it? What happens next? Can there be forgiveness?’” Orr said. “Those are all very important questions in 2022. Because what is the alternative?”

John Moore, The Denver Gazette

Learn more - Where there is a Will (Shakespeare), there is a way

Performance Extras

Featured Free Event
Classics 101 Jun 5-Dec 12, 2023

Classics 101

Learn all about plays in Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s…


Carolyn Howarthº

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Troy Coleman


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Anastasia Davidson


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Jacob Dresch*


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Logan Ernstthal*


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Walter Kmiec*


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Kyle Lawrence

Cosimo / Ensemble

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Lucinda Lazo

Host / Ensemble

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Shunté Lofton*


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Chloe McLeod


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Kevin Rich*


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Christian Ray Robinson


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Sean Scrutchins*


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Karen Slack


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Gary Alan Wright*


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Artistic Team

Stage manager

Paul Behrhorst*

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Scenic designer

David J. Castellano^

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Costume designer

Meghan Anderson Doyle

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Sound designer

Jason Ducat^

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Amanda Giguere

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Assistant stage manager

Kaylyn Kriaski*

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Lighting designer

Shannon McKinney^

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Director of voice and text

Jeffrey Parker

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Dance / Movement Choreographer

Erika Randall

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Plan your visit

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Accessibility Services

The University of Colorado is committed to providing equal access to individuals with disabilities. If you are planning to attend an event take some time to review our accessibility services.

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