Canal Winchester residents and guests will get a taste of Shakespeare and a meal fit for a king or queen Feb. 15 and 16 when the Canal Winchester High School Performing Arts Department presents the 25th annual Madrigal Dinner Theater.
Director Todd Phillips said the event started as an opportunity to give students a chance to do a show in the middle of the winter.
It has evolved into a sell-out production that involves 120 students in period costumes performing instrumental and vocal music from the mid-1500s through the mid-1600s.
Shakespeare's comedy As You Like It and the professionally catered dinner will begin at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 and at 2 p.m. Feb. 16. at the high school cafeteria, 300 Washington St.
However, the entertainment actually begins about 45 minutes prior to show time, Phillips said.
"The audience is getting a great meal and a really entertaining evening of theater, music, dance, and the joy of watching kids do this really, really incredible work that admittedly not a lot of schools will even attempt," he said.
Audience members aren't the only ones who gain from the evening, according to Phillips.
"They (students) get the opportunity to really dig into a playwright, like Shakespeare, understand what he was doing and understand what his stories were about, and learn how to really perform them, so the audience can connect with them -- that it is just not a bunch of random, pretty words," he said.
CWHS junior Mikayla Boise performed as an instrumentalist in a previous Madrigal show, but this year's production will be her first as an actor.
She said the experience has helped with her understanding of Shakespeare.
"Before I just read it and kind of understood it in English class, but now, just being able to act it out, I can definitely connect more with it," she said. "When I read Shakespeare in class, I'm definitely the one to understand it more."
Boise said performing in the annual event "has helped me grow a lot in public speaking."
Jacob Brown, a sophomore, also will be acting in the Madrigal event for the first time. He agreed that the opportunity to perform in a Shakespeare play carries over to his knowledge in the classroom.
"I definitely learned what acting is like and it is really fun," Brown said. "I also learned a lot about Shakespeare and what he was really about and not just the tragedies we read in English."
Tickets must be purchased in advance from choir students or by calling 614-836-1448.
Tickets cost $20 each for the Saturday, Feb. 15, performance, which will include a five-course meal.
Tickets for the Sunday, Feb. 16, performance and four-course luncheon cost $15 each.