What a clever and unique idea to combine the drama and tragedy of Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” with the danger and intrigue of a Jack Bauer television episode of “24”!  The Summer Theatre of New Canaan is doing just that in its “H4,”  until Saturday, July 3, billing it as “1 country, 2 rivals, 3 armies.”

Waveny Park in New Canaan with a new open-air tent is the idyllic site of the action as King Henry, brought to commanding life by Richard Willis, plans a military battle while agonizing over his son Hal, a high-spirited and fun loving Michael Nathanson, who has shown no signs of leadership or princely traits.

While Prince Hal carouses with his portly and pleasure seeking pal Falstaff, a boastful Brian Silliman, King Henry has to contend with a former ally Hotspur, a valiant Michael Chmiel.  Hotspur has abandoned his loyalties to the throne when King Henry failed to reward him for his help in securing him his powerful seat.

When summoned by his father, Hal realizes it is long past time for him to grow up and manifest his royal ways, to prove his worthiness to succeed his parent in ruling England.

Don’t be surprised by the modern dress, faxes and computer that appear as well as the slide show that accompanies the minute by minute action.

The cast also includes Dorothy Abrahams, Faith Bryck, Darien Dauchan, Jim Donovan, Mace Perlman and Brian Wicker in a variety of roles.  Allegra Libonati directs this journey into history in an imaginative manner.

The performances of “H4” are free, but donations are always welcome of $20 for adults and $10 for students and children.  Performances are Wednesday – Sunday at 8 p.m. in Waveny Park, New Canaan, exit 37 off the Merritt, rain or shine.

The summer season also includes Shakespeare for Kids at 2 p.m., on July 3, rain or shine, “Seussical the Musical” Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. until July 18 and “Big River,” the musical adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Wednesday – Sunday at 7:45 p.m. July 10-August 1.  For tickets and reservations, call 203-966-4634 or go online to

Follow King Henry and his son Hal on four eventful days in his tumultuous reign to glory in battle.

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