If you’re lucky enough to have this beautiful day off for Presidents Day, you can’t possibly be blamed for missing these stories…

Kentucky Shakespeare announces updates and partners for Festival

Dathan Hooper, left, and Brian Hinds of Kentucky Shakespeare perform a scene from “Julius Caesar” at the Gala | Photo by Melissa Chipman

At the annual Shakespeare in Love gala in support of Kentucky Shakespeare this weekend, Artistic Director Matt Wallace made some important announcements about the coming season and updates coming to Central Park.

The longest-running free Shakespeare Festival in the U.S. is now in its 57th year. The event will run from May 31-Aug. 13 and feature 66 performance and eight productions.

But before the summer festival kicks off, Kentucky Shakespeare will tour 23 parks with a six-actor performance of “Julius Caesar.”

Wallace will direct the full version of “Julius Caesar” in Central Park as well as “Much Ado About Nothing.” Assistant Artistic Director Amy Attaway will direct “Richard II.”

Last fall, the company dismantled the 25-year old stage house originally designed by Actors Theatre veteran scenic designer, Paul Owen. Owen will return to create the scenery for this summer’s series.

Director of Education Kyle Ware will be directing “The Merchant of Venice” with the Globe Players, the high school program. The Louisville Ballet will debut a new piece. The Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival will come and perform two nights of “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”

Attaway talked about the Shakespeare With Veterans program, which began one year ago. The program meets at the Veterans’ Center once a week. They will perform as a pre-show in July.

The Louisville Improvisors will return with “Late Night Shakes,” during which they take suggestions from the audience and perform a full-length Shakespeare play.

Center Stage will also return. Last year, they performed “West Side Story.” This year, they’re going to mount “Kiss Me Kate.”

But the biggest announcement of the night was a thrill to every regular Kentucky Shakespeare Festival goer. “This summer, at some point, you’re going to see brand new restrooms in Central Park,” Wallace announced to thunderous applause. “And if you mention my name, you’ll get a good seat.”

Charismatic, Derby and Preakness winner, dies

Charismatic | File photo

Derby and Preakness winner Charismatic died suddenly on Sunday morning at Old Friends Equine, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, Ky., where the champion thoroughbred had resided since December 2016. He was 20 years old.

Charismatic was injured during the Belmont Stakes, which ended his racing career, but he was still named Horse of the Year. His jockey, Chris Antley, is credited with saving the horse’s life.

“Right now, everyone is pretty much inconsolable,” Old Friends president Michael Blowen said Sunday in a news release. “Last night, at 6:30, he was fine. He was a really tough horse and he deserved a much longer retirement. But none of us, unfortunately, has a magic wand. Everyone at Old Friends takes solace from the few great months that this great Champion gave us.”

According to The Herald-Leader, Charismatic had 17 starts, five wins, two places, four shows and earned $2,038,064. Prior to returning to Kentucky, he stood stud in Japan since 2002.

The cause of death is unknown and a necropsy is pending.

Kentucky’s Space Tango lifts off with Elon Musk’s SpaceX CRS-10 launch

Elon Musk’s SpaceX became the first to launch at the historic Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center since the shuttle launched five years ago. On the unmanned spacecraft, headed for the International Space Station, is a payload from Kentucky’s Space Tango.

These payloads will be added to the already installed TangoLab Facility on the ISS and allow Space Tango its first commercial opportunity to let researchers use microgravity for application on Earth. Space Tango builds systems that facilitate microgravity research on Earth by managing customers’ experiments on the ISS.

“Space Tango is a leader of a rapidly growing entrepreneurial space industry in Kentucky,” shared Kris Kimel, Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation president and Space Tango chairman.

According to The Washington Post, Launch Complex 39A is the site from which many of the Apollo astronauts — including the Apollo 11 crew of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins — took off on their trips to the moon.