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Shakespeare on the Common shortens its season

The Citi Performing Arts Center (formerly the Wang Center for the Performing Arts ) has announced that it is cutting back on the free Shakespeare on the Common season this year. The summer show will be "A Midsummer Night's Dream ," running for one week only, July 24-July 29, on Boston Common.

Josiah A. Spaulding Jr., president and CEO of the Citi Performing Arts Center, says that the shorter run is for this year only.

According to Spaulding, the number of performances will be cut from the usual 20 to eight or nine, and the show will move from the Parade Grounds back to its former home near the bandstand. The Boston Parks and Recreation Department asked the company to move the show, he said, so it could reseed and resod the Parade Grounds. The city was also mindful of neighbors' concerns about noise.

"They wanted us to do less performances and be out there less time," he said by phone yesterday. "In past years it's gotten so big that the amount of time we're on the Common is disruptive to the Beacon Hill residents. We said that would be fine."

A Citi statement says: "While we have enjoyed good audiences -- playing to 100,000 over 3 1/2 weeks -- the size of each audience has varied greatly; by consolidating into one week, we will maximize audience attendance at every performance. This will also respond to the year-round residents in the area who are sensitive to the number and duration of Boston Common events, and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department who supports overall reduced wear and tear on the grounds within the park."

The International Centre for Women Playwrights is sponsoring a series of events during Women's History Month. Tomorrow at 7 p.m., a "Celebration of Women's Voices" at Wellesley College will feature eight short plays by local women writers. On Thursday at 7 p.m., the Boston Playwrights' Theatre will host a "Celebration of Monologues by Women," featuring short monologues by 16 local writers. 617-630-9704 , More events to come. . . . Mary Callanan takes over as the lead in "Respect, a Musical Journey" for Kathy St. George , who is off on new projects, beginning Wednesday at the Stuart Street Playhouse.

Catherine Foster can be reached at