By Polly Keary, Editor
Free entertainment is in abundant supply in Monroe this summer.
From Shakespeare performances to concerts to outdoor movies, there is plenty to occupy Sky Valley families in coming weeks.
Movies Under the Moon is one of Monroe’s longest standing summer traditions.
Put on by the Parks and Recreation Department each year, it is a series of Friday night movies shown on an outdoor screen at Lake Tye Park.
Each movie starts at dusk, and is accompanied by an 8 p.m. themed pre-event for kids, and families are invited to come to the park, spread out blankets or unfold lawn chairs, bring a picnic basket of snacks, and enjoy a night at the movies with neighbors and friends.
Friday, Aug. 2, the series starts with the Dr. Seuss classic The Lorax. This 2012 animated version tells the story of Ted Wiggins, 12, who sets out from his synthetic town to find a real tree. He finds a character called the Once-ler, who tells of meeting the Lorax, the guardian of a now-vanished forest that had fallen victim to the Once-ler’s greed. Zac Efron is the voice of Ted Wiggins, and Danny DeVito voices the Lorax. County music star Taylor Swift takes a turn in the film as Audrey, the girl Wiggins likes.
The Lorax is rated PG.
Madagascar 3 follows Friday, Aug. 9. It, too, is an animated film, the last of a trilogy of comedies about a group of African animals that wind up in untenable situations; this time stranded in the European gambling mecca of Monaco on a mission to get to New York.
Ben Stiller plays the voice of the main character, a lion named Alex, and comedian Chris Rock plays his best friend, a zebra named Marty. The rest of the cast is a who’s who of celebrities, including Jada Pinkett Smith, Sasha Baron Cohen, Martin Short, Frances McDormand and more.
The movie is rated PG.
The Avengers, a movie based on a Marvel Comics series, will show Friday, Aug. 18. The film features a whole host of Marvel superheroes, including Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor and Captain America, who set out to save the planet from the marauding Loki, Thor’s evil brother.
Robert Downey, Jr. appears in his long-running role as Iron Man, Mark Ruffalo plays the Hulk and Chris Evans is Captain America. Samuel Jackson appears as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., a spy agency that works to protect Earth.
The movie, a box office blockbuster, was directed by cult television favorite Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly.
The movie is rated PG-13.
Movies Under the Moon will conclude with The Hobbit on Friday, Aug. 23. The Hobbit stars English actor Martin Freeman, of the popular BBC shows The Office and Sherlock, as the Hobbit, with Ian McKellan playing the wizard Gandalf.
The movie will make for a long evening, at two hours and 50 minutes, but it won’t be hard staying awake; after a fairly slow opening sequence, it’s one long unfolding crisis with enough battles, harrowing escapes and massive special effects for any three ordinary blockbusters.
The Hobbit is rated PG-13.