shakespeare

A perilous romance. A tragic history. An infamous wager.

Shakespeare’s most controversial yet poignant play, The Merchant of Venice, offers a visceral display of courtship, prejudice, money and revenge, ending ultimately in a choice between life and death.

Shakespeare & Company’s Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer reunites with longtime Company member Jonathan Epstein as Shylock, the Bard’s most memorable and highly charged outsider. Tamara Hickey plays Portia in the production. 

  This Summer, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival presents productions of The Bard’s Measure for Measure, As You Like It, and Macbeth in repertory in the tent at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, NY.

Davis McCallum and Annie Purcell join us.

Davis is Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s Artistic Director, he has been in the position for two full seasons. The award winning director has also directed this summer’s production of Measure for Measure -- which stars Annie Purcell as Isabella. Her Broadway credits include The Coast of Utopia, Dividing the Estate, and Awake and Sing!.

 In his new book The Year Of Lear: Shakespeare In 1606, James Shapiro offers a portrait of one of the most inspired moments in William Shakespeare's career, the extraordinary year he completed King Lear and then went on to write the two other great tragedies Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra. Shapiro, a preeminent Shakespeare scholar and author of the previous books, A Year in the Life of Shakespeare: 1599 and Contested Will sheds new light on these plays by placing them in the context of their time.

For more than 2,000 years, the death of Julius Caesar has fascinated us. Most of us only know only what we learned from the high school staple, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: a story of amateur politicians who banded together, however clumsily, to assassinate a tyrant. Since then, countless movies and series have referenced the historical event, but what actually happened on March 15, 44 B.C. is more gripping than any fictional account.

In the new book The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination, Barry Strauss presents a historic account of the real death of Julius Caesar, and an examination of the key players' motives. 

  Tina Packer is one of the country’s foremost experts on Shakespeare and theatre arts and now the actor, director, and master teacher offers an exploration of the women of Shakespeare’s plays in her new book: Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare's Plays.

  License to Quill is a James Bond-esque spy thriller starring William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe during history's real life Gunpowder Plot.

The story follows the fascinating golden age of English espionage, the tumultuous cold war gripping post-Reformation Europe, and the cloak-and-dagger politics of Renaissance England. Readers will frequent the same taverns as Shakespeare, test their wits against the infamous Guy Fawkes, witness the miracles of the scientific revolution, and delight in the mysterious origins of the Bard's most haunting play: Macbeth.

  Fresh from their starring roles in Cymbeline at the Delacorte Theater in New York, real life couple Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater will appear together at Shakespeare & Company in a special Staged Reading of Shakespeare's great historical tragedy Richard III, to benefit the Company's performance, training and education programs.

This special event will take place on Saturday, October 10 at 2 p.m. in the Tina Packer Playhouse. Ms. Rabe will portray Queen Elizabeth, opposite Mr. Linklater who is cast in the title role. The reading will be directed by Co-Artistic Director Jonathan Croy.

Hamish Linklater and Jonathan Croy join us.

Enrico Spada

  An imagined version of true events, Red Velvet is the story of Ira Aldridge, the first African-American actor to play Othello on the English stage in 1833. In the story lines are blurred between race, friendship, betrayal and art.

The powerful play is currently running at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA and stars OBIE Award-winning actor John Douglas Thompson as Ira Aldridge. 

Red Velvet was written by Lolita Chakrabarti and directed at Shakespeare & Company by Daniela Varon.

  The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival engages the widest possible audience in a fresh conversation about what is essential in Shakespeare’s plays. Founded in 1987, HVSF’s primary home is a spectacular open-air theater tent at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, NY.

This season they present The Winter's Tale, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Tempest by The Bard; The Arabian Nights by Mary Zimmerman, adapted from The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night; and HVSF’s first solo show starring Kurt Rhoads in An Iliad by Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare, adapted from Homer's Iliad.

Davis McCallum is Artistic Director of HVSF - appointed in May 2014. He joins us now along with actors Susannah Millonzi and Jason O’Connell.

Joan Marcus

  Nominated for 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Something Rotten! tells the story of playwright brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom played by Brian D’Arcy James and John Cariani, who live in the shadow of that Renaissance rockstar known as “The Bard” - Christian Borle as a strutty Shakespeare who renders everyone he encounters utterly star-struck.

In his effort to overshadow Shakespeare, Nick Bottom seeks out a soothsayer (played by Brad Oscar) who foretells that the future of theater involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical!

John Cariani  - a playwright and actor who has worked often in our region - steals Something Rotten! with his endearing nerdiness - his character is a sincere, sweet, Shakespeare fan-boy.

'Hamlet' At TheRep

Apr 17, 2015

  “The play's the thing.” – and in this case, the play’s the play that quotation comes from.

Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, NY is producing William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Hamlet and there will be something rotten in the state of Denmark on the CapRep stage through May 10th.

Broadway’s Kevin McGuire directs. Kevin is the Founding Artistic Director of the Theatre Company at Hubbard Hall and while there he’s directed Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Two Gentlemen of Verona, as well as over 50 other plays and musicals.

  Tina Packer is one of the world's leading authorities on Shakespeare's work and the Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA.

She'll be delivering the 19th Annual Burian Lecture on April 13th at SUNY Albany, sponsored by the Department of Theatre and co-sponsored by the NYS Writers Institute. In the lecture she'll discuss her new book, Women of Will: The Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays

Facebook: Shakespeare & Company

Just like its neighbor to the north the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Shakespeare & Company is launching its 2015 season under new leadership.

Rick Dildine started as executive director for the Lenox-based company in September having previously served as artistic and executive director of the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. Dildine spoke with WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Jim Levulis about the upcoming season, which typically draws about 60,000 people.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

All the world’s a stage — and in just its second year, Pittsfield’s Shakespeare in the Park has found a new one. The company will present one of the playwright’s most famous works this summer for free after moving to a recently upgraded downtown attraction.

  In our series, Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities we check in with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area to discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter.

This morning we welcome NY Humanities and James Shapiro, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. James joins us to discuss Shakespeare’s Shakespeare's legacy and how he has been read in America.

Enrico Spada / Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park

As the days of August tick away, many Berkshires performance venues are closing the curtains on their summer sessions.

  

  Thursday, August 14th at 4pm, The Berkshire Theatre Group - in partnership with Chesterwood - will present "Lincoln's Favorite Shakespeare" - an afternoon reading of President Abraham Lincoln's favorite writing by Shakespeare.

  A quartet of noted actors are donating their performances to the event which has been assembled and annotated by noted Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer and is produced and directed by Gordon Hyatt.

One of the actors is Chris Noth, who is best known for his work on Law & Order, Sex and the City, and The Good Wife.

    Thursday, August 14th at 4pm, The Berkshire Theatre Festival - in partnership with Chesterwood - will present "Lincoln's Favorite Shakespeare" - an afternoon reading of President Abraham Lincoln's favorite writing by Shakespeare. The reading will take place at Berkshire Theatre Group's Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge, MA and will be followed by a reception at Chesterwood.

A quartet of noted actors: Kathleen Chalfant, Chris Noth, John Douglas Thompson and Fritz Weaver are donating their performances to the event which has been assembled and annotated by noted scholar Harold Holzer, author and editor of over 40 books about Lincoln.

    The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival began in 1987 with an outdoor production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, performed under the stars at Manitoga, industrial designer Russell Wright's home in Garrison, New York. The following year HVSF was officially born. Boscobel House and Gardens, in Garrison, became its new home and HVSF grew dramatically, from its first audience of 230 to over 35,000 in 2013. Twenty-eight years later, HVSF is a critically acclaimed regional theater, attracting audiences from the tri-state area and beyond, and operating a year-round education program. 

This year, Hudson Valley Shakespeare presents the bard's Othello, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and David Ives’ The Liar. The shows run in rep through the end of this month. They also present a family-friendly 90-minute production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream on August 18th and 19th. 

  Set on a small, fictional island off the coast of Maine, Alexi Zentner's second novel, The Lobster Kings, is a nod to Shakespeare’s King Lear.

It introduces a fiery and unforgettable heroine, Cordelia Kings. The Lobster Kings is the story of Cordelia’s struggle to maintain her island’s way of life.

  Shakespeare’s Macbeth is considered one of the greatest tragedies ever written, overflowing with murder, madness and evil spirits, as it explores the dark side of ambition, greed, and guilt. Macbeth is the play most requested by summer audiences at Saratoga Shakespeare Company.

Saratoga Shakespeare’s production of Macbeth will run in Congress Park July 15th-27th. Joining to tell us more – actors Tim Dugan (Macbeth), Amy Prothro (Lady Macbeth) and Artistic Director of Saratoga Shakespeare Company, Lary Opitz.

Herbert Wolff Reviews "Shakespeare's Will"

Jun 29, 2014

Today theater reviewer Herbert Wolff looks at the Shakespeare and Company production of "Shakepeare's Will,"  playing now through August 24 at the Bernstein Theater.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Theater enthusiasts can add another event to the typically busy schedule of cultural attractions in the Berkshires this summer.

    Bedlam Theatre in New York City that is currently producing two shows - played in repertory, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan are boldly theatrical, stripped down, immersive productions of classic plays. These two large-cast shows are each played with a company of four - and not only four, but the same four actors in both plays.

Eric Tucker is the the Artistic Director of Bedlam Theatre. He plays Hamlet and a few other roles in their production of Hamlet, numerous characters in Saint Joan, and directed both productions. Bedlam’s Producing Director, Andrus Nichols, plays Joan in Saint Joan and numerous characters in Hamlet - including Gertrude, Ophelia, Guildenstern, the Player King, and the Gravedigger.

Bedlam is a company committed to the immediacy of the relationship between the actor and the audience - they create theatre in a flexible, raw space - and the audience is always included in their productions.

Eric Tucker joins us to tell us more - he has worked with playwrights Tony Kushner, David Henry Hwang, David Ives, Paula Vogel and Ellen McLaughlin. He is founder of the Trinity Shakespeare Summer Project and has worked with Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, MA - including working with Tina Packer on Women of Will.

More than three and half decades since its release, Star Wars is more popular than ever. News of the series reboot means a new round of earnest excitement, but for now, blind fandom has been replaced among aficionados with a new level of ironic appreciation for the universe: Family Guy and Robot Chicken have celebrated the trilogies; the ill-fated Star Wars Christmas Special that features Chewbacca racing across the galaxy for the holidays has millions of YouTube views; one-man Star Wars performer Charlie Ross has been on this very show; and actors like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reportedly began their comedy partnership when one recognized the other’s droid sound effect at a dinner.

All of which is to say it’s surprising that it took this long to bring the ivory tower gravity of Statford-On-Avon to the swamps of Dagobah.

But novelist Ian Doescher has done just that in his new book, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope, out now from Quirk Books.

And before you curse the ghost of Thomas Bowdler, think about it for a second: Star Wars and Shakespeare is not such a stretch. There’s the Falstaffian comic relief of C-3PO and R2D2, the questions over legacy and progeny that consume Darth Vader like an interstellar King Lear, the underworld of a Shylock known as Jabba the Hutt.

So before he exits, pursued by a Wookie, it's our pleasure to welcome Ian Doescher to the Roundtable.

  The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is celebrating its 27th season with three shows - The Three Musketeers, All’s Well That Ends Well and King Lear.

Shakespeare’s masterpiece about an aging king’s attempt to divide his kingdom between his three daughters. Deceived by misplaced affection and flattery, the king makes a series of terrible decisions, tearing his family and kingdom apart, and is pushed to the brink of madness.

The festival's founding Artistic Director, Terry O’Brien joins us this morning along with Stephen Paul Johnson, who plays Lear, and Jason O’Connell who is in both Lear and All’s Well.

    Saratoga Shakespeare Company’s free professional production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, gets underway next week. Directed by David Girard, the play will be set in 1930s Saratoga as part of the Saratoga 150 celebration.

Here to tell us more, we welcome Lary Opitz – who plays Falstaff and is the SSC Artistic Director. Yvonne Perry is also here – she plays Mistress Page - and Brenny Rabine plays Mistress Ford.

    Woodstock Shakespeare Festival’s 18th summer season opens July 12th with The Winter’s Tale, one of the bard’s most fascinating late works.

Bird-On-A-Cliff Theatre Company performs The Winter’s Tale outdoors on an Elizabethan stage in Woodstock every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from July 12 through August 4.

David Aston-Reese is Co-Founder/Artistic Director of the company and stars in this production. Veteran actor and director Nicola Sheara directs.

The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival began in 1987 and makes its home under a specially designed tent theater on the grounds of the historic Boscobel House & Gardens in Garrison, New York. The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is dedicated to producing the plays of Shakespeare with an economy of style that focuses energy and resources on script, actors and audience. This season they present Love’s Labour’s Lost, Romeo and Juliet, and The 39 Steps.

Saratoga Shakespeare’s Artistic Director, Bill Finlay, joins us along with actors Sarah Luz Cordoba and Patricia Culbert to discuss their production of Twelfth Night. The show opens in Congress Park, Saratoga Springs, on July 17 for a two-week run on the Alfred Z. Solomon Stage.