Category Archives: Shakespeare

Play On Shakespeare

Dear Friends,

In the mail this weekend we received a notification from Play On Shakespeare Festival which we wanted to share with you today.

Their Shakespeare festival will begin next Wednesday (May 29th) at 7:00pm with The Two Gentleman of Verona. The month-long festival will be held here in New York at the Classical Stage Company (136 E. 13th Street) and the final performance will be The Noble Kinsmen on June 30th at 2:00pm.

Of course, Shakespeare is very near and dear to our hearts—my (Philip) father started the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, CT in the early 1950s. And because Shakespeare was a love of my father’s, Shakespeare was also a large part of my life and I just could not image theatre without Shakespeare.

With 39 performances available to you, we strongly urge you to go partake in the Play On Shakespeare Festival! Below is a list of the plays being shown. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.

PLAY ON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL LINE UP
May 29 7:00pm – The Two Gentlemen of Verona
May 30 2:00pm – The Taming of the Shrew
May 30 7:00pm – Titus Andronicus
May 31 7:00pm – Henry VI, Part 1
June 1 2:00pm – Henry VI, Part 2
June 1 7:00pm – Henry VI, Part 3
June 2 2:00pm – Richard III
June 3 7:00pm – The Comedy of Errors
June 5 7:00pm – Love’s Labour’s Lost
June 6 2:00pm – Edward III
June 6 7:00pm – Richard II
June 7 7:00pm – Romeo and Juliet
June 8 2:00pm – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
June 8 7:00pm –King John
June 9 2:00pm – The Merchant of Venice
June 10 7:00pm – Much Ado About Nothing
June 12 7:00pm –Henry IV, Part 1
June 13 2:00pm – The Merry Wives of Windsor
June 13 7:00pm –Henry IV, Part 2
June 14 7:00pm – Henry V
June 15 2:00pm – As You Like It
June 15 7:00pm – Julius Caesar
June 16 2:00pm – Hamlet
June 17 7:00pm – Twelfth Night
June 19 7:00pm – Troilus and Cressida
June 20 2:00pm – Measure for Measure
June 20 7:00pm – Othello
June 21 7:00pm – All’s Well That Ends Well
June 22 2:00pm – Timon of Athens
June 22 7:00pm – King Lear
June 23 2:00pm –Antony and Cleopatra
June 24 7:00pm – Macbeth
June 26 7:00pm – Coriolanus
June 27 2:00pm – Pericles
June 27 7:00pm – Cymbeline
June 28 7:00pm – The Winter’s Tale
June 29 2:00pm – Henry VIII
June 29 7:00pm – The Tempest
June 30 2:00pm – The Two Noble Kinsmen

Regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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All Hail The King!

Dear Friends,

We wanted to share with you an wonderful happening that cannot be missed: Glenda Jackson starring at King Lear on Broadway.

This is a limited run at the Cort Theatre (138 West 48th Street). It is currently in previews and will be opening April 4, 2019.

Ms. Jackson is such a phenomenal actress and we are so excited to see her in such an iconic Shakespearean role!

Glenda Jackson

To purchase tickets or read more about it, click here.

Best,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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A Shakespeare Christmas on Broadway

Dear Friends,

As we head into this last weekend before Christmas, we are reminded of Shakespeare’s comedy, Twelfth Night, involving twins Viola and Sebastian who are separated in a shipwreck. In the spirit of Epiphany (or the Twelfth Night of Christmas), Viola disguises herself as a man, falls in love with Count Orsino, has Lady Olivia fall in love with her in disguise, and hilarity ensues.

We presented the Twelfth Night on Broadway the Winter Season of 1940-41 at the St. James Theatre starring Helen Hayes and Maurice Evans. It was 129 performances of Shakespeare comedic bliss!

 

 

It’s hard to imagine that was 78 years ago! Time surely flies when you’re having fun in the theatre!

Merry Christmas and warm wishes for a happy holiday season!
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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The Power of The Bard

Dear Friends,

We received an email today from the Shakespeare Society:

Summer Shakespeare at The Gunn Memorial Library in Washington, Connecticut

A special event with scenes from Shakespeare’s effervescent comedy

As You Like It

This Sunday, August 14 at 3 PM

As you may have realized from the frequency of posts, we love Shakespeare!

It is absolutely incredible that a playwright whose 400th birthday we are celebrating continues to have such an influence on the world of theatre.  If you google “Shakespeare” you will get “about 124,000,000 in 1.02 seconds.”  You can narrow this down to only 647,000 results in 71 seconds if you search for “Shakespeare Theatres.”

We have personally known many great playwrights, but no matter how inspiring, how empowering, how influential—no one even comes close to Shakespeare.  It is not only the plays that are his, that are shown night after night in city after city, but the format of his plays.  Not only can they been seen on the stage and big screen in modern day tales like West Side Story and The Lion King, but they can be seen on the small screen in popular tv shows like House of Cards and Sons of Anarchy.

Proof that his stories transcend time and are still relevant all these years later.

And if you’re now in the mood to see a bit of live Shakespeare, go see As You Like It or whatever Shakespeare is playing near you!

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

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The Judging of Shylock

Dear Friends,

We just wanted to share an article we read the other day in the New York Times:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Presides Over Shylock’s Appeal

It’s a delightful article about what a Supreme Court Justice does in her free time: go to Venice and not only watch her grandson perform in a mock trial based on The Merchant of Venice, but preside over the trial.  Justice Ginsburg seems to enjoy participating in Shakespeare mock trials, as she has participated in several.

You can read the full article here:

Ginsburg NYT

We just love that Justice Ginsburg spends some of her free time promoting and participating in the Arts!

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

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Coriolanus

Dear Friends,

We just wanted to share with you a wonderful opportunity to experience a night of Shakespeare’s most political play, Coriolanus—hosted by the Shakespeare Society and starring Chukwudi Iwuji (whom we mentioned in our post last week about summer acting classes) starring in the leading role.

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According to the Shakespeare Society:

We continue our look at Shakespeare’s most political and controversial play with the brilliant Chukwudi Iwuji in the title role. After a week spent studying, discussing, reading and exploring the play as part of our Shakespeare Works Artist Residency program, actors Peter Francis James, Merritt Janson, Jesse Perez, Jay O. Sanders, Phumzile Sitole, and more will take the stage of the Pearl Theatre Company with director Michael Sexton for an evening of lively conversation and readings from the play.

The performance will be held Tuesday, June 28th at 7:00pm at the Pearl Theatre.  To learn more, visit the Shakespeare Society or to purchase tickets click here.

Best,

Philip & Marilyn

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Playing Shakespeare Celebration

Dear Friends,

We wanted to let you know about an event here in New York City tomorrow evening, May 23rdPlaying Shakespeare Celebration, A Benefit for The Shakespeare Society.

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This celebration is The Shakespeare’s Society most significant fundraising events and joining the festivities will be Michael Cumpsty, Hamish Linklater, Byron Jennings, Laura Linney, Carolyn McCormick, Lily Rabe, Jay O. Sanders, James Shapiro, Stephen Spinella, and John Douglas Thompson.

The evening will honor director Daniel Sullivan with The Shakespeare Medal and actor Chukwudi Iwuji with the Linda Gross Playing Shakespeare Award.

It will be at the Players Club (16 Gramercy Park South) starting at 6pm.  To purchase tickets, make a donation to this incredible society, or bid in their silent auction, click here.

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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To The Bard, Part 2!

Dear Friends,

Just a reminder from a post we wrote about a few months ago:

The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre is having a year-long celebration, Shakespeare 400!

Today they are promoting”Talk Like Shakespeare” day and tonight there will be a fireworks display at the Navy Pier!  If you live in or are visiting Chicago, you definitely don’t want to miss out!

To read more, check out the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s website.

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn Langner

shakespeare 400

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To The Bard!

Dear Friends,

As April 23rd approaches, there are many celebrations for the 400th Anniversary of William Shakespeare’s life!  As a tribute, Channel 13 (aka PBS) is honoring his work!  He was such an instrumental and important person, both in terms of literature and theatre…and well, so many other things.

We at the Theatre Guild are so proud of our founder, Lawrence Langner, creating The American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, CT.  While it is currently not open, many lovely plays were showcased there—such as The Merchant of Venice and Much Ado About Nothing, both starring Katharine Hepburn.  And my (Philip) mother played in As You Like It at Westport Playhouse—so one could say that Shakespeare runs deep in the family roots!

No writer is more celebrated than The Bard and if you need any reasons why, just check out some of the Shakespeare inspired and/or written shows Channel 13 will be presenting over the next 10 days!

The 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death is being observed throughout the world in April 2016 with celebrations of the great English playwright and poet (April 1564 – April 23, 1616) and his many works. THIRTEEN celebrates with the premiere of Shakespeare’s Tomb, a new documentary about Shakespeare’s final resting place in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and encores of favorite broadcasts. See the six installments of Season Two of Shakespeare Uncovered (Fridays beginning April 8) and three of Shakespeare’s history-based plays in the Great Performances series “The Hollow Crown” – Richard II and Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 (April 22 & 23).

CHANNEL 13 Lineup:

Friday, April 22

  • 9-10 pm: Shakespeare Uncovered: Antony & Cleopatra with Kim Cattrall
  • 10-11 pm: Shakespeare Uncovered: Romeo & Juliet with Joseph Fiennes
  • 1:30-2 am: Theater Talk: Professor James Shapiro on Shakespeare
  • 2-4:30 am: Great Performances: The Hollow Crown: Henry IV Part 1
  • 4:30-7 am: Great Performances: The Hollow Crown: Henry IV Part 2

Saturday, April 23

  • 1-4 pm: Great Performances: The Hollow Crown: Richard II
  • 4-5 pm: Shakespeare’s Tomb

Sunday, April 24

  • 4-5 am: Shakespeare Uncovered: Antony & Cleopatra with Kim Cattrall
  • 5-6 am: Shakespeare Uncovered: Romeo & Juliet with Joseph Fiennes
  • 11:30-noon: Theater Talk: Professor James Shapiro on Shakespeare

 

Go to their website to learn more!

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

PS—for a bit of fun, PBS also has this quiz to see which Shakespeare character you are !

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A Woman’s Place

Dear Friends,

As we alluded to in our last post—and that you undoubtedly know—there were no women actors during Shakespeare’s time, their parts usually played by young boys.  We did a bit of digging to find out exactly why, but there doesn’t seem to be anything exact about it!

We found a great article from Stage Beauty about it: http://stagebeauty.net/th-women.html

The most widely accepted theory was the Church during this time vilified the traveling acting troupe, even blaming the Great Plague on them!  As such, it was thought to be too “unseemly” for a woman to be allowed on stage.

Of course, not everyone thought this way—on mainland Europe things were changing more rapidly than in England.  In fact, during Elizabeth I’s reign, women were established in Italian theatre with France quickly following suit.

It wasn’t until the reign of Charles I (1625-1649) where women in England were allowed to take the stage.  That is to say, not English women—oh no! The very first was a Frenchwoman named Henrietta Maria who came to England with a French company.  However, apparently the novelty of having a woman on stage was still too radical for England and the French troupe soon went back to France having been booed off many stages.

Then all of theatre took a huge backslide, when Oliver Cromwell rose to power during the English Civil War.  Without the protection of the crown, the Puritans were allowed to dictate and not only were women banned from the stage, but the entire performance was banned and “theatre found itself cast into another dark age.”

With the downfall of Cromwell, theatre found itself back in favor with Charles II with a mixed reaction to women on the stage.  It finally happened on December 8, 1660—the first Englishwoman took the stage.  Margaret Hughes played Desdemona in The Moor of Venice, which was thought to be a success.

From that point, the gates opened and slowly women were welcomed to the stage until we finally arrived at the point where the idea of theatre without a woman playing in a woman’s role seemed implausible.

You can read the whole article here: http://stagebeauty.net/th-women.html

And to think now we are at the point (as we told you about in an earlier post) where the Donmar Warehouse produced a version of Henry IV with an all-female cast!

We find this so interesting—that theatre shows this ascent of women from the “dark days” of Shakespeare’s time to now when we are enthusiastically enjoying the glorious tide today.

Best,

Philip Langner and Marilyn Clark Langner

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