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BWW's Shakespeare Round Up 2013

Shakespeare-Round-Up-20010101

Shakespeare's popularity shows no signs of flagging, even though his 450th birthday is approaching in 2014. For fans of the Bard, here is a look at productions currently playing across the nation, as well as a sneak peek at upcoming shows.

The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego presents its summer festival of plays performed in repertory at the outdoor Lowell Davis Festival Theatre in Balboa Park. Perennial favorite A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM is directed by Olivier-nominee Ian Talbot, who makes his directorial debut at The Old Globe. THE MERCHANT OF VENICE and Tom Stoppard's Hamlet-inspired comedy, ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD are both directed by award-winning director Adrian Noble, former Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The summer festival runs through September 29.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2013 season continues with a range of classic and contemporary works, including a quartet of Shakespearean plays. Alongside the masterful tragedy KING LEAR and comedic favorites A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM and THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, the line-up includes the more obscure offering CYMBELINE. Bill Rauch directs the romance.

Tony-Award winner Mark Rylance will star in two all-male Shakespearean productions opening on Broadway this fall. Rylance, former Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe in London, will portray the title role in RICHARD III, as well as taking on the part of Olivia in TWELFTH NIGHT. Tim Carroll directs.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company continues its annual Free For All Shakespeare performances. This summer, the company revives MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, which originally ran during the 2011-12 season. The action is set in 1930s Cuba and runs August 20-September 1 at Sidney Herman Hall in Washington, D.C.

The Public Theatre's production of LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST: A NEW MUSICAL, directed by Alex Timbers, begins previews on July 23. The free show runs through August 18 and features Colin Donnell as Berowne, Tony-award nominee Daniel Breaker as the King of Navarre, Maria Thayer as Rosaline, and Audrey Lynn Weston as Katherine. SNL's Rachel Dratch plays the pedantic schoolmaster Holofernes. The musical adaptation will feature a score by Michael Friedman and a book by Tony-nominee Alex Timbers.

Shakespeare Dallas presents its 42nd annual Shakespeare in the Park through July 20 at Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre. A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (director Sara Romersberger) alternates with the seldom-produced PERICLES (directed by Artistic Director Raphael Parry).

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, now in its 19th season, presents TWELFTH NIGHT. Previews begin July 18. Directed by Janice L. Blixt, Artistic Director of the festival, the comedy features original music by Kate Hopwood. The Festival's second offering is the lesser-known history play, KING JOHN. The shows perform at the Baughman Theatre inside the Potter Center at Jackson College.

The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory stages two of the Bard's most popular plays, HAMLET and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. The productions perform outdoors on the campus of John Hopkins University at Evergreen Museum and Library. Each production also plays indoors for one weekend at the Elizabethan-style Great Hall Theatre at St. Mary's. The productions run through August 25.

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company continues its tradition of free summer Shakespeare on Boston Common. This summer's Las Vegas-inspired rendering of TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, directed by Steven Maler, plays through July 28.

Shakespeare & Company, one of America's most respected classical performance companies, returns to Edith Wharton's home The Mount for a special 90-minute performance of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, running July 20-August 17. LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST, directed by Lisa Wolpe, performs in the Tina Packer Playhouse through September 4. RICHARD II, directed by Timothy Douglas, concludes its special limited run on July 21.

Bainbridge Performing Arts (BPA) will partner with Islandwood, an outdoor learning center near Seattle, to present THE TEMPEST from August 1-8. Tom Challinor directs a cast of local performers, including Joel Underwood as Prospero. Performances are at 7pm on the Islandwood campus at its scenic Creeky Meadow.

Long Beach Shakespeare Company's production of CYMBELINE will open on August 23. The ensemble performs at the Richard Goad Theatre.

The Arc Theatre's "Shakespeare on the Ridge" returns for its fourth season in Evanston, Illinois to present TWELFTH NIGHT. The free production runs through August 4 at Ridgeville Park and is directed by Arc Theatre Artistic Director Mark Boergers.

Portland Shakespeare Project presents THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, directed by Michael Mendelson. The play will perform in rotation with John Fletcher's sequel, THE TAMER TAMED, beginning July 24 on the Alder Stage at Artists Repertory Theatre. Fletcher's play, which has seen a popular revival since the Royal Shakespeare Company staged it in 2003, follows the events of Petruchio's second marriage and his rehabilitation at the hands of his new wife.

The Classic Theatre of San Antonio will present THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, directed by Diane Malone. The production runs November 8-24.

North Carolina Shakespeare Festival will stage MACBETH from September 6-29 in the High Point Theatre. The company is now in its 36th season.

Player's Shakespeare: Onstage will perform THE MERCHANT OF VENICE from July 18-August 4. Starring Broadway veteran Dominic Cuskern as Shylock and David PatRick Ford as Antonio, the production is directed by Mark Harborth. The ensemble will perform at 199 14th Street in Brooklyn.

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks presents a 75-minute version of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS. Inspired by the traditions of Roman comedy, the play's humor hinges on mistaken identity when two long-lost twins wind up in the same city. The free production will perform 26 times in 18 neighborhood parks between July 26 and August 25. The play is adapted and staged by David H. Bell.

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival rounds out its 22nd season with HENRY VIII. Performing July 25 through August 4 at the Labuda Center for the Arts on the campus of DeSales University, the production replicates some of Shakespeare's original staging practices. With no director or designers at the helm, the actors will stage the play following a very short rehearsal period.

Harford Stage Young Company will present BREAKDANCING SHAKESPEARE: TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA August 13-15 at Hartford Stage. The production culminates a six-week summer internship in classical performance for teens.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S GAY DREAM, a new adaptation of the comedy by Sean F. Gray, runs at Long Beach Playhouse July 27-August 24. The action takes place in conservative Athens where gay marriage is forbidden, forcing the young lovers to escape to the enchanted woodland.

The Charlotte Shakespeare Festival presents MACBETH, starring Christian Casper and Gretchen McGinty, at the Booth Playhouse August 15-25. Artistic Director Elise Elkinson directs.

The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles (SCLA) performs A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM at the Japanese Garden on the VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center campus. Directed by Kenn Sabberton, the comedy features live music and updates the setting to the late 1950s/early 60s in Los Angeles.

National Players will stage four free performances of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS at Olney Theatre Center July 18-21. The Maryland theatre company is currently celebrating its 75th anniversary.

New Players Theatre in Columbus, Ohio will present THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. Updated to the 1960s, the show stars company founder Tim Browning as Petruchio. The play is paired with HENRY IV, PART 1, featuring John Tener as Falstaff. The repertory company will perform at Mill Run Amphitheater. The run concludes on July 28.

Theatre at Monmouth performs THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, directed by former Artistic Director Sally Wood. The production runs through August 18 at Cumston Hall in Monmouth, Maine.

Alberto Bonilla directs MACBETH for the Queen's Players. The production performs through July 21 at the Secret Theatre in New York City.

Midsommer Flight presents ROMEO AND JULIET in two Chicago parks during July and August. The performances in Schreiber Park and Touhy Park are directed by company founder Beth Wolf. Ashlee Edgemon and Brian Scannell play the star-crossed lovers.


Photo: (foreground, from left) John Lavelle as Rosencrantz, Sherman Howard as The Player and Jay Whittaker as Guildenstern with the cast of The Old Globe's Shakespeare Festival production of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, directed by Adrian Noble, June 16 - Sept. 26, 2013.

Photo by Michael Lamont.

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Debra Charlton Debra Charlton is the author of Holistic Shakespeare: An Experiential Learning Approach (Intellect Books 2012). Her reviews and articles on Shakespeare training and performance have appeared in numerous publications. Most recently, her chapter on Sarah Bernhardt was published in Women in the Arts in the Belle Epoque (MacFarland 2012).

Debra Charlton received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin with a specialization in Shakespearean theatre.  She joined the faculty of Texas State University in 1999 where she served as Director of Graduate Studies in Theatre until 2013. At Texas State, she established and supervised the production dramaturgy program at Texas State, and founded a summer Shakespeare intensive in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK.

Dr. Charlton began her career as a professional actor at Houston’s Alley Theatre.  She has since directed many productions, including King Lear, The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Blood Wedding, The Importance of Being Earnest, and The Winter’s Tale.   She has also worked as a production dramaturg on many plays, including Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, Oklahoma!, A Little Night Music, Arcadia, The Art of Dining, and The Learned Ladies.


 
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