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Michael Pennington, Scott Shepherd, Daniel Sullivan to Talk Shakespeare at Drama Desk's 2014 Sardi's Luncheon, 4/4

Michael Pennington, Scott Shepherd, Daniel Sullivan to Talk Shakespeare at Drama Desk's 2014 Sardi's Luncheon, 4/4

New York's theater season has had a distinctive Shakespearean flavor to it with the critically acclaimed Shakespeare's Globe productions of Twelfth Night, or What You Will and Richard III (in repertory at the Belasco Theater), Lincoln Center Theater's Macbeth, the Bard's The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare in the Park), King Lear (by Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn), and the Wooster Group's Cry, Trojans! (Troilus & Cressida).

The Drama Desk's annual Spring Luncheon/Panel Discussion at Sardi's Eugenia Room, 234 West 44th St., on Friday, April 4, will try to answer the questions "Why Shakespeare? Why Now?" with a distinguished lineup of guests, including British actor/director Michael Pennington (King Lear); Scott Shepherd (Cry, Trojans!, The Wooster Group's Troilus & Cressida); and director Daniel Sullivan (The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare in the Park). Carol Rocamora, a renowned playwright/critic and educator, will serve as moderator.

The luncheon will begin at 11:45 a.m., followed by the panel discussion from 1:15-2:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 for Drama Desk members and $60 for non-members. Tickets may be purchased in advance at (212) 352-3101 or https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/932325.

Michael Pennington, distinguished classical actor, is Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a co-founder of the English Shakespeare Company. He has starred in dozens of Shakespearean productions, most recently as John of Gaunt in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Richard II at the Barbican Theatre in London this season. He is currently performing the title role of King Lear at Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn. Scott Shepherd is a longtime member of both the Wooster Group and Elevator Repair Service. He was the narrator of Gatz, a seven-hour staging of the unabridged text of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Shepherd's Wooster Group performances include the title role in Hamlet, and (currently) both Troilus and Achilles in Cry, Trojans! (Troilus & Cressida), a piece originally developed in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company. From garnering a Drama Desk award for his directorial debut (A.R. Gurney's Scenes from American Life) to his induction into the American Theater Hall of Fame, Daniel Sullivan has enjoyed a stellar career. His experience directing the Bard includes such memorable productions as the 2010 revival of The Merchant of Venice at the Delacorte and on Broadway, and this season's exhilarating The Comedy of Errors for Shakespeare in the Park.

Moderator Carol Rocamora is an educator, playwright, translator and critic. She serves on the faculty of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and also teaches in Columbia's MFA program. She has translated the complete dramatic works of Anton Chekhov, and is the author of two biographies-one on Chekhov, and one on Vaclav Havel. She is a member of the Drama Desk.

Drama Desk Awards, which are given annually in a number of categories, are the only major New York theater honors for which productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway compete against one another in the same category. Formed in 1949 by a group of New York theater critics, editors, reporters, and publishers, the organization was created to educate the community on vital issues concerning the theater. In 1955, Drama Desk became the first major organization to honor outstanding achievement Off Broadway, with the Vernon Rice Awards, named for the late New York Post critic who had pioneered Off-Broadway coverage in the New York press. In 2012, Theatermania.com presented the 57th Annual Drama Desk Awards. Currently the president of Drama Desk is Isa Goldberg, and the chairperson of the nominating committee is Barbara Siegel.

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