THEATRICAL THROWBACK THURSDAY: Happy 450th Birthday, William Shakespeare!
Today we are turning our attention to the world's most famous playwright on the 450th anniversary of his birth, occurring this week - the incomparable Bard himself, William Shakespeare.
"What a piece of work is man," wrote William Shakespeare in HAMLET, arguably his most revered play, and, more to the point, much the same can be said of the man who wrote the words himself. What tragedies! What comedies! What romantic poetry! What depth! What spirit! What heart! What wit! What... will! It would be virtually impossible to even begin to list the myriad majesties contained within the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare, yet we have a delectable clip from Broadway's biggest night with which to honor it justly - and jubilantly.
Before that, though, even looking at this theatrical season alone, we were treated to a handful of tremendous Shakespeare productions - ranging from both an Off-Broadway and Broadway revivals of ROMEO & JULIET, through to Shakespeare's Globe new repertory mounting of RICHARD III and TWELFTH NIGHT, as well as a brand new KING LEAR and yet another LEAR announced for later this year as part of the Public Theater's renowned Shakespeare In The Park series, without even mentioning the many revivals and revisits given him across the pond in the West End. The Bard is everywhere, even nearly 400 years after his death.
Yet, it is clear to see why! After all, what poet stirred more souls and tugged more heartstrings than Shakespeare? What dramatist inspired more rebellion and depicted more political activism than him, particularly in his own time? Furthermore, what playwright more eloquently discussed and dissected the various virtues of theatre itself than Shakespeare did in the "Seven Ages Of Man" speech from AS YOU LIKE IT? The answer to all of these questions is identical: no one, now or ever.
So, now, let's take a look back at one of the finest Shakespeare-related Tony Awards moments in history now that the end-of-season buzz is building and we prep for Broadway's biggest night with this clip from the 1990 ceremony. Onetime Coriolanus in CORIOLANUS in Shakespeare In The Park, Morgan Freeman movingly performs as Jaques in this special segment crafted to effectively showcase the persuasive power and indelible imagery implicit in the words, poems and plays of the theatre's greatest artist.
As a special bonus, check out this example of how Shakespeare continues to remain relevant in 2014 with a look at crossover star Tom Hiddleston in CORIOLANUS, broadcast worldwide earlier this year.
So, what is it about the works of William Shakespeare that make him so consistently socially applicable and such a pertinent playwright, even centuries after his death? Furthermore, what is your personal favorite of his plays and your most fondly remembered moment within it? With such a wide swath of riches to choose from and enjoy, it would be impossible to select an incorrect answer.