Shakespeare Talks on HENRY V, THE TEMPEST, and More Set for 2012-13 Season at Shakespeare Society

Shakespeare Talks on HENRY V, THE TEMPEST, and More Set for 2012-13 Season at Shakespeare Society

The Shakespeare Society (Michael Sexton, Artistic Director) announces its 2012-2013 Season, which includes expanded programming and an ambitious line-up of events including the popular Major Evening Events, featuring commentary and discussion with great thinkers, live performances, and music.  In addition, Shakespeare Talks, a new series of intimate events, is aimed at opening up the conversation about Shakespeare with the audience and colleagues in the theatrical, academic, and educationAl Fields.  A more interactive evening, the onstage conversations will lead to a question and answer session with the audience and feature a post show reception with the participants.  The Shakespeare Talks series is in partnership with The Pearl Theatre Company.

Kicking off the season on September 24 is the Society’s first Shakespeare Talks, an open rehearsal for director Michael Sexton’s HENRY V, which begins performances at New Jersey’s Two River Theater Company in October.  Sexton will host the rehearsal, which will include a discussion with members of the cast, including Jacob Fishel (Titus Andronicus, The Common Pursuit), who plays the title role, and Shakespeare scholar David Scott Kastan.  On October 5, the Society will host a book party with renowned Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro, who will be joined by James Bednarz, for a stimulating conversation and Q&A in celebration of Bednarz’s new book, Shakespeare and the Truth of Love.

On October 15, the Shakespeare Society holds its first Major Evening Event with readings, opera, commentary and an onstage conversation with visionary director Robert Lepage, focusing on the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Thomas Adès's The Tempest on October 23. Also featuring commentary by Notre Dame's Peter Holland, selections from the Adès opera sung by Met singers, and readings from the play by Seth Numrich (War Horse), Samantha Soule (Dinner at Eight), and others.

On October 29, the season continues with the second Shakespeare Talks, “Directing Shakespeare,” a conversation with Tony Award winning director Daniel Sullivan (The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It), and Davis McCallum (February House, The Pearl’s Henry IV Part One) about the challenges and rewards of directing the greatest playwright in the English language.  The evening is moderated by Michael Sexton.

The November 12 Major Evening Event, “The Concord of Sweet Sounds,” will examine the role and meaning of music in Shakespeare’s world and work with a conversation featuring Ross Duffin, Chair of the Music Department at Case Western Reserve University and author of Shakespeare’s Songbook, and Stanford University professor Stephen Orgel. They are joined by OBIE Award-winning actor John Douglas Thompson (Othello, The Emperor Jones). The first of the Society’s Shakespeare Works interactive panel discussions takes place on December 10 as Tony nominated actor Arian Moayed (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) joins director Tom Ridgely (co-founder of Waterwell Theatre Company) and a full cast of actors to explore HAMLET.  The panel concludes a week-long residency for these artists. 

January and February will bring two events at The Pearl Theatre.  On January 28, the Society hosts a Shakespeare Works panel on THE TEMPEST featuring Red Bull Theater’s Artistic Director Jesse Berger and renowned actor Bill Camp (Death of a Salesman), who takes on the role of Prospero.  On February 25, Michael Witmore, the director of the Folger Shakespeare Library joins the Society for a Shakespeare Talks event.

March 4 features another Major Evening Event collaboration with the Pearl. Devoted to the iconic character FALSTAFF, and in conjunction with their production of Henry IV, Part One, scholar David Scott Kastan joins cast members for a lively examination of one of Shakespeare’s most delightful figures.  On May 20, the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Director of Research David Schalkwyk and author of Love and Service in Shakespeare, joins us as we explore the underappreciated vocabulary of service in Shakespeare’s plays.  Cast members from the Folger’s upcoming production of Twelfth Night will perform. 

Additional opportunities to engage with Shakespeare’s text include the Society’s Seminars and Classes. The Shakespeare Society’s Study Seminars provide an opportunity to read and discuss Shakespeare’s plays in an informal setting.  Speak the Verse & Act the Verse classes allow participants to experience Shakespeare’s language firsthand in fun, spirited classes taught by leading theater professionals.  Course schedule will be announced in the coming weeks 

The Shakespeare Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the enjoyment, understanding, and appreciation of William Shakespeare’s works through performance, commentary, and educational activities.  A portion of the Society’s membership dollars is used to support educational activities in New York City Schools.  This season, the Shakespeare Society enters its sixth year of partnering with the Hunts Points Alliance for Children on the Children’s Shakespeare Ensemble, which culminates with a performance in the spring.  Shakespeare in Schools is the Society’s wonderful education program that brings Teaching Artists into New York City pubic schools to integrate students’ study of Shakespeare with performance.  The newly formed Shakespeare Roundtable invites educators from across the city to come together and share ideas and pool resources, as well as seek new ways to serve students and teachers in the city.

Shakespeare Society Members support the organization’s educational activities while enjoying a range of benefits, including complimentary tickets to all 5 Major Evening Events, discount and/or priority bookings to local Shakespeare productions, and access to Society exclusive classes.  To become a member, visit www.shakespearesociety.org  or contact Michelle Palmour at (212) 967-6802, mpalmour@shakespearesociety.org.

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