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Photo Flash: Inside Shakespeare in America at The Old Globe with Marion Ross, Lily Rabe, Alfred Molina & More!

Stars of stage and screen, beloved actors from The Old Globe's history, local dignitaries, internationally renowned scholars, andother celebrities came together at The Old Globe for Shakespeare in America on Saturday evening, June 4. This special one-night-only event featured a constellation of luminaries reading selections from Shakespeare and other material, curated and hosted by the gifted writer/director Jeremy McCarter and our country's most eminent Shakespeare scholar, James Shapiro. Old Globe Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein introduced and directed the evening.

The star-studded company featured Marsha Stephanie Blake, Jonathan Cake, J. Bernard Calloway, Louis Changchien, Kristen Connolly, Clifton Duncan, Eden Espinosa, Robert Foxworth, James Hebert, Hamish Linklater, Jonathan McMurtry, Alfred Molina, Mark Pinter, Lily Rabe, Sharon Rietkerk, Luis Rodriguez, Marion Ross, Mike Sears, Blair Underwood, and Jill Van Velzer; along with San Diego students Samuel Bennett, Jordi Bertran, Aidan Hayek, Katrina Heil, Brooke Henderson, Imahni King-Murillo, Natasha Partnoy, and Davina Van Dusen,

Performances included selections from Shakespeare and other related material-scenes, songs, and essays-inspired by Shapiro's bookShakespeare in America: An Anthology from the Revolution to Now. This program reminded us that Shakespeare is very much our country's national poet. The broad categories explored included The Noblest Stage, Othello and the Color Line, Lincoln and Booth: Shakespearean Dreams, Shakespeare on the Ohio, and Shakespeare in the Golden State.

After the show in the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre at The Old Globe, guests mingled with the stars at a lovely reception on the Globe'sCopley Plaza, serenaded by the lively strains of the Downs Family Band, with a repast from the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine and desserts from See's Candies.

"This year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death (or, as we'd rather think of it, the 400th birthday of his posthumous reputation), and Shakespeare institutions worldwide are pulling out the stops in celebration," said Old Globe Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. "The Old Globe's launched our contribution to the international commemorations with an extraordinary evening of theatre that everyone in attendance will long remember. Our country's greatest talents gathered on our beautiful outdoor stage and led us through a moving and fun program that showed us just how central Shakespeare has been and continues to be in our evolving national story. I am grateful to all of the wonderful artists and friends of The Old Globe for being with us, and to Jeremy McCarter and James Shapiro for a provocative and entertaining program. I was honored to take part in it."

Shakespeare in America officially kicked off the celebrations surrounding the First Folio!, which opened to the public on June 4 and closes July 7. The Old Globe and the San Diego Public Library were selected as the only stop in California for First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, a national traveling exhibition organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. Shakespeare's First Folio, published in 1623, will be available for public viewing starting Saturday, June 4, in the Art Gallery on the ninth floor of the San Diego Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common, 330 Park Blvd.

Accompanying the rare book is a multi-panel exhibition exploring the significance of Shakespeare then and now, as well as the importance of the First Folio. A supplemental exhibition showcases original props, costumes, photographs, and ephemera from The Old Globe's 80-year archive, with a focus on the productions of Shakespeare that have made the Globe one of the most important Shakespeare theatres in North America, along with displays inside the Central Library exploring Shakespeare's influence on pop culture and connection to everything from 3D printing to "Star Wars."

The First Folio was published just seven years after Shakespeare's death and contains 36 of his plays, 18 of which had never been printed before, including the works Macbeth, The Tempest and Comedy of Errors. Experts believe only 235 copies of the First Folio exist today. As part of the exhibit in the Central Library, the book will be opened to the page with the line "To be or not to be" from Hamlet.

The Old Globe and the San Diego Public Library-in partnership with the University of California San Diego, the University of San Diego, San Diego State University, the San Diego Public Library Foundation, and media partner KPBS-have scheduled over sixty free Shakespeare-related programs for children, adults and families are planned throughout the summer to coincide with the First Folio exhibition and showcase why San Diego is the perfect venue for this prized piece of literature.

The exhibit is free of charge and open to the public, but due to its popularity ticketed reservations are highly recommended. Timed admission runs every 30 minutes, and tickets are available on the First Folio San Diego website: www.firstfoliosandiego2016.org/pages/exhibition.html.

Photos by Douglas Gates


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