Shakespeare speaks to so many of us on so many levels.
It’s not just that he is required reading in our high schools. Nor is it because the stories he re-animated were already timeless and embedded in human consciousness, and then passed down in our experience of the world.
And it probably is not because his playfulness lends his plays so readily to translate into song. The musical theater is rife with musicals,– Kiss Me Kate, Westside Story, Two Gentlemen of Veronaare just a few–, that sprung from the Bard’s tales.
There are Shakespeare bar crawls, a populist version of the classic style of presentation when the audience famously ate and drank and talked during the performance. Free Shakespeare in the Parks (courtesy of the Public Theatre) and numerous iterations of the Shakespearean playbook. One of these is the current crossed-gender King Lear with the great Glenda Jackson in the title role.
Celebrating Memorial Day with some of Shakespeare’s soldiers in snippets from his plays, New York Shakespeare Exchange‘s Freestyle Lab presents Armor As Strong: Trans Warriors through a Shakespearean Lens, on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 from 7-9pm (doors open to audience at 6:30pm) at the 53rd Street Library Theater. (This event is free. ) The production features a group of actors from New York’s trans/gender non-conforming community performing speeches and short scenes featuring some of Shakespeare’s best known soldiers.
Inspiring new plays is another way for an old fellow like the Bard to stay current. John Minigan has written a sort of play within a play–and a love story– called Breaking the Shakespeare Code, playing for a two week-run, May 23 – June 2, at The Black Box at 440 Studios. After sold-out runs in Chicago and the New York International Fringe Festival, Breaking the Shakespeare Code returns directed by Stephen Brotebeck and starring the original cast Miranda Jonte and Tim Weinert .
For some of you drinks and Shakespeare may sound like a companionable way to spend an early fall afternoon. For you, there is ShakesBEER, NYC’s original Shakespearean pub-crawl. New York Shakespeare Exchange, creator of the viral smash The Sonnet Project, has scheduled the Hell’s Kitchen event for Saturday, September 12 and Saturday, September 19.
Start off at Landsdowne Road, where check-in begins at 2:30pm move on to Perdition, The Gaf, and conclude the festivities at The Waylon.
Scenes from Shakespeare plays break out at each location, as actors stand shoulder-to-side and cheek-by-jowl to the audience, drawing them in to each scene. Samplings from As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, Merry Wives of Windsor, and Henry IV, Part 1, are included in the three-hour pub crawl. This season’s Shakespearean bash features plenty of romance, a few mistaken identities, and everyone’s favorite tippler Sir John Falstaff.
The players include Carey Van Driest, who also directs; Chris Thorn; Brendan Averett; Shane Breaux; Elizabeth Neptune; Sarah Nedwek. Besides Van Driest, Eva Gil, and Ross Williams take on directorial duties for September’s ShakesBEER, which is produced by Kim Krane and Cristina Lundy.
Pipeline Theatre Company tells a ghost story in the world premiere of The Gray Man by Andrew Farmer, opening September 24-October 18 at Walker Space.
In The Gray Man, Simon is haunted by grief, a little girl who speaks of missing children and a familiar figure from the stories his mother told him outside his tenement window.
The production will be directed by Andrew Neisler, with an original score by composers Mike Brun and Chris Ryan. The Gray Man stars Tahlia Ellie, Daniel Johnsen, Katharine Lorraine, Claire Rothrock, and Shane Zeigler.
Dzieci Theater Company presents a site-specific adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Makbet, adapted from and directed by Matt Mitler, begins performances on Thursday, October 1 for a limited engagement through Sunday, October 18.
Dzieci’s Gypsy tribe greets you with song and dance, drinks and divination, at Sure We Can in Bushwick, then embarks on their wild, whirlwind of a ritual. Shakespeare’s “Scottish tale” comes alive in this gypsy version, employing haunting folk songs and chants from Eastern Europe. Dzieci explores the very essence of theatre and storytelling in their exuberant rendition of Macbeth, with a handful of actors taking turns in various roles to recreate the dark mood inherent in the classic drama.
The cast of Makbet features Megan Bones, Yvonne Brecht, Ryan Castalia, Felicity Doyle, Timothy Garlid, Golan, Jesse Hathaway, Su Hendrickson, Polina Ionina, and Matt Mitler.
At the Brooklyn Performing Arts Center, Michael Feinstein opens the 2015-16 season with The Gershwins and Me on October 24th.
In a full season of performances, The Vienna Boys Choir, on December 12th, and The Colonial Nutcracker, on the 13th, are BPAC’s holiday offerings.
Since its founding in 1954, Brooklyn Center for the PerformingArts at Brooklyn College has presented outstanding performing arts and arts education programs, reflective of Brooklyn’s diverse communities, and at affordable prices. Each season, over 65,000 people attend performances at the 2,400 seat Whitman Theatre; of these attendees the 45,000 schoolchildren from over 300 schools who attend their SchoolTime series represent one of the largest arts-in-education programs in the borough.
Children’s programming is a large part of the Brooklyn Center’s mission, with productions of Clifford the Big Red Dog™ – LIVE!on April 17th and Alexander, Who’s Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Moveon May 15th as examples of what’s on tap.
As if you needed a reason to drink, the Bard’s 450th birthday is being toasted all around town.
The New York Shakespeare Exchange (NYSX) originated the beer and performance festivities, aka ShakesBEER, along with The Sonnet Project, as a way to infuse our culture with the classical. They want to bring Shakespeare alive to a modern audience. ShakesBEER is a three hour pub crawl, with scenes from the Shakespearean repertoire breaking out at each location. October’s ShakesBEER features scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Henry IV, Part 2; Romeo & Juliet; and Twelfth Night. The featured actors, who will be cheek by jowl with you, include Harry Barandes, Chris Corporandy, Phil Mutz, Sarah Nedwek, Katherine Puma, Colin Ryan, and Katelin Wilcox. There are so many things you could debate after enjoying your ShakesBEER outing: Was William Shakespeare the Neil Simon, Arthur Kopit, Arthur Laurents, Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller rolled into one of his generation? Has any contemporary playwright come along to rival his efficacy in conveying the human condition? Did Marlowe write Shakespeare? Why isn’t Tamberlaine performed more often? Is Lear or Hamlet WS’s most iconic hero? Are his comedies funnier than The Big Bang Theory? Book in advance for ShakesBEER. A schedule of the October outings can be found here: http://shakespeareexchange.org/content/shakesbeer-2014.