Speaking of Shakespeare Link

Speaking of Shakespeare
On Wednesday, February 26, we enjoyed a delightful conversation at The Players (16 Gramercy Park South in Manhattan) with two of America's most distinguished visual artists, illustrators James McMullan and Edward Sorel. This exchange, which took place in the club's Hampden-Booth Library, was recorded by Ed's son, Leo Sorel, and thanks to him and his colleague James Salzano we're pleased to make it available here for viewing.

Because of the pandemic that now dominates everyone's attention, we've rescheduled a program we'd listed for 7 p.m. on Monday, March 23, at The Players: a dialogue with Ron Rosenbaum, a prolific journalist whose publications include an acclaimed volume about The Shakespeare Wars. We've postponed that event till 7 p.m. on Monday, July 27. We've also delayed a gathering we'd planned for Wednesday, April 22, with Columbia University's James Shapiro. If all goes well, our discussion of Shakespeare in a Divided America, Professor Shapiro's reflections on a topic that couldn't be more timely, will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 22, at The Players.

We hope it won't prove necessary to find another date for a 2 p.m. salon with cultural leader Ben Hartley that we've slated for Wednesday, May 27, at the National Arts Club (15 Gramercy Park South in Manhattan). And we're keeping fingers crossed about a Bard-focused evening with musical artist Shana Farr that we've booked for 7 p.m. on Friday, June 19, at the NAC. Meanwhile we look forward to opening our 2020-21 Speaking of Shakespeare season with a 7 p.m. gathering at The Players on Monday, September 14, with Scott Newstok, a scholar who's drawing upon "Lessons from a Renaissance Education" to explain How to Think Like Shakespeare.

We launched our 2019-20 SOS series with Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker on Monday evening, September 30, at The Players. Our primary focus was Mr. Gopnik's new book, A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism, a brilliant analysis of contemporary life that David Brooks had commended in an eloquent column for the New York Times. But we also explored a broad spectrum of other topics, among them the insights a sensitive scrutiny of Shakespeare brings to the social and political challenges we're currently experiencing.

On Monday, November 18, we returned to The Players for a wide-ranging conversation with Washington Post drama critic
Peter Marks. An influential arts journalist who has been augmenting his regular theater reviews with a unique series of performance-oriented observations about leading contenders for the 2020 presidential election, Mr. Marks treated us to incisive comments about what he noticed, for instance, when he looked in on the campaigns of Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren.

We welcomed 2020 on Friday, January 24, at the National Arts Club, where we relished a scintillating presentation by
Jim Dale, a celebrated performer who garnered an Oscar nomination as composer of the theme song for "Georgy Girl," who won a richly-deserved Tony Award for his title role in "Barnum," and who holds multiple Grammy Awards for his evocative recordings of "Harry Potter." This was our third event with Mr. Dale, who entertained us with hilarious anecdotes and memorable vignettes from one of the most extraordinary careers in the history of show business and then responded to questions and comments from an enthusiastic audience.

A few days later, on Monday, January 27, we gathered at The Players with actor, director, producer, and author Dakin Matthews, who was riveting audiences as Judge Taylor in playwright Aaron Sorkin and director Bartlett Sher's phenomenal Broadway adaptation of novelist Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. After hearing Mr. Matthews' remarks about that remarkable drama, and discussing some of the other highlihgts of his extraordinary career, we were treated to his informative observations about three Shakespearean sonnets (numbers 17, 18, and 104), which he analyzed as powerful illustrations of the same rhetorical techniques that a brilliant playwright employed in his dramatic masterpieces.

Click here for background on the Guild's signature Speaking of Shakespeare series, which began in 1998 at the National Press Club in Washington, and has included programs at the British Embassy, the Shakespeare Theatre Company, the University Club, and the Woman's National Democratic Club in D.C., the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in the Windy City, and such New York institutions as the Algonquin Hotel, the English-Speaking Union, The Lambs, the Princeton Club, and the Schimmel Center.

For details about offerings that have been presented in previous seasons, click on the years that follow: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.

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