Speaking of Shakespeare Link

Speaking of Shakespeare
We look forward to launching the 2018-19 season of our signature SOS series in Manhattan with four remarkable evenings at The Players in September. On Monday the 17th we'll talk with Stephen Segaller, WNET's Vice-President for National Programming, producers Richard Denton and Nikki Stockley, and such special guests as F. Murray Abraham about Series Three of Shakespeare Uncovered, a production that will air the first of its six concluding PBS installments in October. A week later, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, September 25-27, we'll join the Players Foundation to host a stage reading of The Lives of Shakespeare, a new triology by playwright Mary Jane Shaefer about the themes that connect playwright's biography with his professional career. All four of these evenings will commence at 7 p.m. and will be admission-free and open to the public.

Meanwhile, we're savoring evenings such as the one with New Yorker favorite Adam Gopnik that took place on Thursday, June 14, at the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park. We'll soon be announcing new attractions, among them stimulating programs not only at the NAC and The Players but at additional venues in New York and elsewhere.

We opened our recently-completed roster of SOS engagements on Friday, October 6, 2017, with educator Joanna Read, who heads the London Academy of Dramatic Art (LAMDA). A few days later, on Wednesday, October 18, we enjoyed a delightful evening with Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks. Then on Monday, November 6, we talked with WNET executive Stephen Segaller, who previewed this spring's attractions in a series called Shakespeare Uncovered, a three-year, 18-episode co-production with the BBC that provides charming introductions to the most popular plays in the dramatic repertory.

On Monday, January 29, 2018, we focused on the inspiring efforts of Stephen Burdman, founder and artistic director of the New York Classical Theatre. Three days later, as part of a February 1 luncheon gathering at the Woman's National Democratic Club in DC, we chatted with actor and director Keith Baxter, who was delighting Washington audiences in three roles (the Ghost, the Player King, and the Gravedigger) in a production of Hamlet that highlights Michael Kahn's concluding season as Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company. One of our attendees, Leslie Weisman, generously shared some reflections on the portion of that conversation that focused on Orson Welles, the actor, director, and producer with whom Mr. Baxter worked when he portrayed Prince Hal in Chimes at Midnight, a 1966 film classic that starred Welles as Falstaff and Sir John Gielgud as King Henry IV. On February 28 we returned to Manhattan for a memorable NAC evening with with producer Eleanor Bergstein of "Dirty Dancing" fame. On March 20 we hosted a gathering at The Players with artistic director Jesse Berger of the Red Bull Theatre. On April 18 we were back at the NAC with cultural historian Edward Tenner. And on May 15 we repaired to The Players for a wide-ranging discussion with renowned director Sir Richard Eyre, whose scintillating production of Long Day's Journey into Night had just opened at BAM's Harvey Theatre with Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville in starring roles.

Our 2017 Speaking of Shakespeare offerings commenced at the National Arts Club on January 18 and February 22 with Jean E. Howard of Columbia University and Shane Ann Younts of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. A few weeks later, on March 22, we talked with Sarah Enloe of the American Shakespeare Center. On April 26 and 27 we enjoyed richly informative engagements with film historian Samuel Crowl and director Karin Coonrod. Our dialogue with Ms. Coonrod was a sequel to a March 2016 conversation that focused on a historic July 2016 production of The Merchant of Venice. We revisited not only the performance itself, but a timely symposium (with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presiding over deliberations featuring actor F. Murray Abraham and scholars Stephen Greenblatt and James Shapiro) which was covered by the New York Times. The following month, on Thursday, May 25, we focused a spotlight on arts patron Nancy Zeckendorf. On June 12 we SOS conversed with arts executive Julian Bird. Mr. Bird oversees both the Society of London Theatre, the producers' organization that presents the West End's Olivier Awards each spring, and UK Theatre, a consortium, formerly known as the Theatrical Management Association (TMA), which represents performing-arts institutions throughout the United Kingdom. UK Theatre now hosts the Guild's annual Gielgud Award festivities, at an October luncheon in London's historic Guildhall, where we recently honored playwright Sir David Hare with our 2017 trophy.

To receive periodic updates from The Shakespeare Guild, you're invited to visit our Membership page for types of affiliation. There you'll find a link to a page where you can register for events, enroll as a Guild member, or provide a tax-exempt donation.

Meanwhile, for background on the Guild's signature Speaking of Shakespeare series, which began in 1998 at the National Press Club in Washington, click here. For details about offerings that have been presented in particular seasons, click on the blue link for the year that interests you: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. And for information about upcoming programs, visit our Current Events page.