We opened our 2015 season in January with Columbia scholar James Shapiro, who explored "Shakespeare in America." In February we chatted with linguist Jesse Sheidlower, who discussed his book on "the F-Word.' In March we enjoyed an engaging dialogue with acclaimed actor John Douglas Thompson, who had received enthusiastic reviews for his performance in Christopher Marlowe's "Tamburlaine." On Monday, April 13, we hosted a Manhattan gathering at The Lambs, a venerable Midtown theatrical society, with legendary actress and director Estelle Parsons, who joined Montclair State's Naomi Liebler, author of "Shakespeare's Festive Tragedy," for a dramatic exploration of Shakespearean heroines. The following night, at the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park, we enjoyed the first of two timely Booth-focused events, this one with biographer Terry L. Alford (Tuesday, April 14), who shed new light on the most dramatic moment in American history. On Friday, May 8, at the University Club in Washington, we conversed with Diana Owen, Chief Executive of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and Peter Kyle OBE, who chairs the organization, about some exciting new 400th-anniversary initiatives in Stratford-upon-Avon. The following day, we joined these two leaders in a festive Open House at the British Embassy, and on Monday, May 11, we co-hosted another gathering with them at the residence of the UK's Consul General for New York. On Tuesday, May 12, we returned to The Lambs for a program with Daniel J. Watermeier, who introduced "American Tragedian," his long-awaited "Life of Edwin Booth." And on Tuesday, June 12, were in Washington for two events that focus on actor Edward Gero. He was riveting audiences in "The Originalist," a brilliant John Strand play that portrays Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court. In September we enjoyed programs in Washington with John Lahr of The New Yorker and in Manhattan with Marc Baron of The Lambs, and in November we savored another opportunity to talk with Columbia University's James Shapiro. A few weeks prior to this gathering Professor Shapiro had attended "King Charles III," a fascinating Broadway hit in blank verse by British playwright Mike Bartlett, and he'd talked about its Shakespearean resonances as a "future history play" with both writer Rebecca Mead and the production's starring actor, Tim Pigott-Smith. For a charming account of that occasion, see the December 12 issue of The New Yorker.
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