Speaking of Shakespeare Link

Current Events
SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE IN NEW YORK

Our next SPEAKING engagement, at 6 p.m. on Friday, January 24, at the National Arts Club (15 Gramercy Park South in Manhattan), will focus on Jim Dale, a celebrated performer who garnered an Oscar nomination as composer of the theme song for "Georgy Girl," who won a Tony Award for his title role in "Barnum," and who holds multiple Grammy Awards for his evocative recordings of "Harry Potter." This will be our third program with Mr. Dale, who'll entertain us with anecdotes and vignettes from one of the most extraordinary careers in the history of show business and then respond to questions and comments from the audience.

Details will be provided soon about additional offerings, among them a March 23 program at The Players with journalist Ron Rosenbaum, a prolific journalist whose many publications include a powerful book about what he dubbed The Shakespeare Wars, an April 22 Players conversation about Shakespeare in a Divided America with Columbia University's James Shapiro, and a festive, Bard-focused concert by musical artist Shana Farr at the NAC on June 19.

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 politics that David Brooks had commended in an eloquent column for the New York Times. But as usual 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 now 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 when he looked in on the campaigns of Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren.

As we arrange attractions for the months ahead, we're savoring the spring events that concluded our 2018-19 season. One was a special afternoon salon with
Linda Zagaria in Manhattan's National Arts Club on Tuesday, June 25. Another program, next door that evening at The Players, was an entertaining dialogue with New Yorker favorites Roz Chast and Patricia Marx. They discussed and signed copies of their illustrated guide to the care and tending of hard-to-please mothers, Why Don't You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?, and charmed us with ukulele duets similar to those that had captivated audiences a few nights earlier at the legendary Carlyle Hotel.

We're also cherishing two mid-May events in a SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE series that is now in its third decade. One was a memorable conversation with F. Murray Abraham, who joined us for an 8 p.m. National Arts Club gathering on Monday, May 13. Best known for the Academy Award he earned as Antonio Salieri in the film version of Peter Shaffer's Amadeus, Mr. Abraham has won a new generation of admirers in the role of Dar Adal on Showtime's mesmerizing Homeland series. In 2010 the Guild honored him with a Gielgud trophy during a Grand Gallery ceremony that featured such luminaries as Tom Hulce and Ann Meara and Jerry Stiller, and warm memories of that NAC gala resurfaced as a roomful of admirers enjoyed another special evening with one of today's most charismatic performers. The next afternoon, Tuesday, May 14, we returned to the club's welcoming parlor for a spirited 2 p.m. Salon with John Douglas Thompson, an impressive actor who was earning plaudits as Kent in a Broadway presentation that starred Glenda Jackson in the title role of King Lear.

For information about previous highlights in the Guild's two decades of Speaking engagements, not only at multiple venues in New York, but at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in the Windy City, at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, and at such institutions as the British Embassy, the National Press Club, the University Club, and the Woman's National Democratic Club in Washington, click
here.

THE GUILD'S 2019 GIELGUD AWARD CEREMONY IN LONDON

Our most recent Gielgud Award, presented on Monday, October 28, paid tribute to the extraordinary achievements of Sir Cameron Mackintosh. Once again our Award festivities took place in conjunction with the UK Theatre Awards Luncheon. And once again our Award selection was featured in publications such as Broadway World and The Stage. As it happened, however, this year's presentation occurred, not as usual in London's venerable Guildhall on Sunday, October 27, but at the beautiful Gielgud Theatre the following afternoon. As you'll see if you click on a brief overview about the gathering, it proved to be a memorable occasion.

Fifteen years ago, on April 19, 2004, the Guild joined the RSC and RADA in that resonant setting for a remarkable Gielgud Centenary Gala. This October's gathering vividly recalled that occasion. But it also commemorated two anniversaries that date back a quarter of a century: (a) the establishment of a new award in Sir John's name, which was announced on April 24, 1994, at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, and (b) the renaming of a venue on Shaftesbury Avenue that had been known as the Globe prior to November 2, 1994, when it became the Gielgud Theatre in recognition of Sir John's exemplary accomplishments, not least among them fifteen major productions in that prestigious setting.

Bestowing our 2019 trophy was Sir Richard Eyre, who was busy directing a revival of Mary Poppins at London's Prince Edward Theatre. In addition to his many achievements in the profession for which he is best known, Sir Richard is a distinguished producer, filmmaker, and author, and it was he who received our 2018 Gielgud Award at last October's UK Theatre Awards luncheon. Sir Richard's riveting television production of King Lear, with Sir Anthony Hopkins in the title role, had debuted a few weeks earlier on Amazon Prime Video. Meanwhile his evocative feature film, The Children Act, co-starring Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci and featuring Fionn Whitehead in a screenplay by novelist Ian McEwan, was gripping moviegoers around the globe. And if those credits were not enough, Sir Richard was also directing Laura Linney in My Name Is Lucy Barton, a "beautifully nuanced solo performance" (to quote Michael Billington of The Guardian) that will open on Broadway in January.

Our 2018 award had been presented by Sir Ian McKellen, The Guild's inaugural Gielgud laureate, who was himself appearing in a West End staging of King Lear that had been shared cinematically with audiences throughout the world. When he'd received his own trophy, during a ceremony at the Folger Shakespeare Library on May 20, 1996, Sir Ian had graced the occasion not only with praise for Sir John, but with a powerful recitation from The Booke of Sir Thomas Moore, relating the words that Shakespeare had composed for the script's title character to remarks that Justice Anthony Kennedy had uttered earlier that day while he was delivering a pivotal Supreme Court ruling that "no state may 'deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws.'"

As he bestowed the 2018 Gielgud trophy, Sir Ian recalled how much Sir John did, not only to exemplify meticulous standards in his own presentations of Shakespeare and other playwrights, but to encourage and support the efforts of other performers, among them those who were just beginning their careers. Sir Ian extolled Richard Eyre for the same qualities, and he emphasized how much everyone who cherishes the dramatic arts has benefited from his many contributions to our cultural lives.

For more detail about the Guild's 2018-19 programming, click here. If you wish to join and receive periodic updates, we invite you 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.