Join STC and like-minded fans of the Bard for Shakespeare Hour LIVE!, an ongoing tour through every corner of the Shakespeare universe. Artistic Director Simon Godwin and Resident Dramaturg Dr. Drew Lichtenberg gather online with special guests each week to discuss a new topic and allow audiences the opportunity to ask questions live.
These live conversations take place online and require you to have access to the Internet.
To ensure your access to Shakespeare Hour LIVE! simply complete your reservation online or through the box office. You will receive an email 24 hours in advance, as well as a reminder email one hour before the show, which will include a streaming link granting you access to that evening’s show. It’s that simple!
All Special Guests are subject to change.
Week 32, January 20: West Side Story
Following our recent episode on Shakespeare & Musicals, we visit the most ambitious of Shakespeare musical adaptations: West Side Story. Beloved since its Broadway debut in 1957, West Side Story continues to captivate audiences today, with a recent Broadway revival and major motion picture slated to release in 2021. Due to popular demand, we’ll be exploring all facets of this musical theatre mainstay, from its all-star team of Bernstein, Robbins, Laurents, and Sondheim to its groundbreaking operatic score, to its Americanizations, modifications, and controversial updates to its Shakespearean source material: Romeo & Juliet. STC Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul returns as guest co-host for this discussion.
Guests: Dr. Carla Della Gatta (Assistant Professor, Florida State University; Latinx Theatre Commons Steering Committee member), Natascia Diaz (Three-time Helen Hayes Award winner; National Tour, West Side Story; Every Little Step), and Meg Zervoulis (Music Director of Broadway’s The Prom; Associate Music Director of Broadway’s West Side Story, Mean Girls).
Episode 32 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Myron Lehtman.
Week 33, January 27: Hamlet
There are all of Shakespeare’s plays, and then there is Hamlet, the “poem unlimited,” a work of “infinite jest, of most excellent fancy,” a work that “holds the mirror up to nature.” It is the single most quoted and most performed of Shakespeare’s works, provider of its most iconic scene (the Prince holding Yorick’s skull) and also subject of the most frenzied speculation. Was Shakespeare inspired by the death of his son Hamnet? Or of his father? Did Shakespeare play the Ghost of Hamlet’s father? And does the play tell us, as Stephen Greenblatt has argued, about the nature of Shakespeare’s own religious beliefs? There is something in this play that is endlessly mysterious, and this is your chance to have all of your questions answered. Though we briefly discussed Hamlet in our second episode of Shakespeare Hour LIVE!, we figured it was time to give Shakespeare’s tragedy an hour of its own.
Guests: Dr. David Sterling Brown (Assistant Professor of English, Binghamton University; scholar of Shakespeare and premodern critical race studies; Executive Board member of the Race Before Race conference series) and Yaël Farber (Salomé, Helen Hayes Award-winning director and playwright; Gate Theatre/St. Anne’s Warehouse’s Hamlet; National Theatre’s Les Blancs)
Episode 33 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Christine Fisher and Oscar Goldfarb.
Week 34, February 3: Shakespeare Icons: Michael Kahn
We are honored to bring you this special evening with STC Founding Artistic Director Michael Kahn. Join Michael, Simon, and Drew for a conversation about the director’s approach to the classics, favorite performances and anecdotes, surprising parallels (we may even discuss Strange Interlude!), and their passion for classical theatre. The Shakespeare Icons series highlights the stories and careers of some of the brightest stars in American classical theatre, Broadway, and the performing arts at large.
Guest: Michael Kahn (Founding Artistic Director, Shakespeare Theatre Company; former Richard Rodgers Director of Drama, The Juilliard School; American Theater Hall of Fame inductee)
Week 35, February 10: Shakespeare’s Couples
Villains, heroines, clowns…the SHL! team has been working their way through Shakespeare’s character “types” but we haven’t yet examined how he dramatizes human relations in unforgettable pairs. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we are taking a look at some of Shakespeare’s best couples. Beatrice and Benedick, Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra…and the list just gets started there. Simon, Drew, and our panel of guests make their way through the most memorable sparring partners, young lovers, and dynamic duos in the canon.
Week 36, February 17: The Taming of the Shrew
A charming (and often ribald) romantic comedy from the beginning of Shakespeare’s career? Or a retrograde and altogether nasty piece of work that has positively medieval views of women’s place in society? The Taming of the Shrew has inspired adored and successful adaptations, from Kiss Me, Kate to 10 Things I Hate About You. But this (always popular) play has also inspired consistent criticism, starting with The Tamer Tamed, or the Woman’s Prize, a play by protégé John Fletcher that suggests the play was viewed as problematic even in Shakespeare’s own lifetime. Does the play still have anything to say to a 21st century audience and, if so, what might that be? Join our panel as we dissect Shakespeare’s controversial comedy.
Guests: Lileana Blain-Cruz (Resident Director, Lincoln Center Theater; Obie Award-winning director); Maureen Dowd (New York Times columnist, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist); and Dr. Tobias Gregory (Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in English, Catholic University of America)
Week 37, February 24: Shakespeare & the Novel
It’s no secret that Shakespeare often based his plays on existing stories, from the works of ancient Romans such as Ovid, Plautus, and Seneca to medieval writers Holinshed and John Gower to Italian Renaissance pseudo-contemporaries such as Giraldi Cinthio and Boccaccio. In centuries since, writers haven’t changed their tricks, as Shakespeare’s own canon has inspired an ocean of adaptations, spin-offs, and retellings. Drew and Simon discuss Shakespeare’s influence on the written tradition with a dynamite panel of authors and literary figures.
Week 38, March 3: The Crucible
Though their styles may be different, Arthur Miller and William Shakespeare were dramatic giants of their time, working nearly four centuries apart. In this episode, we examine Miller’s craft, his dramatic poetry, his groundbreaking use of the stage to serve as a tribunal for the most important issues of the 20th century, and his own influence, Shakespearean in its own right, in the dramatic canon. Is it time to discover Arthur Miller all over again? In anticipation of STC’s upcoming production of The Crucible, join us to delve into the works of this quintessentially American, classic playwright.
Week 39, March 10: Shakespeare & the Environment
As the weather warms, the SHL! team turns to Shakespeare’s green world. As the torrent of images of nature seems to suggest, in comedies and tragedies alike, the world of nature, of Stratford-upon-Avon and the English countryside, was never far from his heart or his pen. What do Shakespeare’s works, written during the first wave of early modern mass urbanization, tell us about views of our natural world, then and now? How do his works (and the production of those works) relate to 21st century sustainability movements? In this episode, we discuss Shakespeare the environmentalist.
Guest: Sir Jonathan Bate (Foundation Professor of Environmental Humanities at Arizona State University, Professor of English Literature at University of Oxford, renowned Shakespeare scholar)