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.
For information about Shakespeare Hour Live sponsorships, please contact the Development Office at SupportSTC@ShakespeareTheatre.org
Shakespeare Hour Live is currently on break for the summer. Please visit STC’s YouTube page to watch recordings of all previous episodes for FREE!
Between tragedy and comedy, there is the romance. Ever since Samuel Taylor Coleridge classified them as “romances,” audiences and critics have been fascinated by the plays that Shakespeare started writing at the end of his career such as Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest. Filled with music and spectacle, plotted by means of logical implausibilities, featuring exits and entrances pursued by bears and oracles, gods and goddesses, traversing wide gaps of time and space, these plays have nevertheless also often been interpreted in a spiritual light, as being of particular importance to Shakespeare’s retirement and subsequent death a few years later. How did Shakespeare come to write such plays? And what did they—do they—mean? As we mark the close of SHL! Season One, we explore Shakespeare’s own closing gestures.
Guests: Dr. Daniel Pollack-Pelzner (Scholar-in-residence at the Portland Shakespeare Project; Contributor, The New Yorker); Myra Lucretia Taylor (The Public Theater’s The Tempest; Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Winter’s Tale, Pericles; Tony Award nominee); and Mary Zimmerman (STC: Pericles, Argonautka, Candide; Tony Award-winning director, Metamorphoses)
Episode 44 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Amy Weinberg and Norbert Hornstein.
Corporate support for episode 44 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously provided by M Powered Strategies.
Week 43, May 19: Falstaff: Hero or Villain?
Among Shakespeare’s most indelible creations, Falstaff, the central figure in Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 and The Merry Wives of Windsor is also one of his most morally ambivalent. Join our guests for an in-depth discussion of “that reverend vice, that grey iniquity, that father ruffian, the vanity in years”: Sir Jack Falstaff.
Guests: Edward Gero (STC Affiliated Artist; Folger Theatre’s Henry IV, Part 1); Rosa Joshi (Director, Folger Theatre’s Henry IV, Part 1; Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Henry V; Co-founder, upstart crow collective); and Dr. Jeffrey R. Wilson (Preceptor in Expository Writing, Harvard College Writing Program)
Episode 43 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Donna Shelton and Frank Doe.
Week 42, May 12: Training for Shakespeare
What are the secrets in bringing Shakespeare to life? As a glimpse into how Shakespeare is being taught to the next generation of classical performers, Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is partnering on this special episode with the Academy for Classical Acting, which has been training Shakespearean actors for 20 years. If you’ve ever wanted to know how professional actors begin building a performance, or the foundations of a world-class education in classical acting, don’t miss this episode.
Guests: Shana Cooper (Assistant Professor, Northwestern University; Director, Theatre for a New Audience, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, California Shakespeare Theater); Jesse Perez (Program Director, The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program); and Alec Wild (Senior Director, STC’s Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University)
Episode 42 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Sheldon Pratt.
Week 41, May 5: Shakespeare’s Sonnets
From the Beautiful Youth to the Dark Lady, this episode will seek to dispel long-held myths (and perhaps celebrate a few) about one of the most studied and most mysterious bodies of poetry in the world: Shakespeare’s love sonnets. Why were they written? When? And to whom and what for? If ye seek answers to those questions (and more!), seek ye here.
Guests: Donna Denizé (Member, Folger Shakespeare Library Poetry Board of Directors; Chair of the English Department, St. Albans School for Boys) and Rufus Wainwright (Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter; “Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets”)
Episode 41 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Barry Kropf.
Photo of Rufus Wainwright by V. Tony Hauser.
April 23: Great Performances: Romeo & Juliet
In anticipation of the US premiere of Artistic Director Simon Godwin’s Romeo & Juliet film, join us for a special FREE pre-show celebration with award-winning actor Claire Danes for a conversation about her time starring in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet film and reflecting on the ongoing resonance of this remarkable play.
The Great Performances: Romeo & Juliet premiere party will stream for FREE on April 23 at 8 p.m. ET on Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
Guest: Claire Danes (Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, Homeland, Temple Grandin)
Week 40, March 17: 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.
Guests: Prof. Sue Abbotson (Professor of Modern and Contemporary Drama, Rhode Island College; Performance Editor, Arthur Miller Journal); Jason Butler Harner (Broadway’s The Crucible, The Coast of Utopia; Netflix’s Ozark); and Whitney White (STC Associate Director; Director, The Amen Corner, The Crucible [upcoming]; Obie Award-winning director)
Episode 40 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Catherine B. Elwell.
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.
Guests: Sir Jonathan Bate (Foundation Professor of Environmental Humanities at Arizona State University, Professor of English Literature at University of Oxford, renowned Shakespeare scholar); Susan Hilferty (Salomé, The Oresteia; Tony and Obie Award-winning costume and scenic designer; Chair, Department of Design for Stage and Film at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts); and Davis McCallum (Artistic Director, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival)
Episode 39 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored in honor of Don Fox’s birthday.
Week 38, March 3: Titus Andronicus
Among the bloodiest of Shakespeare’s tragedies, Titus Andronicus was also considered to be completely lacking in artistic merit and stageworthiness until well into the 20th century, when landmark productions by Peter Brook, Julie Taymor, and others returned it firmly to the ranks of Shakespeare’s canon. Join us for what promises to be a lively and engrossing discussion of flies, meat-pies, the origins of Shakespeare’s fascination with revenge tragedy, and much more.
Guests: Dr. Martine Kei Green-Rogers (Dramaturg, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Classic Stage Company, Court Theatre); Harry Lennix (Titus, NBC’s The Blacklist, Man of Steel); and Julie Taymor (Tony Award-winning director, The Lion King; Will Award honoree)
Episode 38 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Paige Franklin and David Pancost.
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.
Guests: Dr. Brandi K. Adams (Undergraduate Program Manager, MIT; incoming Assistant Professor of English, Arizona State University); Alexandra Petri (Washington Post columnist; Author, Nothing is Wrong and Here’s Why); and Jane Smiley (Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, essayist, and biographer)
Episode 37 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Frona Hall.
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)
Episode 36 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Jane and Paul Molloy.
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.
Guests: Christian Conn (STC Affiliated Artist; The Comedy of Errors, The Metromaniacs); Dr. Frances Dolan (Distinguished Professor of English, University of California, Davis); and Ismenia Mendes (Red Bull Theater’s Mac Beth, Public Theater’s Much Ado About Nothing)
Episode 35 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by The Brueggeman Family.
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)
Episode 34 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Freddi Lipstein and Scott Richard Berg.
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, SUNY; scholar of Shakespeare and premodern critical race studies; Executive Board member of the Race Before Race conference series); Yaël Farber (Salomé, Helen Hayes Award-winning director and playwright; Gate Theatre/St. Ann’s Warehouse’s Hamlet; National Theatre’s Les Blancs); and Ruth Negga (Academy Award nominee, Loving; Gate Theatre/St. Ann’s Warehouse’s Hamlet)
Episode 33 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Christine Fisher and Oscar Goldfarb.
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 31, January 13: Shakespeare Icons: Dianne Wiest
Shakespeare Hour LIVE! continues into 2021 with special guest, Academy and Emmy Award winner Ms. Dianne Wiest. Shakespeare Icons highlights the stories and careers of some of the brightest stars in American classical theatre, Broadway, and the performing arts at large.
Guests: James Bundy (Artistic Director, Yale Repertory Theatre; Dean, Yale School of Drama); Dr. Catherine Sheehy (Resident Dramaturg, Yale Repertory Theatre; Chair of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism Program, Yale School of Drama); and Dianne Wiest (Bullets Over Broadway, Hannah and Her Sisters, In Treatment; Broadway’s All My Sons; Theatre for a New Audience, Classic Stage Company, Yale Repertory Theatre)
Episode 31 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Susan B. Haight.
Week 30, December 16: Shakespeare Icons: Keith David
For our 30th episode, we continue Shakespeare Icons with Keith David, an Emmy Award winner and Tony Award nominee whose innumerable credits include stage, film, television, and voice-over work.
Guest: Keith David (OWN’s Greenleaf; 21 Bridges, The Princess and The Frog; Broadway: Seven Guitars, Jelly’s Last Jam)
Episode 30 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Livezey and John More.
Week 29, December 9: Shakespeare’s Villains
We are sorry to announce that due to unforeseen circumstances, tonight’s Shakespeare Hour LIVE! discussion on Shakespeare’s Villains has been canceled and will be rescheduled for a later date. All ticket holders will be transferred automatically to the new date when it is known.
In anticipation of our upcoming digital production of All the Devils Are Here, join us as we delve in to all of Shakespeare’s most conniving, dastardly villains with Drew. From Iago and Claudius to Lady Macbeth and Prospero, the villains are often the most interesting and complex characters in each play. In the spirit of our previous episodes on Shakespeare’s Clowns and Shakespeare’s Heroines, this episode will explore the wide-ranging characteristics of the Bard’s baddies.
Guests: Patrick Page (STC Affiliated Artist; Othello, The Tempest, Hamlet, Coriolanus; Tony Award nominee, Hadestown; The Lion King) and Professor Deborah C. Payne (Associate Professor of Literature, American University; former Humanities Research Consultant at STC)
Episode 29 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by M Powered Strategies.
Week 28, December 2: Shakespeare Icons: Des McAnuff
Welcome to a new series titled Shakespeare Icons. In Shakespeare Icons, we will highlight the stories and careers of some of the brightest stars in American classical theatre, Broadway, and the performing arts at large. It is our honor to kick this series off with Des McAnuff, award-winning director and producer of classical and new works in the US, UK, and Canada.
Guest: Des McAnuff (Former Artistic Director, Stratford Festival; Former Artistic Director, La Jolla Playhouse; Tony, Olivier, and BAFTA Award-winning director and producer)
Episode 28 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by David and Jean Grier.
Week 27, November 25: The Best of Shakespeare Hour LIVE!
It’s the week of Thanksgiving and this year, we have been super thankful for Shakespeare Hour LIVE! Now 26 episodes in, Shakespeare Hour LIVE! has officially been airing for half a year. Resident Dramaturg Dr. Drew Lichtenberg and Line Producer Grace Ann Roberts will be live co-hosting The Best of SHL!, looking back at clips from some of the best moments of the past episodes, sharing behind-the-scenes stories, and answering your questions live. Revisit some of your favorite appearances from actors F. Murray Abraham, Dame Helen Mirren, and Sam Waterston; directors Madeline Sayet and Whitney White; Shakespearean scholars Dr. Farah Karim-Cooper and James Shapiro; journalist Maureen Dowd; and more!
Episode 27 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Marcy Butler and Ryan Compton.
Additional support for Episode 27 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! provided by Margaret C. Jones.
Week 26, November 18: The Winter’s Tale
There is no play of Shakespeare’s more misunderstood than The Winter’s Tale, a work that can seem absurd on the page yet miraculous on the stage. Filled with improbabilities such as a walking bear, the seacoast of Bohemia, and the infamous statue scene, Shakespeare’s penultimate play is also the one that most flouts classical rules of dramatic structure, mixing together tragical, pastoral, and something else entirely. And yet, it is a play beloved by directors and actors around the world, cherished by audience members who have seen special productions of it. As the seasons change in this most unusual of years, this episode examines Shakespeare’s unusual work of pure theatrical poetry. Partially discussed in the Shakespeare Hour LIVE!’s third episode at the beginning of quarantine, SHL! is responding to popular demand by giving The Winter’s Tale its own episode.
Guests: Arin Arbus (Obie Award-winning director; Resident Director, Theatre for a New Audience); Linda Emond (Three-time Tony Award nominee, Public Theater’s The Winter’s Tale); and Dr. Niamh J. O’Leary (Associate Professor of English, Xavier University; Co-host, The Good, the Bard, and the Ugly)
Episode 26 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Christopher M. and Andrita J. Andreas.
Week 25, November 11: Shakespeare & the Supernatural
In honor of Halloween, this otherworldly episode is devoted to examining Shakespeare’s extensive links to the supernatural. From the fairies of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the Wëird Sisters of Macbeth and the ghostly apparitions staged or described in Richard III, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth, and The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare’s plays betray a presiding interest in supernatural occurrences and folkloric superstition. Join us as we discuss Ovidian transformations, Senecan shades, medieval witchery, and more.
Guests: Dr. Martine Kei Green-Rogers (Dramaturg, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Classic Stage Company, Court Theatre); Dr. Carole Levin (Willa Cather Professor of History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; co-author, Shakespeare’s Foreign Worlds); and Corey Stoll (Golden Globe Award nominee, House of Cards; Classic Stage Company’s Macbeth; Public Theater’s Troilus and Cressida, Julius Caesar, Othello)
Episode 25 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Catherine McClave.
Week 24, November 4: Shakespeare & Musicals
Shakespeare’s works have inspired some of the most iconic works in the musical theatre repertory, from The Boys from Syracuse (The Comedy of Errors) to Kiss Me, Kate (The Taming of the Shrew) to West Side Story (Romeo and Juliet), authored by such giants in their own right as Rodgers and Hart; Cole Porter; and Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim, respectively. In the late 20th and 21st century, Shakespeare’s plays have continued to serve as inspiration, undergirding such “jukebox musicals” as Play On! (Twelfth Night meets Duke Ellington), All Shook Up (Twelfth Night meets Elvis Presley), and These Paper Bullets (Much Ado About Nothing meets Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong). And then there’s The Lion King, with its plot strongly “inspired” by Hamlet. SHL! co-host Drew Lichtenberg is joined by STC Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul and special guests from the world of Broadway for this deep dive into the special relationship between the Bard and Broadway.
Guests: Ted Chapin (President, The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization); Ben Davis (Tony Award winner, La Bohème; Kiss Me, Kate at London’s Royal Albert Hall); and Natascia Diaz (Three-time Helen Hayes Award winner; National Tour, West Side Story; Every Little Step)
Episode 24 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Sara and Stephen Kraskin.
Week 23, October 28: Shakespeare Hour LIVE! at the National Theatre
In a continuation of the previous episode, Simon and Drew are joined by actors, scholars, and creatives to discuss all things NT: the history of the National Theatre, its relationship to Shakespeare since its inception, its importance to British culture, and perhaps an exciting upcoming production. This episode will be pre-recorded, featuring a live introduction and closing from Drew Lichtenberg.
Guests: Emily Burns (Resident Director at the National Theatre; Associate Director/Editor, Timon of Athens); Dr. Daniel Rosenthal (Author, The National Theatre Story); and Sargon Yelda (NT’s Antony and Cleopatra, Mother Courage and Her Children)
Episode 23 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Maxine Isaacs.
Week 22, October 21: “This England”: Shakespeare & Britain Today
“This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England…”
–Richard II, act 2, scene 1, 50–55
We go across the pond in this special episode of Shakespeare Hour LIVE!, which will feature conversation from an all-star panel of British Shakespeare actors, scholars, and practitioners. We will explore the unique place occupied by Shakespeare in British culture and how that may be changing. This episode will be pre-recorded, featuring a live introduction and closing from Drew Lichtenberg.
Guests: Adjoa Andoh (Shakespeare Globe’s Richard II, RSC’s Troilus and Cressida, Julius Caesar); Gregory Doran (Artistic Director, Royal Shakespeare Company); and Professor Farah Karim-Cooper (Professor of Shakespeare Studies, King’s College London; Head of Higher Education & Research at Shakespeare’s Globe)
Episode 22 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by the The Theodore H. Barth Foundation.
Week 21, October 14: Shakespeare & Japan
Simon Godwin will discuss his journey taking Shakespeare around the world to Tokyo, and on the fascinating differences (and similarities!) between Western and Eastern theatrical cultures. What is the Japanese view of Shakespeare? How can western theatres be in better conversation with their eastern counterparts?
Guests: Ako Dachs (Founding Artistic Director, Amaterasu Za; Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Throne of Blood, Julius Caesar, Love’s Labor’s Lost; Lucile Lortel Award nominee); Dr. Shoichiro Kawai (Professor of English Literature and Shakespeare, University of Tokyo; President, Shakespeare Society of Japan); and Dr. Natsu Onoda Power (Professor in Theater and Performance Studies, Georgetown University; Helen Hayes Award-winning playwright and director)
Episode 21 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by James and Cynthia Tuite.
Week 20, October 7: The Past Uncovered: Shakespeare, Black Actors, and Whiteness
Drew Lichtenberg is joined by LeeAnét Noble, STC’s Director of Equity and Enrichment and co-director of the STC Virtual Gala, as they explore the stories of Ira Aldridge and other foundational Black Shakespearean actors, and their struggles in being accepted as equal members of the classical community. This episode will focus on Shakespearean and theatrical historiography and on its implicit biases in constructing a version of Shakespeare that does not live up to the inclusive and humanistic impulses of his own drama.
Guests: Dr. David Sterling Brown (Assistant Professor of English, Binghamton University, SUNY; scholar of Shakespeare and premodern critical race studies; Executive Board member of the Race Before Race conference series); Carl Cofield (Associate Artistic Director, Classical Theatre of Harlem; Director, CTH’s The Tempest, Macbeth); and Dr. Soyica Colbert (Vice Dean of Faculty and Idol Family Professor of the College of Arts and Sciences, Georgetown University; STC Associate Director–Literary)
Episode 20 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
Week 19, September 30: Richard II
In anticipation of the upcoming November election, sure to be one of the most controversial and politically charged of many Americans’ lifetimes, the Shakespeare Hour LIVE! team tackles the most controversial and politically charged of Shakespeare’s plays during his lifetime. Staged by the Earl of Essex as part of an attempted revolutionary coup, the controversial deposition scene was published only in its full form after Shakespeare’s death. Richard II is his ultimate study of deposition and succession, of the soft-seeming mechanisms through which the state’s hard and violent powers have often changed hands.
Guests: Nora Carroll (The Old Globe’s Richard II, The Public Theater’s Measure for Measure); Naomi Jacobson (STC Affiliated Artist, Richard II, Helen Hayes Award winner); and Dr. Michael Witmore (Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, scholar of Shakespeare and early modern literature, pioneer in the digital analysis of Shakespeare’s texts)
Episode 19 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by the Leila and Mickey Straus Family Foundation.
Week 18, September 23: Shakespeare’s Heroines
Continuing our examination of Shakespeare’s relationship to humor begun with our recent episode on Shakespeare & Clowns, we will examine the female protagonists in his plays, and the respective importance of verbal wit, theatrical imagination, and humane intelligence to be found in his work.
Guests: Dr. Carla Della Gatta (Assistant Professor, Florida State University; Latinx Theatre Commons Steering Committee member); Helen Hunt (Oscar and Emmy Award winner, As Good As It Gets, Mad About You, Lincoln Center’s Twelfth Night); and Madeline Sayet (Where We Belong, National Directing Fellow, Forbes 30 Under 30 in Hollywood & Entertainment)
Episode 18 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Roger Sant and Doris Matsui and The Mather.
Week 17, September 16: Shakespeare & Film
From the landmark films of Akira Kurosawa (Throne of Blood, Ran), Orson Welles (Othello, Chimes at Midnight), and Sir Laurence Olivier (Hamlet, Henry V) to more recent adaptations by Kenneth Branagh (Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Henry V), Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet), Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho), and Julie Taymor (Titus, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Shakespeare’s plays have proven to be a fertile source of cinematic imaginings. Join Julie Taymor and more guests for an in-depth discussion of the process of translating Shakespeare’s language to the most visual of mediums.
Guests: Dr. Peter Holland (McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies, University of Notre Dame; former Director of the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon); Dame Helen Mirren (Oscar, Emmy, Tony, BAFTA, and Olivier Award-winning actor); and Julie Taymor (Tony Award-winning director, The Lion King; Will Award honoree)
Episode 17 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Denise Gwyn Ferguson.
Foundation support for Episode 17 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously provided by Share Fund.
Week 16, September 9: Shakespeare & The Law
In this special partnership with STC’s Bard Association, join some of the sharpest legal minds in Washington as they discuss Shakespeare’s own theatrical connection to the Inns of Court and the outlines of his legal imagination.
Guests: Kate Burton (multiple Tony and Emmy Award nominee; Broadway: Present Laughter, Hedda Gabler; Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal); Jessie K. Liu (Former United States Attorney for the District of Columbia); and Abbe Lowell (Winston & Strawn, LLP; Chair, STC Bard Association)
Episode 16 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Ken and Sheila Berman.
Week 15, July 29: Shakespeare & Politics
Though Shakespeare lived under an absolutist monarchy very different from our modern republican system of government, with its bicameral legislature, many have remarked on how frighteningly contemporary and relevant his depiction of politics can be. We will be joined by some of Washington’s finest political minds to examine Shakespeare’s depiction of absolute power, Machiavellian manipulation, and its effect upon the people placed along the political spectrum.
Guests: Maureen Dowd (New York Times columnist, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist); Harry Lennix (NBC’s The Blacklist, Man of Steel); and Tina Packer (Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company, author of Power Plays: Shakespeare’s Lessons in Leadership & Management, Tales From Shakespeare, and Women of Will)
Episode 15 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Betsy and Ed Cohen and The Mather.
Week 14, July 22: Shakespeare & Opera
From the late 17th-century works of Purcell during the English Restoration, to the work of later masters such as Rossini, Verdi, Purcell, Smetana, Gounod, Berlioz, Wagner, and twenty-first century works by Jeremy Sams and Thomas Adès, there is a long and distinguished history of operatic adaptation of Shakespeare’s plays. Join us for what promises to be a fascinating conversation about Shakespeare’s influence on the worlds of operatic and classical music.
Guests: Anne Midgette (former chief classical music critic at The Washington Post); Russell Thomas (Internationally-recognized, award-winning American operatic tenor); and Francesca Zambello (Director of The Glimmerglass Festival and the Washington National Opera)
Episode 14 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Jeffrey P. Cunard and Mariko Ikehara.
Photo of Francesca Zambello: Claire McAdams/The Glimmerglass Festival
Week 13, July 15: Shakespeare & America
Since the first recorded performance of Shakespeare in North America in 1730, Shakespeare has been a near-constant presence shaping American identity. We will discuss the when, the how, and the why of Shakespeare in America, surveying the famous Booth family of Shakespearean actors (one of whom was Lincoln’s assassin), the largest riot of the 1800s between fans of different Shakespeare schools, and the extensive links between the regional theater movement and Shakespeare from Tyrone Guthrie to Joseph Papp to the Folger and Michael Kahn.
Guests: Nataki Garrett (Artistic Director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Joseph Haj (Artistic Director of The Guthrie Theater); Hamish Linklater (The Big Short, Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles’ Henry IV, Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park Twelfth Night); Amrita Ramanan (Director of Literary Development and Dramaturg at Oregon Shakespeare Festival); and Antoinette Robinson (STC’s Twelfth Night, Broadway’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)
Episode 13 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Barbara Fleischman.
Week 12, July 8: Shakespeare & Clowns
The clowns in Shakespeare’s plays always stand out. We will examine the multiple different types of clown in Shakespeare’s plays with experts from the world of this ancient and popular art, and try to answer the question: Are Shakespeare’s clowns funny?
Guests: Bill Irwin (Tony Award-winning actor, Broadway’s Waiting for Godot, The Public Theater’s King Lear); Dr. Richard McCoy (Distinguished Professor of English at Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY; author of Faith in Shakespeare); and Jacob Ming-Trent (HBO’s Watchmen, Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park Twelfth Night, TFANA’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Episode 12 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Nick and Marla Allard.
Week 11, July 1: Shakespeare’s Life
What was Shakespeare’s background and how did it inform his plays? Topics may include but are not limited to: being the son of a glovemaker, not going to college, moving to London as an actor, becoming a wealthy self-made man and landowner. And yes, we will be most likely discussing the authorship “controversy.”
Guests: Sir Jonathan Bate (Foundation Professor of Environmental Humanities at Arizona State University, Professor of English Literature at University of Oxford, renowned Shakespeare scholar); Anthony Heald (Two-time Tony Award nominated actor, 12 seasons at Oregon Shakespeare Festival); and Dr. Lena Orlin (Professor of English at Georgetown University, former Executive Director of the Folger Institute, former Executive Director of the Shakespeare Association of America)
Episode 11 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Monica Gerard-Sharp.
Week 10, June 24: The Ascent & The Descent
Play: Richard III
How does Shakespeare dramatize Richard’s ascent to, and descent from, power?
Guests: Chuk Iwuji (Old Vic’s Richard III, Netflix’s When They See Us); Dr. Hester Lees-Jeffries (Fellow, St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge University; author of Shakespeare and Memory); and Gregg Mozgala (Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Classic Stage Company’s Play On Festival Henry VI, Part 3 [Richard, Duke of Gloucester], The Public Theater’s Teenage Dick, Manhattan Theatre Club’s The Cost of Living)
Episode 10 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Barbara Harman and William Cain.
Week 9, June 17: The Outsider & The Insider
Play: The Merchant of Venice
How does Shakespeare dramatize the figure of the social outsider in this play…and how does he dramatize the characters who are part of the “in-group”?
Guests: F. Murray Abraham (Theatre for a New Audience/National Tour The Merchant of Venice, Academy Award-winning actor, Will Award honoree); Jeffrey Horowitz (Founding Artistic Director of Theatre for a New Audience); and Kate MacCluggage (Theatre for a New Audience/National Tour The Merchant of Venice, Cinemax’s The Knick)
Episode 9 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Carol and Landon Butler.
Week 8, June 10: Love & Hate
Looking at the triangular relationship between Othello, Iago, and Desdemona, who displaces whom? How do hatred and love displace one another, and how do the public and domestic spheres get tragically confused?
Guests: Dion Johnstone (STC’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Stratford Festival’s Othello); Liev Schreiber (Showtime’s Ray Donovan, The Public Theater’s Othello); Whitney White (Director, STC’s The Amen Corner, The Movement Theatre Company/American Repertory Theater/Woolly Mammoth’s What to Send Up When It Goes Down)
Episode 8 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Bonnie and Louis Cohen.
Week 7, June 3: Democracy & Empire
Plays: Julius Caesar and Antony & Cleopatra
How does Shakespeare examine the problems of, respectively, the experiment of self-rule by the people and the extension of one country or people’s sovereignty over others?
Guests: Shirine Babb (STC’s Timon of Athens, Folger Theatre’s Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra); Jordan Barbour (Broadway’s The Inheritance, Theatre for a New Audience’s Julius Caesar); and James Shapiro (Professor of English at Columbia University, award-winning Shakespearean author, Shakespeare Scholar-in-Residence at The Public Theater)
Episode 7 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Sandy and Jon Willen.
Week 6, May 27: Identity & Ambiguity
Plays: Twelfth Night and As You Like It
How does Shakespeare explore the mysteries of gender identity and sexuality in these two plays?
Guests: Francesca Faridany (Strange Interlude, As You Like It); Michael Urie (Hamlet, Buyer & Cellar); and Michael Witmore (Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, scholar of Shakespeare and early modern literature, pioneer in the digital analysis of Shakespeare’s texts)
Episode 6 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Eden Rafshoon.
Week 5, May 20: Virtue & Vice
Plays: Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2
How does Shakespeare dramatize the conflict between good and evil in the battle for the soul of Prince Hal, the future Henry V…and why do the virtuous characters seem so much less fun than the vice-field ones?
Guests: Kelley Curran (The Oresteia, Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2); Stephen Greenblatt (Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, and General Editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature and The Norton Shakespeare); and Sam Waterston (Law & Order, acclaimed actor, producer, and director, and Will Award honoree)
Episode 5 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Carolyn L. Wheeler.
Week 4, May 13: Hope & Rebirth
Plays: The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest
We continue with two plays from the end of Shakespeare’s career, which introduce us to a new genre: the Shakespearean Romance. These two plays have almost opposite dramaturgies—The Winter’s Tale traversing wide gaps in space and time while The Tempest has an almost Aristotelian economy. But they share a deep kinship as pictures of Shakespeare’s thinking at his most personal, lyric, and magical, in some ways returning to the inspiration of his earlier “magic” and “romantic” plays while in others reflecting over every aspect of his life and career.
Guests: Peter Marks (chief theatre critic, The Washington Post); STC Affiliated Artist Patrick Page (Othello, The Tempest); and STC Affiliated Artist Rebecca Taichman (Tony Award-winning director; STC’s The Winter’s Tale, Twelfth Night, The Taming of the Shrew)
Episode 4 of Shakespeare Hour LIVE! is generously sponsored by Mary Cole.
Week 3, May 6: Age & Ambition
Plays: King Lear and Macbeth
As a well-decorated member of the King’s Men and a land-owner in his native Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare is settling into a lucrative and decorated middle age. What possesses him to write, in the “Year of Lear,” such plays as King Lear and Macbeth, which rank among the greatest of achievements in world drama? And what do these plays tell us about today?
Guests: STC Affiliated Artists Helen Carey (The Oresteia, Macbeth) and Stacy Keach (King Lear, Richard III)
Week 2, April 29: Ghosts & the Law
Plays: Hamlet and Measure for Measure
In 1596, Shakespeare’s son Hamnet dies from the plague. A few years later, his father dies. In 1603, James Stuart becomes King James I of England. We discuss Hamlet, the “poem unlimited” and an endlessly fascinating study of grief and spirituality with its twin in Measure for Measure, a problem comedy that explores the ambiguities and mysteries of authoritarian leadership, the human being’s relationship to the law, and the law’s relationship to all of us.
Guests: Cara Ricketts (Richard III, Simon Godwin’s Measure for Measure at Theatre for a New Audience) and Jonathan Cake (Simon Godwin’s Measure for Measure at Theatre for a New Audience, Showtime’s The Affair, ABC’s Desperate Housewives)
Week 1, April 22: Romance & Magic
Plays: Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Simon and Drew discuss Shakespeare’s two early masterpieces and why they remain such popular and beloved works. As a new member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, Shakespeare helps change our understanding of tragedy and comedy, teenage identity, and the magical experience of nature. Also discussed: Shakespeare’s “lyric” period, what makes these works different from what came before, Simon’s thoughts on directing Romeo and Juliet for the National Theatre.
Guest: Finn Wittrock (STC’s Romeo and Juliet, FX’s American Horror Story)
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