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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: March ::
Re: Most Popular Play
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0189.  Saturday, 5 March 1994.
 
From:           Blair Kelly III <
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Date:           Friday, 4 Mar 1994 22:10:16 -0500
Subject:        Most popular
 
Don Rowan asks which of Shakespeare's plays might be the most popular.
While I can not give a definitive answer, I can offer the following
data points.  From 1988-1991 I had the good fortune to live in England.
While some of my compatriots got to know Britain by visiting pubs or
touring castles, my way of seeing Britain was to attend Shakespeare
plays.  I tried to see as many as possible - in Stratford (naturally),
London, regional theater, the Edinburgh Festival (oh how I miss you!) -
if I heard about a Shakespeare performance, I tried to see it.
Undoubtably there were some that I missed.  Anyway here is the list of
plays that I saw and a count of the number of productions that I
attended.
 
            11 Macbeth
             9 Twelfth Night
             8 Taming of the Shrew
             6 Hamlet
             5 King Lear
             5 Midsummer Night's Dream
             5 Much Ado About Nothing
             5 Richard III
             4 As You Like It
             4 Romeo and Juliet
             4 Tempest
             3 Comedy of Errors
             3 Love's Labour's Lost
             3 Winter's Tale
             2 Coriolanus
             2 Cymbeline
             2 Julius Caesar
             2 Measure for Measure
             2 Merchant of Venice
             2 Othello
             2 Pericles
             2 Timon of Athens
             2 Two Gentlemen of Verona
             1 All's Well That Ends Well
             1 Anthony and Cleopatra
             1 Henry IV, Part 1
             1 Henry IV, Part 2
             1 Henry VI, Part 1
             1 Edward IV (Henry VI, Parts 2 and 3)
             1 King John
             1 Richard II
             1 Troilus and Cressida
 
With a bit of help from my diary I can remember something memorable
about each one.  I have often wondered if the distribution would be
vastly different for a similar experiment performed on this side of the
Atlantic.  So looking again in my diary, for a period of approximately
the same length (1991-1994) here is the list of plays that I saw
in the Baltimore-Washington area and the number of productions.
 
             5 Romeo and Juliet
             4 Hamlet
             4 Twelfth Night
             3 As You Like It
             3 Macbeth
             3 Midsummer Night's Dream
             2 Anthony and Cleopatra
             2 Comedy of Errors
             2 Much Ado About Nothing
             2 Tempest
             1 Coriolanus
             1 Henry V
             1 Julius Caesar
             1 King Lear
             1 Love's Labour's Lost
             1 Measure for Measure
             1 Merry Wives of Windsor
             1 Midsummer Nights Dream
             1 Othello
             1 Pericles
             1 Richard II
             1 Richard III
             1 Taming of the Shrew
             1 Tempest
             1 The Merchant of Venice
             1 Two Gentlemen of Verona
 
A totally unscientific comparison.
 
And yes, I admit it ... I am a Shakespeare groupie!
---
Blair Kelly III          
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