The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.2100 Wednesday, 15 November 2000.
From: Hardy M. Cook <
Date: Wednesday, November 15, 2000
Subject: Shakespeare Riches in D.C.
Last week, I mentioned the joint Catholic University / Howard University
production of *Romeo and Juliet*, which concludes this weekend at
Howard's Ira Aldridge Theatre (through Sunday. Friday-Saturday at 7:30,
Sunday at 2:30. Ira Aldridge Theater, Howard University, 2400 Sixth St.
To the joy of those who live in the area, this is only one of four
Shakespeare or Shakespeare inspired productions in Washington, D.C., at
*The Tempest* is playing at the Folger Shakespeare Library's Elizabethan
Theatre (through Dec. 3. Friday at 8, Saturday at 2 and 8, Sunday at 2
and 7:30, Wednesday-Thursday at 7:30. 201 East Capitol St. SE.
For a complete review, see
Here is the Post's mini-review of the production:
Joe Banno's production of "The Tempest" takes big liberties and big
risks. He and dramaturge Cam Magee haven't just cut severely (and on the
whole sensibly), they've rearranged the text, moving and repeating
lines, deliberately altering context to establish a new meaning. All the
adventures on the island, the very story of the play, are but a dream of
Prospero's. Further, Prospero's villainous, usurping brother, Antonio,
becomes his wife, Antonia. But if you're willing to go with it, the
production is a true spellbinder. This audacious production, which
succeeds marvelously--though only by a hair--would be impossible without
Michael Tolaydo (Prospero) at its center. He takes the stage with a new
confidence. Kevin Reese's King of Naples is hushed, broken by the
supposed loss of his son, Ferdinand, whom the talented Jon Cohn makes
both convincingly noble and goofily self-deprecating. Maia DeSanti is a
pure but funny Miranda, Emily Townley a zaftig, surprisingly gentle
Ariel, and Howard W. Overshown is the plotting Sebastian with a
conscience. You can quarrel with this "Tempest," and purists can find
legitimate objections to it. But it's directed by a man drunk on love of
At the Fichandler Stage at Arena Stage one can "hear" *Play On!*, based
on *Twelfth Night*, this production features the music of Duke
"Play On!," Sheldon Epps's musical that blends Duke Ellington's jazz
with Shakespeare's comedy of mistaken identity, "Twelfth Night," on the
Fichandler Stage at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW (Metro: Waterfront).
The run continues through Jan. 7. Tickets are $32 to $50, with student
and senior discounts. Call 202/488-3300 (TDD: 202/484-0247).
A complete review can be found at
"If music be the food of love, play on," Duke Orsino commands in
"Twelfth Night"--and director Sheldon Epps has obeyed, splicing
Shakespeare's story to another Duke--Ellington--to create the boisterous
hybrid "Play On!," now rollicking at Arena Stage. Though Ellington is
one of the greatest 20th-century composers, "Play On!" isn't exactly a
case of the modern genius embracing the Renaissance one in joyous
If these three were not enough, Richard II opened Monday at the
"Richard II," Shakespeare's historical play about the intelligent but
ineffectual monarch, is set in 1930s England in the production at the
Shakespeare Theatre, 450 Seventh St. NW (Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown,
Archives/Navy Memorial). The show continues through Dec. 31. Tickets are
$14.25 to $62, with discounts for seniors and students. For tickets or
information, call 202/547-1122 (TDD: 202/638-3863).
For a complete review, see
I will be seeing Richard II on Saturday and only wish that I had time
enough to see the others.