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Nearly Lear

Cuesheet: Nearly Lear
What if William Shakespeare’s great and tragic story of King Lear were told from the point of view of the King’s closest companion—the court Fool? In this one-woman show, Susanna Hamnett plays the Fool and every other character, borrowing from the Bard’s legendary words, to tell a new version that’s Nearly Lear.
Theater, Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Cuesheet: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Welcome to an enchanted world of fairies, potions, mischief, and magic... where actors and puppets present Shakespeare’s classic comedy of fickle love.
Backstage, Shakespeare, Theater, Puppets

As You Like It

Article: Shakespeare in Love
Shakespeare made the pursuit of love just as difficult as leading men to war, or solving your father's murder
Playwrights & Plays, Shakespeare, Tragedy, Literature, Theater

Romeo and Juliet

Article: Romeo and Juliet
Find out why William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is such an enduring love story. Learn more about Act II’s balcony scene and the tragedy’s most well-known adaptations
Playwrights & Plays, Shakespeare, Tragedy, Literature, Theater

Words of Love

Article: Love in Poetry and Words
Need the right words for Valentine's Day? Let the great poets, writers, and thinkers share their thoughts
Language, Literature, Poetry, Shakespeare

Heart-shaped Chocolates

Collection: Love
These resources offer ways to look at the concept of love beyond the lovey-dovey. Whether as sweeping ballet choreography or tragic Shakespearean poetry, you'll explore how love can be expressed in different artistic contexts.
Dance, Education, Poetry, History, Shakespeare, Theater, Tragedy

Pencil

Collection: Poetry & Literature
From haiku to hip-hop; slam poetry to the origin of our national anthem. Poetry reaches back through cultural traditions while also inspiring young artists on the cutting edge of self-expression.
Poetry, Young Artists, Literature, Hip-Hop, Shakespeare

word art

Grades 6-8 Lesson: A Way With Words or Say What?
Many words and phrases that we use every day were coined by Shakespeare. He is credited with inventing over 2,000 words and expressive phrases.
Shakespeare, Literature, Language, Playwrights & Plays

Fencers

Grades 6-8 Lesson: Fancy Fencing
Stage-fighting, and especially sword-fighting, is important to the plot of many Shakespearean plays. In theatre, fights are based on precise choreography.
Choreographers, Europe, Playwrights & Plays, Shakespeare, Stunts & Special Effects

Romeo and Juliet

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Performance Essay
By investigating Shakespeare through both an analytical and theatrical lens, students achieve a much deeper understanding of his work.
Theater, Shakespeare, Playwrights & Plays, Literature

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Here Ye…
Talk like William Shakespeare. (Hint: a good place to start is by using “thou” in place of “you.”) What dost thou think? ‘Tis easy! Your turn.
Shakespeare, Literature, Poetry, Television, Playwrights & Plays

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Sir Francis Bacon
"The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery."
Playwrights & Plays, Shakespeare, Literature, Theater

West Side Story

Arts Days: September 26, 1957: Tonight, Tonight
Behind the hit musical about the rival white “Jets” and the Puerto Rican “Sharks” is an updated, urban retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The inspiration and innovation was provided by a boatload of talent; Stephen Sondheim wrote the sophisticated lyrics, Leonard Bernstein the historic music.

Jerome Robbins directed and choreographed the revolutionary dance sequences like the Shark Girls’ exuberant “America” and the Jets’ “Cool.” Audiences saw how violent gang warfare shattered the dreams of star-crossed lovers Maria and Tony. The musical drew big crowds, shocking them all with the death of two young men at the end of Act One and of Tony at the close of the play. As stunned viewers exited the theater, few doubted the universality of Shakespeare’s love story.
Broadway, Musicals, America, Choreographers, Composers, Controversial, Playwrights & Plays, Shakespeare, Popular Culture

William Shakespeare

Arts Days: November 01, 1604 and 1611: A Double Bill of Will
Was this William Shakespeare’s lucky day or just a coincidence that two of his best known plays premiered on the first day of the 11th month, seven years apart? Each play was first presented to King James I at the Palace of Whitehall, the decades-old main residence of the kings and queens of England.

It was customary for any new works to first be seen by the monarch and his court before any presentation to the general public. It is likely that for many years after these two debuts, both plays were indeed performed for the general public at playhouses like The Rose and The Globe. The demand for such entertainment was so great that chances are the ink was barely dry on the page when the first productions were mounted.
Shakespeare, Playwrights & Plays, Tragedy, Europe, Theater

Arthur Laurents

Arts Days: July 14, 1918: From Brooklyn to Broadway
Arthur Laurents, the playwright and lyricist who wrote the book for West Side Story, one of the world’s most beloved musicals, had another source in mind when he conceived of the tragic tale of Maria and Tony. He was thinking of Shakespeare and his play, Romeo and Juliet, and this pair of lovers whose family conflicts stand in the way of their feelings for one another.

Though the theme wasn’t new, Laurents set his characters’ love affair in an urban setting, with rival gangs standing in for the families Shakespeare had put at odds. Laurents worked closely with composer Leonard Bernstein and lyricist Stephen Sondheim to create the Broadway version of West Side Story.
Broadway, Playwrights & Plays, Musicals, Theater, Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet

Arts Days: January 29, 1595: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
William Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet was and remains one of the English playwright's most popular works. The story of the young, "star-cross'd" lovers from feuding families premiered on this day in 1595 at The Theatre, performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men.

That’s right, the acting company was made up entirely of men, so roles like Juliet, the nurse, and Juliet's mother were given to actors who could muster high, feminine voices. Women were not permitted to take the stage in England until the beginning of the 17th century.
Playwrights & Plays, Shakespeare, Tragedy, Theater

Globe Theatre

Arts Days: June 29, 1613: Global Warming
Before it went up in smoke, most of Shakespeare’s plays debuted at The Globe located just outside London’s city limits. The building, erected in 1599 by Shakespeare’s theater company, is probably the best known theater of the Elizabethan era.

With room for about 3,000 people, the Globe had a stage at one end and a couple of areas for viewing the plays: covered balconies with seats for the wealthy, and bare ground for those who didn’t have much money but were willing to stand up for the duration of the show (the standing folks were called “groundlings”).

The Globe had its own motto: “The whole world is a playhouse,” which might sound a little bit familiar. That’s probably because Shakespeare adapted this motto for As You Like It when he wrote the lines, “All the world’s a stage/And all the men and women merely players.”
Art Venues, Shakespeare, Theater, Playwrights & Plays

T.S. Eliot

Arts Days: May 09, 1921: The Title Says It All
"April is the cruelest month.”

That’s the famous opening of the 434-line poem created by American poet T.S. Eliot, who mentioned in a letter to a friend on this day that he “had a long poem in mind and partly on paper.”

Once completed, the first draft of “The Waste Land” was 19 pages long (although it got cut along the way.) Throughout the poem’s five sections, Eliot shifted from scene to scene, from speaker to speaker. He also inserted direct quotations from masterworks by Dante, Whitman, and Shakespeare, as well as the ancient Greeks. But make no mistake—Eliot was a bold and original modernist who broke away from the romantic poetry of the past and became a spokesperson for what he considered the hollowness and bleakness of the 20th century. He gave old words new meanings, created new poetic rhythms, and told us that the world we lived in was spiritually ruined.
Innovators & Pioneers, Poetry, Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Arts Days: April 23, 1564: All the World’s His Stage
The most famous playwright the world has ever seen, William Shakespeare created unforgettable characters and stories in language so rich that the words move “trippingly on the tongue” (at least that’s how Hamlet put it).

His tragedies, such as King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth; comedies like Twelfth Night and As You Like It; and history plays, such as Henry V, thrive centuries later in part because they are filled with characters who make the same kinds of choices and face the same kinds of problems people everywhere do: broken hearts, office politics, family stuff.

Shakespeare’s 37 plays and 154 sonnets, basically a love poem, are really fun to read aloud. That’s because Shakespeare worked puns, jokes, and insults right into the text. Strangely, little is known about Shakespeare’s life.
Shakespeare, Playwrights & Plays, Innovators & Pioneers, Theater

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