It seems like the Philadelphia theater scene is in a particularly Shakespearian mood this spring. Not only are there three upcoming productions of the Bard's plays in town with one already on stage, but there are concerts and events celebrating his works coming soon.
This Shakespeare spectacular comes just in time for Thursday, April 23, the day we celebrate the writer's birthday. Now that Fox's Shakespearean show "Empire" has finished its season (and thus, you probably have nothing else to do), you can catch up on its influences with shows and discussions.
Making his Arden directorial debut, Alexander Burns leads this dark, beloved work. Ian Merrill Peakes, whom The Washington Post called
"one of the finest Shakespearean actors" on the regional circuit, takes on the titular role.
This special performance directed by Wilma Theater artistic director Blanka Zizka features Zainab Jah as Hamlet. Having a female actor in a traditionally male role isn't the only thing making this production special. The set design by Matt Saunders was inspired by street art with the help of Philly-based street artist CERA.
Now through Sunday, April 26
Showtimes vary | $10-$25Wilma Theater
265 S. Broad St.
Due to this production's popularity, the Charles McMahon-directed play has been extended until early May. Mixing tango with this classic tale of sibling rivalry, Lantern Theater Company updates the story for this century.
Now through Sunday, May 3
Follow four young lovers lost for one night in a magical forest while they get tangled up in love with this comedy about the trials and tribulations of romance. The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre’s artistic/executive director, Carmen Khan, directs the production.
In conjunction with the Lantern production of "The Taming of the Shrew," they'll host panel discussions and Q&As with scholars, Lantern artists and audience members. The three-part series will touch on sexual attraction, how dance shapes culture and how Shakespeare characters can be updated for today.
Mondays, April 6, 13 & 20
7-8:30 p.m. | $10 each or $25 for all threeLantern Theater Company923 Ludlow St.(215) 829-0395
Celebrate the Bard's b-day with cake and dramatic readings amongst one of the world's best collections of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Wednesday, April 22
5:30 p.m. | Free admission
3420 Walnut St.
Join the Philadelphia Orchestra as they perform excerpts from Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet," as well as excerpts from John Williams' "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and Lindberg's "Graffiti." Stéphane Denève will conduct, and the Philadelphia Singers Chorale will perform.
Thursday, April 23 through Saturday, April 25
Showtimes vary | $35-$165Kimmel Center
300 S. Broad St.
Check out some of Shakespeare's earliest printings, discuss how other writers and actors have been influenced by him and delve into works that inspired his plots at this hands-on tour.
Friday, April 24
3-4 p.m. | $5 with General Admission ($5-$10)The Rosenbach Museum
2008-2010 Delancey Place
Perform your favorite monologue or scene from Shakespeare in this wacky open mic night. Both fans and actors will be performing at this first-time event.