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March 25, 2015

Shakespeare shakes up local theater

New productions, special events honor The Bard

Events The Arts
Lantern Theater Taming Shrew Mark Gavin/Lanter Theater Company

Joanna Liao as Katherine and J. Hernandez as Petruchio in "The Taming of the Shrew."

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.

Now through Sunday, April 19
Showtimes vary | $15-$50
Arden Theatre's F. Otto Haas Stage
40 N. 2nd St.
(215) 922-1122


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-$25
Wilma Theater
265 S. Broad St.
(215) 893-9456

The Taming of the Shrew

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
Showtimes vary | $10-$39
Lantern Theater Company
923 Ludlow St.
(215) 829-0395

A Midsummer Night's Dream

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.

Friday, April 3 through Sunday, May 17
Showtimes vary | $20-$35
The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre
2111 Sansom St.
(215) 496-8001

Scholars in Conversation: Desire, Dance, and Dynamic Women in The Taming of the Shrew

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 three
Lantern Theater Company
923 Ludlow St.
(215) 829-0395

Shakespeare's 451st Birthday Party

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
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, sixth floor
Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
3420 Walnut St.

Romeo and Juliet

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-$165
Kimmel Center
300 S. Broad St. 
(215) 893-1999

Shaping Shakespeare

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
(215) 732-1600

The Shakespeare Slam

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.

Sunday, April 26
6 p.m. | $10, or $5 if you perform
The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre
2111 Sansom St.
(215) 496-8001