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Shakespeare & Beyond

What's onstage at Shakespeare theaters this fall

For many theater companies, September marks the beginning of a new season. We reached out to our theater partners across the United States to see what’s onstage this fall.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival

In Montgomery, AL, Alabama Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Rick Dildine brings Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to life beginning September 14. Set within a child’s attic, this production fosters wild imagination and uses live music throughout. After Midsummer ends, get into the holiday spirit with A Christmas Carolbeginning November 16.

Isabelle Bushue and Joshua Castille, Romeo & Juliet at American Players Theatre, 2023. Photo by Liz Lauren.

American Players Theatre

In Spring Green, WI, the American Players Theatre’s 44th season in the woods continues through October 8, with eight plays now in rotating repertory. Don’t miss Romeo and Juliet, featuring deaf actors Joshua Castille and Robert Schleifer in the roles of Romeo and Friar Lawrence. After the summer season closes, David Auburn’s Proof will begin its run in the indoor Touchstone Theatre on October 28.

Atlanta Shakespeare Company

Troilus and Cressida begins at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company’s Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse on September 9. Full of drama and satire, Shakespeare turns the story of the Iliad on its head and exposes the toxic masculinity inherent in war and the ways women get trapped in it.

Later in the season, join the company for a one-week encore presentation of By My Will, beginning September 28; Dracula: The Failings of Men, beginning October 7 and presented in collaboration with Atlanta’s Havoc Movement; and The Tempest, beginning November 4.

And, while the show goes on, the Company continues to recover from an arson attack. “Fortunately the fire damage turned out to be negligible,” Artistic Director Jeff Watkins wrote in a letter, “but anyone who has experienced a fire likely will have a lot to say about water damage! Basically, the small fire in our mail room triggered the sprinkler which killed the fire, but then ran for ~30 minutes until the Fire Department could shut it off.” You can support the Company’s recovery with a tax-deductible donation.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company kicks off its 30th Anniversary 2023-2024 Season with a world premiere adaptation of the classic thriller Gaslight, running September 8 – 24. The autumn continues with another world premiere: Wrecking Ball, a play about a Hollywood writers’ room. Entering the holiday season, CSC presents Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a winter twist and their annual smash holiday hit Every Christmas Story Ever Told.

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

In Baltimore, As You Like It, directed by Artistic Director Ian Gallanar, kicks off the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s 2023/24 season. “This is our Rule-Breakers Season,” writes the Company’s Leslie Malin, “a celebration of mavericks, timeless stories, and human joys and foibles.”

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

This fall, music is the food of love at Chicago Shakespeare Theater! Twelfth Night, the Bard’s cleverest comedy, is brought to vibrant new life as director Tyrone Phillips reimagines Illyria in the Caribbean isles. Filled with witty commentary on gender, class, and sexuality, this sparkling romance brims with heart and revels in the intoxicating power of love. The production starts October 25.

Other upcoming events at Chicago Shakespeare include Little Amal, 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee child, to Chicago as part of her epic journey across the US this fall. Chicago Shakespeare will be her first stop in the city, with a free event on September 28 in partnership with Navy Pier, Uniting Voices, A.B.L.E., Chicago Children’s Museum, and the Syrian Community Network.

The Theater will also participate in Destinos, the Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, joining the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance to present Prieto. This autobiographical coming-of-age story is written and performed by Yosimar Reyes. In a playful performance as his younger self, Reyes gives audiences a glimpse into his childhood in East San Jose as he comes to understand the complex intersection of his queerness and his identity as an undocumented American. This production runs in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare October 20 – 22.

Aria Shaghasemi and Anita Pomario as Romeo and Juliet at The Curtain, 2023.

The Curtain

Jersey City’s The Curtain returns to live production this September 28 with Romeo and Juliet. Set at the dawn of the Jazz Age, this diverse and star-studded production of the timeless classic features TV sensation Aria Shaghasemi, star of the CW show Legacies as Romeo; Andrew Sellon, star of Fox’s Gothamas Friar Laurence; and Italian actress and Venice Film Festival Pasinetti Award winner Anita Pomario, star of The Macaluso Sisters as Juliet, in her American stage debut.

Folger Theatre

The Winter’s Tale, directed by Tamilla Woodard, begins here at Folger Theatre on November 4. The new production of Shakespeare’s astonishing romance will be Folger Theatre’s first production in the Folger’s Elizabethan Theatre since our renovation began in 2020. Audience members will get a preview of our new spaces before the building fully opens in 2024.

The Winter’s Tale is part of DC’s Shakespeare Everywhere festival, a citywide celebration of the Bard featuring twelve productions over twelve weeks.

Jessica Ranville in Where We Belong (2023). Photos by Jenny Graham.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

The Festival’s productions of Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Rent, and The Three Musketeers  all continue into October. They’re joined by Where We Belong, a co-production of OSF and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in association with the Folger. The stunning, lustrous solo show, written and originally performed by award-winning thespian Madeline Sayet, follows Mohegan theatre-maker Achokayis, who moves to England in 2015 to pursue a PhD in Shakespeare, grappling with the question of what it means to remain or leave, as the Brexit vote threatens to further disengage the UK from the wider world. Moving between nations that have failed to reckon with their ongoing roles in colonialism, Achokayis finds comfort in the journeys of their Native ancestors who had to cross the ocean in the 1700s to help their people. In this intimate and exhilarating solo piece directed by Mei Ann Teo, Sayet asks us what it means to belong in an increasingly globalized world. After its time at OSF, the show returns to Washington, DC, for a run at Folger Theatre, beginning in February, 2024.

Lindsay Welliver and Stephanie Roman in Cymbeline, Seattle Shakespeare. Photo by John Ulman.

Seattle Shakespeare

The Merry Wives of Windsor begins October 25 at Seattle Shakespeare. Theater-maker Eddie DeHais directs a queer adaptation of this rowdy, raucous, unruly romp featuring some of Shakespeare’s most clever and comic characters, creating a Merry Wives that will feel farcically familiar while examining the stickiness of conflicting personalities and viewpoints in a small town.

Photo attached. It’s from our production of Cymbeline last summer, but I think it’s probably the best one we’ve got that captures the vibe of the show. If you use it, caption is: Lindsay Welliver and Stephanie Roman in Cymbeline. Photo by John Ulman.

Shakespeare Dallas

King Lear, September 13 – October 15, rounds out Shakespeare Dallas’s 51st season.

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s season kicks off in Madison, NJ with Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, beginning September 13. It’s followed by Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasonsbeginning October 18, and The Dragon King, November 4, a production for young audiences by the Tanglewood Marionettes. As fall slips into winter, join the theater for A Midwinter Night’s Dreama holly-jolly “re-seasoning” of Shakespeare’s Midsummer by Bonnie J. Monte and Joseph Discher.

Southwest Shakespeare Company

Macbeth comes to Mesa, AZ beginning October 13. Then, beginning November 3 and fresh on the heels of performing her one-woman living memoir at Lincoln Center, Debra Ann Byrd brings Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey to the Southwest Shakespeare stage. Fearlessly exploring her upbringing in Spanish Harlem and life as a single mother and artist, Byrd weaves her personal struggles and triumphs through her acclaimed, gender-switched performance as the Moor of Venice.

See photos St. Louis Shakespeare Festival staffmembers’ youth soccer careers on the Festival’s website.

St. Louis Shakespeare Festival

Shakespeare’s Henriad trilogy and soccer stories from the St. Louis community inspired the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s world-premiere play Shakespeare in the Streets: The Game’s Afoot, written by Ben Hochman, award-winning St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports columnist. The three-night celebration takes place on Olive Street near the intersection of 22nd in Downtown St. Louis on September 14, 15, and 16.

Shakespeare in the Streets is a grassroots theatrical experience that invites St. Louis neighborhoods to tell their stories. A Festival-selected creative team leads the neighborhood—or, in this case, soccer fans across the city—in developing an original play based on one of Shakespeare’s works with themes that reflect the community’s character.

Residents contribute to all aspects of the production, from story development to live performance. The result is a weekend-long celebration of their collective effort, with three live, outdoor performances. Free and open to the public, these performances unite the neighborhood and introduce it as a creative force to the greater St. Louis area.

Before you go to this year’s show, visit the Festival’s website to see photos from their staff’s youth soccer careers.

Theatre for a New Audience

On September 15,  Prometheus Firebringer  begins Theatre for a New Audience’s 2023/24 season. “What shall I do?” is a question at the heart of every Greek tragedy, observes philosopher Simon Critchley. When there are no good options, when every course of action comes with unbearable costs, how do you choose? This question inspires this new lecture-performance by Annie Dorsen, which continues her exploration of the ambiguous impacts of technology.

In ancient Greek mythology, Prometheus stole the gods’ fire to give it to humans—sparking sudden and dramatic advances in technology and the arts, and dramatic new sources of conflict. His story is told in the 2,500-year-old Prometheia trilogy attributed to Aeschylus, of which only Prometheus Bound remains in full.

In Prometheus Firebringer, Dorsen uses the predictive text model GPT-3.5 (the same model that runs ChatGPT) to generate speculative versions of the missing story. Each night a chorus of AI-generated Greek masks performs a different iteration, while Dorsen engages the audience in reflections on power, knowledge, and doubt.

The season continues with Waiting for Godotbeginning November 4 and featuring Michael Shannon as Estragon and Paul Sparks as Vladimir. The production is directed by Arin Arbus.

Elijah Alexander as Timon in the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s production of Timon of Athens. Photo by Karl Hugh. Copyright Utah Shakespeare Festival 2023.

Utah Shakespeare Festival

There’s still lots to see in Cedar City as the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s season continues into the fall. Coriolanus, Timon of Athens, a musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, and The Play That Goes Wrong all continue performances through October 5.

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

Theatricum Botanicum’s season continues into the fall with Macbeth (through September 23), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (through September 21), and Queen Margaret’s Version of Shakespeare’s War of the Rosesa new production running through October 1 that draws from Henry VI Parts I, II, III, and Richard III and centers on Queen Margaret and the women and children of Shakespeare’s civil war saga. Terrence McNally’s A Perfect Ganesh continues through October 7.

September kicks off Theatricum’s Under the Oaks concert series, Friday evenings throughout the month. This September features a tribute to Leonard Cohen, performances of music by Schönberg, Mendelssohn, Messiaen, and Juri Seo, and more. As the summer season comes to a close, join Theatricum for the Americana Harvest Festival on October 8. Welcome in autumn with some folk and country fun for the whole family. The celebration raises funds for the 2023 50th Anniversary Repertory Season, and includes special events, activities, and treats all day long.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival, American Players Theatre, Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, The Curtain, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Shakespeare, Shakespeare Dallas, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Southwest Shakespeare Company, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, Theatre for a New Audience, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum are members of the Folger’s Theater Partnership Program.