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Shakespeare & Beyond

What's Onstage at Shakespeare Theaters in February

February is a short month, but there’s still lots to see before it’s over. Keep reading to see what the Folger’s Shakespeare theater partners across the United States are up to this month. Then, tell us what you’re looking forward to seeing onstage in the comments!

Here at Folger Theatre, Madeline Sayet’s Where We Belong is onstage through March 10. In 2015, Mohegan theater-maker Madeline Sayet travels to England to pursue a PhD in Shakespeare, where she finds a country that refuses to acknowledge its ongoing role in colonialism just as the Brexit vote threatens to further disengage the UK from the wider world. In this stirring solo piece, Madeline echoes a journey to England braved by her Native ancestors in the 1700s following treaty betrayals—and forces us to consider what it means to belong in an increasingly globalized world.

Following its world premiere in June 2021—presented by Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and the Folger—Where We Belong has enjoyed a successful national tour, with performances at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, The Public Theater, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and others.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival

The soul of the blues wails out full and strong in Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s Blues in the Night, a scorching, Tony-nominated musical continuing in Mntgomery through March 3. The show’s 26 hot and torchy numbers tell of the sweet, sexy, and sorrowful experiences three women have with the lying, cheating snake of a man who does them wrong. Glorious songs from Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Alberta Hunter, Jimmy Cox, Ida Cox, and more tell of the pain and misery of life and love—and the dogged determination to get through it all—that is the essence of the blues.

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

The Orestia is onstage through March 10 at Baltimore’s Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. Ellen McLaughlin’s riveting adaptation of Aeschylus’s classic Greek tragedy focuses on the complex cycle of vengeance within the family of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. In a world where political power and the ancient forces of destiny collide, The Oresteia asks if justice is even possible. A play about the beginning of democracy from the beginning of democracy.

Yao Dogbe as the Duke of Buckingham and Katy Sullivan as Richard III in Richard III, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 2024. Photo: Liz Lauren.
King Edward IV (Demetrios Troy), the Princes (puppeteered by Mark Bedard and Mo Shipley), Queen Elizabeth (Jessica Dean Turner), Rivers (Sean Fortunato), and Clarence (Scott Aiello), in Richard III, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 2024. Photo: Liz Lauren.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Richard III is onstage now through March 3 at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Tony nominee, Paralympic champion, and bilateral above-knee amputee Katy Sullivan makes her Chicago Shakes debut in Edward Hall’s first production as artistic director. The Chiacago Tribune calls this production—the first major US production to feature a woman with a disability in the title role—”highly arresting and courageous,” with an “intoxicating” performance by Sullivan.

Shakespeare at Notre Dame

Shakespeare at Notre Dame’s Actors From The London Stage returns to the road with a brand new staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, touring colleges and universities across the United States through March. As the month continues, look out for performances in Oswego, NY; Burlington, VT; and Austin, TX. In March, the tour wraps up with engagements in Glendora, CA, and Florence, AL.

Theatre for a New Audience

There’s still time to see smash hit Public Obscenities at Brooklyn’s Theatre for a New Audience, where the production, co-presented with DC’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, has been extended to February 25. Written and directed by Shayok Misha Chowdhury, Public Obscenities explores the pleasures and pitfalls of living in translation as it follows a queer studies PhD student returning to his family home in Kolkata with his Black American boyfriend.

Watch: Playwright and director Shayok Misha Chowdhury reflects on the stories that inspired Public Obscenities.

Off Square Theatre Company

In Jackson, WY, Off Square Theatre Company’s 2024 Thieme Youth Musical is Oliver!  Catch Jackson’s youth on the main stage in Lionel Bart’s classic musical based on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, performing February 23 and 24.

(From left) Pooya Mohseni, Tara Grammy, Ari Derambakhsh, Joe Joseph, and Mary Apick in The Old Globe’s production of English. Photo: Rich Soublet II.
The cast of The Age of Innocence, The Old Globe, 2024. Photo by Jim Cox.

The Old Globe

Catch two shows this month at San Diego’s The Old Globe. Sanaz Toossi’s Pulitzer Prize-winning English is onstage until February 25. In a classroom near Tehran, four adult students prepare for an English proficiency exam. They each have a reason for being there: a chance at opportunity, access, or a new calling. But as they bond over this new way to express themselves, they also grapple with the lives they must leave behind.

Through March 10, catch Karen Zacarías’s Globe-commissioned world premiere adaptation of Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence. Love clashes with Gilded Age high society in this lush period production.

There’s more to come: A Cavs-crazy friendship plays out across the span of LeBron James’s career in Rajiv Joseph’s King James, beginning in March.

Looking ahead:

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

On March 1, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company embarks on a riveting journey with a modern take on Julius Caesar, set in the cutthroat world of contemporary Rome. Directed by Producing Artistic Director Brian Isaac Phillips, this explosive production explores the ruthless realm of Roman politics.

Frances Domingos, Ava Maag, and Micaela Davis in San Francisco Shakespeare Festival's touring production of ‘As You Like It. Photo by Neal Ormond.

San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s touring production of As You Like It is playing at schools across the region now. Check their website soon for public performances starting in March.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Off Square Theatre Company, The Old Globe, Shakespeare At Notre Dame, Theatre for a New Audience, and San Francisco Shakespeare Festival are members of the Folger’s Theatre Partnership Program.