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Shakespeare & Beyond

What's onstage at Shakespeare theaters in January

A Comedy of Errors at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company.

Nicholas Hoop, Ruth Mary Charleston, Chris Hecke, Mary Ruth Ralston in The Comedy of Errors at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company. Photo: Daniel Parvis.

This January, new productions kick off at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Plus, streaming productions of Macbeth, a podcast returns, and a new audio play. Keep reading to find out our theater partners have onstage to kick 2022.

Two sets of twins, one case of mistaken identity, and a nun walk onto the stage. It’s not the start of a joke; it’s The Comedy of Errors at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, onstage through February 6. After The Comedy of Errors ends its run, don’t miss the company’s 20th anniversary production of Romeo and Julietbeginning February 10.

Torie Wiggins as Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.

At the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom opens January 21. Esteemed Blues singer Ma Rainey, a Black woman determined to maintain autonomy within her art and life, joins her band for a fraught recording session in 1927 Chicago. Young professionals in the Queen City-area can check out the company’s YP Preview Nights for a Wednesday preview of the show, a free drink, and a post-show talkback with the artistic team.

Andrew Zox, Cleo House, Jr., and Eric Hissom (The Weird Sisters), Macbeth, conceived and directed by Teller and Aaron Posner, Folger Theatre in a co-production with Two River Theater Company, 2008. Carol Pratt.

Joel Coen’s new film adaptation of Macbethwith Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, comes to Apple TV+ this month, but if you aren’t sold on shelling out for another streaming service, you can watch Folger Theatre and Two River Theater’s 2008 production of Macbeth on YouTube for free. The funny, bloody, magical production is co-directed by Aaron Posner and Teller of Penn & Teller.

That’s not all that the Folger has in store this month. Traci Thomas, host of The Stacks podcast, joined us live on Instagram for the Shakespeare Lightning Round January 12. Catch up now with the recording: we talk about her three year Shakespeare Challenge and Traci answers our thirty lightning-fast Shakespeare questions.

Register to watch the Folger’s free Not Just Another Day Off program, available virtually January 17 – 24. In this annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, award-winning poet John Murillo reads from his work and actors recite historic speeches from Dr. King, Malcolm X, and many others.

Shakespeare Dallas’s Shakespeare Decoded podcast returns today for its second season. The podcast explores the social issues of William Shakespeare’s day that remain burning issues in today’s global society. The new season’s first episode, “Shakespeare in Modern Translation,” features Lue Douthit, Founder and Creative Director of Play On Shakespeare.

This month, Theatricum Botanicum is excited to share their recording of What Men Live By, Leo Tolstoy’s beautiful and timely story, adapted into an audio play by Willow Geer. The recording will be exclusively available the company’s supporters as a token of thanks: to make a gift, visit and a staff member will follow up with a link. Plus check out classes for all ages, including a masterclass with Ellen Geer and a youth fencing course.

Looking forward to February: The Merchant of Venicedirected by Arin Arbus and starring John Douglas Thompson as Shylock, begins at Theatre for a New Audience on February 6. A co-production with the Shakespeare Theatre Company, the show comes to Washington, DC starting March 22.

Tamieka Chavis as Lena (Mama) Younger and Gerrad Alex Taylor as Walter Lee Younger in A Raisin in The Sun at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. Photo: Jesús López Photography.

In Baltimore, the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company opens Loraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun on February 4. “As classical theatres across the world continue to explore and expand the inclusivity of narratives showcased on their stages, I think that there is no better time to bring this powerfully important work to CSC audiences,” says Gerrad Alex Taylor, who serves as  the company’s Associate Artistic Director and Walter Lee Younger. “In our continued effort to serve the state of Maryland, as its leading producer of classical theatre, we cannot forget the canon of classic dramatic literature from the perspectives of communities we directly serve, or we run the risk of serving no one.”

Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare Dallas, Theatricum Botanicum, and Theatre for a New Audience are members of the Folger’s Theater Partnership Program