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Shakespeare & Beyond

What's onstage at Shakespeare theaters in March

The cast of Hamlet at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.

Take a look at what the Folger’s theater partners have on stage this March, including a long-awaited Hamlet in Cincinnati, Much Ado About Nothing in Atlanta, and The Merchant of Venice, with John Douglas Thompson, coming to Washington, DC.

Kirstin Calvert and Nicholas Faircloth as Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company. Photo: Jeff Watkins

Much Ado About Nothing is onstage at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company’s Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse through April 3. Will Benedick, the ever-confirmed bachelor, admit his love for the equally witty and equally independent Beatrice? Will the young lovers Claudio and Hero survive the devious meddling of others? And what do you want to bet there will be two weddings in the end?

Sara Clark (Hamlet) and Cary Davenport (Marcellus) in Hamlet at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company continues the run of Hamlet through March 20, with the Company’s Sara Clark in the titular role and media design by Brave Berlin, the creative masterminds behind BLINK, Cincinnati’s visual arts festival. Hamlet sold out last weekend, so don’t wait to get your tickets to its final performances this weekend.

After the skulls and swords of Hamlet, the company brings slap-stick, shenanigans, and a Sin City twist to the stage with The Comedy of Errors, opening April 8. Young professionals can catch a YP Preview Night on Wednesday, April 6. YP’s can learn more here.

Catch public performances of Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s Abbreviated Shakespeare Educational Experiences this weekend at the Williamson County Performing Arts Center. The series features performances of Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, all clocking in at 75 minutes or less.

The Merchant of Venice at Theatre for a New Audience, directed by Arin Arbus, with John Douglas Thompson and Alfredo Narciso. Photo: Henry Grossman.

The Southwest Shakespeare Company’s productions of The Tempest and Claire Von Kampen’s Farinelli and the King both close this weekend at the Mesa Arts Center.

March 18 – 20 and 25 – 27, the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival hosts its second Confluence New Play Festival, with six staged readings of new plays from its 2020 – 2021 Confluence Regional Writers Project cohort. Founded in 2018, Confluence commissions new works from Missouri and Illinois playwrights and works to develop a culture of playwriting throughout the Midwest.

Theatre for a New Audience and the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s co-production of The Merchant of Venice comes to Washington, DC starting March 22. Directed by Arin Arbus, the production features John Douglas Thompson as Shylock. Last week, we talked with actor Shirine Babb, who plays Nerissa, about how the production has changed the way she understands the play. Watch our conversation now on Instagram.

Folger Theatre returns to in-person performance March 16 with Nathan the Wisein association with Theatre J. Michael Bloom’s smart new adaptation of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s 1779 play is a Shakespeare-styled script chock full of mistaken identities, foiled romances, and relationships across cultural and religious divides. In 12th-century Jerusalem, Jews, Christians, and Muslims live side by side in peace—or so they hope. As tensions rise, the ruling sultan asks: “Which religion is the one most beloved by G-d?” Lives, and the future of Jerusalem itself, are on the line as the brilliant Jewish merchant Nathan seeks an answer.

If you’ve seen enough Shakespeare and are ready to step onstage, our theater partners also offer classes and audition opportunities this spring. In honor of their 40th Anniversary Season, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival offers a series of pay-what-you-can virtual master classes. Acquire a new skill or level up one you already have: These interactive sessions are suitable for theater practitioners as well as those curious about the craft and technique of acting. Topics include monologue technique, physical theater, gender expression through voice training, and playwriting.

Early next month, Detroit students ages 14 – 18 can audition for Shakespeare in Detroit’s Summer 2022 Conservatory production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In addition to rehearsing the play, students engage in intensive study of voice and text, dance, dramaturgy, costume design, and other vocational and artistic pillars, ultimately resulting in a filmed production of Midsummer. Students who complete the conservatory program receive a $1,000 grant, supported by the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation.

Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare in Detroit, Southwest Shakespeare Company, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, and Theatre for a New Audience are members of the Folger’s Theater Partnership Program.