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Folger Shakespeare Library: Shakespeare Unlimited

Literature

Home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare materials. Advancing knowledge and the arts. Discover it all at www.folger.edu. Shakespeare turns up in the most interesting places—not just literature and the stage, but science and social history as well. Our "Shakespeare Unlimited" podcast explores the fascinating and varied connections between Shakespeare, his works, and the world around us.

Location:

Washington, D.C.

Description:

Home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare materials. Advancing knowledge and the arts. Discover it all at www.folger.edu. Shakespeare turns up in the most interesting places—not just literature and the stage, but science and social history as well. Our "Shakespeare Unlimited" podcast explores the fascinating and varied connections between Shakespeare, his works, and the world around us.

Language:

English

Contact:

201 East Capitol Street, SE Washington, DC 20003 2025544600


Episodes

Shakespeare and Disgust, with Bradley J. Irish

2/13/2024
Maybe there really was something rotten in Denmark. On this episode, we talk with Bradley J. Irish about disgust in Shakespeare. In his new book, Irish identifies the emotion, which combines physical revulsion and moral outrage, as one of the central thematic emotions in Shakespeare’s plays. In his close readings across the canon, Irish finds disgust everywhere: in Caius Martius Coriolanus’s disdain for ordinary Romans, in the over-indulgent food Antony eats in Egypt, in Henry IV’s preoccupation with sickness and disease in Henry IV, and beyond. Bradley Irish is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. Bradley J. Irish is a professor at Arizona State University. Shakespeare and Disgust: The History and Science of Early Modern Revulsion is out now from Bloomsbury Publishing. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published February 13, 2024. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits a transcript of every episode, available at folger.edu. We had technical help from Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:34:30

Rita Dove on Shakespeare and Her Poem of Welcome for the Folger

1/30/2024
When the Folger reopens on June 21 and you come to take a walk in our new west garden, look down at the garden bed. There, you'll see a new poem, written for the Folger by US Poet Laureate emerita Rita Dove. This week, she joins us on the podcast to read that poem aloud for the first time. Plus, Dove reflects on how writing for marble is different from writing for the page, and remembers the moment she discovered Shakespeare. Rita Dove is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. Rita Dove served as the US Poet Laureate for two terms, from 1993 to 1995, and as a special bicentennial consultant to the Library of Congress in 1999. Her third collection of poetry, Thomas and Beulah, won the Pulitzer Prize. She is the only poet ever to receive both the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of the Arts, from presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. In 2021, she received the Gold Medal for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters—the first African American poet in the medal’s history. She teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Dove has also read in the Folger's O.B. Hardison Poetry series four times, and contributed a poem to our 2012 collection Shakespeare’s Sisters: Women Writers Bridge Five Centuries. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published January 30, 2024. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits a transcript of every episode, available at folger.edu. We had technical help from With Good Reason, Virginia Humanities, and Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:37:06

John Guy And Julia Fox on Their New Biography of Anne Boleyn

1/16/2024
Even after appearing in a Shakespeare play, historical romance novels, a Broadway musical, and prestige TV dramas, there's still more to learn about Anne Boleyn. A new biography by the team of husband-and-wife historians John Guy and Julia Fox takes a scholarly look at the evidence surrounding Anne’s rise and fall. They freshly examine well-known accounts, and also take in passing references in neglected sources. In particular, they focus on Anne’s years of training in the courts of Europe, which shaped her into the formidable woman whom Henry VIII came to regard as an intellectual equal. It also prepared her for the ruthless politics of the English court, where Anne’s ambition and cunning won her some powerful enemies. Fox and Guy are interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. John Guy is a fellow at Cambridge University and a Tudor historian who has appeared on many TV and radio documentaries about the period. He’s written biographies of Henry VIII, Thomas More, and Queen Elizabeth I. His biography of Mary Queen of Scots was adapted into a film in 2018. Julia Fox has written biographies of Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and Anne’s sister, Jane Boleyn. Hunting the Falcon: Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and the Marriage That Shook Europe is out now from Harper. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published January 16, 2024. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits our transcripts. We had technical help from Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:33:44

David and Ben Crystal Share Shakespeare Quotations for Your Everyday Life

1/2/2024
Shakespeare has the perfect lines for riding into battle or stumbling around a stormy heath. But does he have the right stuff to take us on a daily commute or a trip to the grocery store? On this episode, David and Ben Crystal join us to talk about their new book, "Everyday Shakespeare: Lines for Life," which offers daily Shakespeare quotes you can apply to everyday life. The Crystals—David is a linguist, Ben is an actor—are the father-son duo behind the "Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary"; "Shakespeare´s Words: A Glossary and Language Companion"; and "The Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation." We talk to them about which quotations they included, why they chose to skip the typical contextual notes, and how you can improve your memory for Shakespeare’s words. "Everyday Shakespeare: Lines for Life" is available now from Chambers Books. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published January 2, 2024. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits our transcripts. We had technical help from Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:35:13

What Happened to the Princes in the Tower, with Philippa Langley

12/19/2023
The most unforgivable crime in Richard III has to be when the king orders the murder of his two young nephews, Edward and Richard. But what if Richard III was framed? Philippa Langley is the amateur historian whose commitment to righting a historical wrong led to the discovery of Richard III’s remains a decade ago. Langley wasn’t a scholar—she was a screenwriter and a member of the Richard III Society. But she had become certain that Richard was the victim of Tudor propaganda, and that Shakespeare’s play had a key role in the slander. Langley convinced academic historians and archaeologists at the University of Leicester to excavate the parking lot where she believed Richard was buried. Those experts did find a body, and DNA analysis confirmed that the remains belonged to Richard III. That discovery led to further insights about the historical Richard. The physical deformities of Shakespeare’s character were Tudor inventions. Far from being a “bunch-backed toad,” the real Richard III had nothing more than a case of scoliosis. Since discovering the body in 2012, Philippa Langley and a team of collaborators have worked on cleaning up Richard’s reputation. Her new book, The Princes in the Tower, examines Richard’s most famous alleged crime: the murder of his two nephews, the sons of Edward IV. Investigating their disappearance as a 500-year-old cold case, Langley uncovers evidence that the princes survived Richard III’s reign… and points to another suspect for their eventual deaths. Langley talks with Barbara Bogaev about tracking down two of history's most famous missing persons. Philippa Langley's new book, The Princes in the Tower: Solving History’s Greatest Cold Case, is out now from Pegasus Books. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published December 19, 2023. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits our transcripts. We had technical help from Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:33:25

Will Somer: Peter K. Andersson on Henry VIII's Court Fool

12/5/2023
What comes to mind when you think about a "court jester?" What if we told you that fools in the Tudor court didn’t look or sound anything like the zany clowns you have in mind? Historians don’t know much about Will Somer. We know he was Henry VIII’s court fool, but the details of his biography—and, crucially, his comedy—were never recorded. By Shakespeare’s time, Somer had become famous. Whenever a poet or playwright needed to reference a long-lost comedy great, they’d name-check Will Somer—kind of like mentioning Charlie Chaplin or Groucho Marx today. But unlike Chaplin or Groucho, none of Somer's jokes survived. So later writers just made them up, inventing a comedian to suit their own tastes. Peter K. Andersson’s new biography of Somer, "Fool: In Search of Henry the 8th’s Closest Man," digs through the layers of fiction that accumulated over the centuries to reveal is a fool very different from anything we might recognize from King Lear or Twelfth Night. We ask Andersson what we know about Somer, how he became a celebrity, and how people with intellectual disabilities were treated in the 16th century. Peter K. Andersson is a historian at Sweden's Örebro University. "Fool: In Search of Henry the 8th’s Closest Man" is available from Princeton University Press. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published December 5, 2023. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits our transcripts. We had technical help from Frida Anund in Sweden and Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:31:20

Isabelle Schuler on Lady Macbeth and Queen Hereafter

11/21/2023
Isabelle Schuler’s debut novel Queen Hereafter attempts to fill in a backstory for Lady Macbeth. The book takes place in 11th century Scotland, where a king’s reign tended to be short and brutal. For her version of Lady M, Schuler didn’t rely on Shakespeare or his source material, Holinshed’s Chronicles. Instead, she looked to the annals and sagas that predate Holinshed. There, Schuler found Gruoch, who married Macbethad (the historical Macbeth) after her first husband died. Schuler talks with Barbara Bogaev about how she filled in the gaps of Shakespeare's tragedy. Queen Hereafter is available now from Harper Perennial. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published November 21, 2023. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits a transcript of every episode, available at folger.edu. We had technical help from Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:30:58

400 Years of Shakespeare's First Folio, with Emma Smith

11/7/2023
The First Folio—the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays—hit bookstores 400 years ago this November. Emma Smith of Oxford University tells us just what this famous book has been up to for the past four centuries. We explore notable collectors like Sir Edward Dering and our founders, Emily and Henry Folger; how the 18th-century slave trade supercharged the book’s value; how the 235 extant copies scattered across the world; and much more. Emma Smith is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. Emma Smith teaches Shakespeare at Oxford University and is the author of Shakespeare's First Folio: Four Centuries of an Iconic Book. A new edition is available now from Oxford University Press. Smith is also leading a year-long scholarly program for the Folger Institute called “Next Gen Editing.” From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published November 7, 2023. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits our transcripts. We had technical help from VoiceTrax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:29:22

The Bloomsbury Group and Shakespeare, with Marjorie Garber

10/24/2023
We talk with Harvard Professor Marjorie Garber about how modernist writers of London’s Bloomsbury Group made Shakespeare their own. Garber’s most recent book—her twentieth—is Shakespeare in Bloomsbury. In it, she traces the influence of Shakespeare on the members of the Bloomsbury Group, that circle of early 20th-century intellectuals included novelists Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster, painter Vanessa Bell, director Dadie Rylands, critic and biographer Lytton Strachey, economist John Maynard Keynes, and others. She tells Barbara Bogaev about the threads of Shakespeare that run through Woolf’s novels, how Lytton Strachey changed our perspective on Shakespeare’s late plays, and what got her interested in the Bloomsbury Group in the first place. Marjorie Garber is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English and Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. Shakespeare in Bloomsbury is available from Yale University Press. Garber is the inaugural Scholar in Residence of Washington, DC’s Shakespeare Everywhere Festival, happening across the city this fall. Join Garber in-person for five free public lectures through November 16. Learn more at shakespeareeverywheredc.com.

Duration:00:31:05

Patrick Stewart on a Life Shaped by Shakespeare

10/10/2023
Sir Patrick Stewart joins us on the podcast to talk about how Shakespeare has shaped his life. Stewart tells host Barbara Bogaev about his Yorkshire youth, his audition for the Royal Shakespeare Company, playing Starfleet Captain Jen-Luc Picard, and more. Stewart's memoir, "Making It So," is available now from Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. From the Folger’s Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published October 10, 2023. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leo Fernandez edits our transcripts. We had technical help from Ngofeen Mputubwele in New York and Andrew Feliciano at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:31:34

Michael Patrick Thornton on Learning to Breathe Again with Shakespeare

9/26/2023
Sometimes, the beauty of Shakespeare’s poetry takes your breath away. In the case of today’s guest, Shakespeare gave him his breath back. You may recognize actor Michael Patrick Thornton from his roles on TV series like Private Practice and The Good Doctor. Twenty years ago, Thornton had just started out in his acting career when he suffered two spinal strokes that nearly ended his life. He survived, but the strokes took away his ability to breathe and speak. A speech therapist helped Thornton find his way back to breath control… by reciting Shakespeare. He talks with Barbara Bogaev about learning to breathe again with the Bard. Michael Patrick Thornton is the co-founder and former artistic director of The Gift Theatre in Chicago. He’s played Iago at the Gift, and Richard III in a co-production with Steppenwolf Theatre. Recently, he appeared on Broadway in Sam Gold’s 2022 production of Macbeth starring Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga and in the Tony-nominated Broadway production of A Doll’s House. From the Folger’s Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published September 26, 2023. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leo Fernandez edits our transcripts. We had technical help from Daniel Roth in Chicago and Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:29:58

The Many Lives of John Donne with Katherine Rundell

9/12/2023
We talk with author Katherine Rundell about the extraordinary life —or should we say lives? — of John Donne, who wrote some of the 17th century’s most complex and intellectually dazzling poetry. Rundell, a fellow at All Souls College, Oxford and the author of Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne takes us through Donne’s evolution from hotshot poet to penniless prisoner to rock star preacher. Rundell has also written six novels for children, a book for adults about children’s books, and a nonfiction book about the wonder of animals called The Golden Mole. Her latest fantasy novel, Impossible Creatures, comes out in September 2023.

Duration:00:34:28

Shakespeare and the Ocean, with Steve Mentz

8/29/2023
Today, we sail the seven seas with Shakespeare. In addition to being a dedicated swimmer, Steve Mentz is a professor at St. John’s University. His books, including 2009’s At the Bottom of Shakespeare’s Ocean, connect literary criticism with marine ecology. Mentz talks with Barbara Bogaev about Shakespeare’s oceanic metaphors, how much Shakespeare really knew about the ocean, and what plays like The Tempest, King Lear, and Twelfth Night can teach us as we face rising sea levels and more destructive storms. Steve Mentz is a Professor of English at St. John’s University. His new book, An Introduction to the Blue Humanities, is out now from Routledge. He is a former Folger fellow and a frequent participant in the Folger Institute’s scholarly programs. From the Folger’s Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published August 29, 2023. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leo Fernandez edits a transcript of every episode, available at folger.edu. We had technical help from Robert Scaramuccia in New Haven and Jenna McClelland at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:33:18

Farah Karim-Cooper on The Great White Bard

8/15/2023
Can you love Shakespeare and be an antiracist? Farah Karim-Cooper's new book, The Great White Bard, explores the language of race and difference in plays such as Antony and Cleopatra, Titus Andronicus, and The Tempest. Karim-Cooper also looks at the ways Shakespeare’s work became integral to Britain’s imperial project, and its sense of cultural superiority. But for all this, Karim-Cooper is an unapologetic Shakespeare fan. It's right there in the subtitle of her book: "How to Love Shakespeare While Talking about Race." Far from casting Shakespeare out of the classroom or playhouse, Karim-Cooper shows new ways to appreciate him. And, by drawing connections between the plays and current events, she offers an eyes-wide-open tour of Shakespeare’s continued relevance. Karim-Cooper talks with Barbara Bogaev about the role of race in Titus Andronicus, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, and more. Listen to Shakespeare Unlimited on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Soundcloud, or wherever you get your podcasts. Farah Karim-Cooper is a professor of Shakespeare studies at King’s College, London, and a director of education at Shakespeare’s Globe theater. The Great White Bard is available now from Viking Press. From the Folger’s Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published August 15, 2023. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leo Fernandez edits our transcripts. We had technical help from Mark Dezzani in Surrey and Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:32:18

Isabella Hammad on Enter Ghost

8/1/2023
A Palestinian production of Hamlet in the West Bank is the backdrop for Isabella Hammad’s new novel, Enter Ghost. Hammad’s first novel, the beautiful and sprawling The Parisian, won international acclaim in 2019. Granta included Hammad in its decennial “Best of Young British Novelists” list earlier this year. The narrator of Hammad’s new novel is Sonia, a British Palestinian actress who visits her sister in Israel to recover from the end of an affair. Despite wanting to take a break from the stage, Sonia gets roped into playing Gertrude in a production of Hamlet being mounted in the West Bank. Sonia’s fellow actors read Hamlet as an allegory for the Palestinian struggle. While Sonia resists their interpretation, she uncovers ghosts of her own—repressed memories, a family history of resistance, and a newly discovered commitment to the Palestinian cause. Despite the novel’s contemporary setting and political themes, Hammad never lets her characters’ trenchant views overwhelm the complex beauty of her storytelling. Isabella Hammad is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. Enter Ghost is available now from Grove Atlantic Press. From our Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published August 1, 2023. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits our transcripts. We had technical help from Andrew Feliciano at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:32:39

Mat Osman's The Ghost Theatre Imagines the Lives of Elizabethan London's Child Actors

7/18/2023
Mat Osman's new novel, The Ghost Theatre, takes us flying over the rooftops of Elizabethan London and down into the gritty lives of its child actors. A historical novel set in a vibrant and sensuously reimagined Elizabethan London, the book's main character is Shay, the daughter of a clairvoyant who lives among a community who worship birds. When Shay meets a charming young actor named Nonesuch, she is drawn into the world of the children’s theater—that is, a theater whose actors and crew are all made up of young people, performing for an audience made of primarily of adults. Shay falls in love with performance and joins an immersive guerrilla theater troupe that gets tangled up in a violent political power struggle. Osman is more famous as the bass player in the British rock band Suede. To get the texture of Elizabethan life right in The Ghost Theatre, Osman researched as much as he could at the margins of history. Osman tells Barbara Bogaev about how he explored his young actors' lives, invented an early modern religious sect, and how his long career as a rock musician helped him write the novel.

Duration:00:31:37

Adrian Lester on Playing Rosalind, Henry V, Othello, and Hamlet

7/4/2023
We could listen to Adrian Lester talk about acting all day… but he's a busy man, so we’ll settle for this 37 minute episode. The actor joins us to discuss some of his most famous performances, including Rosalind in Cheek by Jowl’s acclaimed 1991 all-male As You Like It, Hamlet with Peter Brook, and Henry V and Othello with Nicholas Hytner. Plus, Lester takes us back to his childhood in Birmingham and tells us about his patronage of the Everything to Everybody project and the Birmingham Shakespeare Library. Lester is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. Visit our website, folger.edu/unlimited, to learn more about Everything to Everybody and see video of Lester's performance in "As You Like It." From our Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published July 4, 2023. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits our transcripts. We had technical help from Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:36:55

Greg Doran on Forty Years of Directing Shakespeare

6/20/2023
On today’s episode, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s former Artistic Director takes a look back at four decades of staging Shakespeare. Greg Doran’s career as a Shakespearean director began in the late 1970s, when he was a teenager. By the time he stepped down as the Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company earlier this year, Doran had directed every play in the First Folio, capping off the feat with an acclaimed production of Cymbeline. In between, Doran helmed era-defining productions of Shakespeare’s plays and worked with actors such as Judi Dench, David Tennant, Patrick Stewart, and the late Antony Sher, to whom Doran was married. Doran’s new memoir, My Shakespeare, tells the story of his life through the plays he has directed. It’s a portrait of an artist at work, shot through with commentary about the plays themselves and insights about working with actors. It’s also an intimate account of Doran’s deep artistic partnership with Tony Sher. Greg Doran is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. My Shakespeare: A Director’s Journey Through the First Folio, is available from Methuen Drama. From our Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published June 20, 2023. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits our transcripts. We had technical help from Melvin Rickarby in Stratford and Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:35:44

David West Read on & Juliet

6/6/2023
Start with Shakespeare’s "star-crossed" lovers and fold in the songs of Swedish pop hitmaker Max Martin… what do you get? The hit Broadway musical & Juliet, currently running at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in New York and nominated for nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical. The show imagines what would happen if Juliet woke up after Romeo’s death and decided not to end it all. Instead, she goes on a trip to Paris with some new friends, including Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway. Juliet discovers that Romeo isn’t really dead… but he’s also not exactly boyfriend material. And every so often, the characters break into song with Max Martin’s hits for Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, and Katy Perry. The writer behind this mash-up is David West Read. He previously served as writer and executive producer of the comedy series Schitt’s Creek, and he created The Big Door Prize and the forthcoming Brother from Another Mother, both running on AppleTV+. Host Barbara Bogaev talks with Read about & Juliet… and the concussion that inspired it. Get tickets to & Juliet here, and tune in to the Tonys broadcast on Sunday, June 11 at 8 pm ET on CBS. From our Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published June 6, 2023. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits our transcripts. We had technical help from Claire Reynolds in Atlanta and Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:29:20

Robert O'Hara on Directing Richard III

5/23/2023
Robert O’Hara joins us to talk about directing last year’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Richard III, starring Danai Gurira of Marvel's "Black Panther." He tells us about gathering a diverse cast of actors with disabilities, wanting to “trigger” his audiences, and what it’s like to get a call about directing Shakespeare in the Park (spoiler: it’s a whirlwind). Robert O’Hara is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. A film of Richard III premiered on PBS’s Great Performances on Friday, May 19, and is streaming now on the PBS App and at pbs.org/gperf. Robert O’Hara is a two-time Obie Award and two-time NAACP Award Winner whose work has been seen around the country. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his direction of Jeremy O. Harris’s Slave Play. From our Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published May 23, 2023. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits our transcripts. We had technical help from CDM Studios in New York and Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

Duration:00:33:42