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Celebrating the Bard on Broadway

Celebrating the Bard on Broadway

Today is William Shakespeare’s birthday, but you don’t have to be a fan to enjoy the day. Everyone should commemorate it. See my article, We Should All Celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday, to find out why. The article also includes some ways you can celebrate. One way is to head to New York to enjoy the Bard on Broadway.

The Bard on Broadway Over the Years

The term Broadway applies to the 41 professional theaters clustered around Times Square in Midtown Manhattan. The Internet Broadway Database (IBDB) lists performances in New York as far back as the mid-1700s, but theaters didn’t start congregating in the Times Square area until the mid-19th century.

Shakespeare’s been a popular offering on Broadway since that time. IBDB even notes some Shakespeare musicals in 1857 and 1859. However, The Boys from Syracuse is generally regarded as the first Broadway musical based on a Shakespeare play. The 1938 musical by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart is based on The Comedy of Errors. More Bard-inspired musicals followed over the years. They’ve included Kiss Me Kate (inspired by The Taming of the Shrew) in 1948; West Side Story (inspired by Romeo and Juliet) in 1957; Play On! (inspired by Twelfth Night and featuring the music of Duke Ellington) in 1997; and Something Rotten!, with its wacky take on Hamlet, in 2015.

The Bard on Broadway Today

Right now you have your choice of several Shakespeare-related shows on Broadway. There’s the Roundabout Theatre Company’s toe-tapping revival of Kiss Me Kate starring Kelli O’Hara, Will Chase, and Corbin Bleu; Glenda Jackson in an epic performance as King Lear; and Nathan Lane, Kristine Nielsen, and Julie White in Taylor Mac’s existential comedy Gary, A Sequel to Titus Andronicus. I saw all three productions when I was in New York last month and enjoyed them immensely.

Looking for more Shakespeare? Check out some of my other blog entries on the Bard, including A Celebration of the Shakespeare First Folio and Shakespeare and Murder: A Winning Combination.

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