We'll open the Guild's 2015-16 SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE season on Wednesday, September 23, with eminent critic John Lahr, who will join us at the Hill Center in Washington for a conversation that will focus on two volumes, Joy Ride (his latest collection of New Yorker profiles) and the paperback edition of Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, his award-winning biography of Tennessee Williams. A few days later, on Monday, September 28, we'll be at the National Arts Club in Manhattan with Marc Baron, an actor, singer, and director who will talk about The Lambs, a venerable club which was founded in 1874 and which provided the setting for the creation of several other key organizations, among them Actors' Equity, the Screen Actors Guild, and ASCAP. A few weeks later, on Monday, November 23, we'll welcome Columbia University's James Shapiro, an always popular guest, who will introduce his long-awaited volume on the year 1606, a crucial period in the poet's life and times, and one in which he appears to have completed "King Lear." In the near future we'll be announcing an exciting roster of additional programs for the Guild's 2015-16 season. Among other highlights that will be of special interest to Shakespeare enthusiasts will be a Gielgud Award ceremony to take place in conjunction with a gala UK Theatre Awards luncheon on Sunday, October 18, in London's venerable Guildhall.
We inaugurated an eventful 2014-15 season with a special John Lahr gathering in September that launched the U.S. book tour of an eagerly anticipated biography of Tennessee Williams. October featured programs in three cities and two countries. One occurred in London, where the Shakespeare Guild bestowed a posthumous Gielgud Award on Sir Donald Sinden as part of a festive UK Theatre Awards luncheon. Sir Donald's son, producer Marc Sinden, accepted the trophy from actor and visual artist Clive Francis. A second occurred in New York, where we talked with Vanity Fair columnist John Heilpern. A third took place in Santa Fe, with cast members from a "King Lear" that was touring America from Shakespeare's Globe. We returned to Manhattan for November engagements with Cal State Fullerton's Kay Stanton and with former Harvard President Neil L. Rudenstein. In December we spoke with lexicographer Ammon Shea. In January our guest was Columbia scholar James Shapiro, who explored "Shakespeare in America." In February we chatted with linguist Jesse Sheidlower. In March we enjoyed an engaging dialogue with acclaimed actor John Douglas Thompson. In April we hosted a Manhattan gathering at The Lambs, a venerable Midtown theatrical society, with legendary actress Estelle Parsons and Montclair State's Naomi Liebler. The following night, at the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park, we enjoyed the first of two timely Booth-focused events, this one with biographer Terry L. Alford, who shed new light on the most dramatic moment in American history. In May we conversed with Peter Kyle OBE and Diana Owen of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and helped welcome visitors to a festive Open House at the British Embassy; we then co-hosted another gathering with Mr. Kyle and Dr. Owen at the residence of the UK's Consul General for New York. The following day we repaired to The Lambs for a program with Daniel J. Watermeier, who introduced "American Tragedian," his long-awaited "Life of Edwin Booth." On Tuesday, June 2, we returned to Our Nation's Capital to conclude the Guild's 2014-15 season with two programs that focused on actor Edward Gero. He had been riveting audiences in "The Originalist," a brilliant new John Strand play that portrays controversial Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court. Participating in those conversations were Arena Stage's artistic director Molly Smith and political journalist Bill Press. For more detail on these and on previous SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE events, click here.
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