Washington, DC Prepares For Landmark Shakespeare Festival

All the city’s a stage in 2007 as Washington, DC launches as six-month tribute to William Shakespeare. From January through June, more than 40 arts organizations will come together for Shakespeare in Washington, a landmark festival of theatre, music, dance, films and art exhibits at venues throughout the DC area. Spearheaded by Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser and Shakespeare Theatre Company artistic director Michael Kahn, the festival coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Folger Shakespeare Library, the largest collection of Shakespeare memorabilia outside of Stratford-upon-Avon.
The featured events are designed to showcase the Bard’s influence on stage, film, art and music.

Highlights of the promotion include:

• National Gallery of Art’s special exhibition, The Artist’s Vision: Romantic Traditions in Britain, which features as its centerpiece Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s chalk drawing, Desdemona’s Death Song (Nov. 19 – Mar. 18).

• The Folger Shakespeare Library’s unique treatment of King Lear, co-produced by the Classical Theatre of Harlem (Jan. 18 – Feb. 25).

• The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Titus Andronicus, an early, rarely-produced Shakespearean masterpiece that re-invents the revenge tragedies of his era (Jan. 18 – Mar. 18).

• The Kennedy Center’s ballet highlights, which include Kirov Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet (Jan. 16-21) and New York City Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Feb. 28 – Mar. 4.

• The Washington Performing Arts Society’s Virtually Richard, an audaciously original version of Shakespeare’s Richard III blending theater and dance. (Mar. 23-24).

• The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Coriolanus, featuring William Houston and Academy Award® nominee Janet Suzman, performed at the Kennedy Center (April 14 – May 6).

• The Washington Ballet’s 7×7: Shakespeare, a set of seven world premieres exploring elements of Shakespeare’s diverse compositions (May 14-21).

• The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra’s interdisciplinary performance of Such Sweet Thunder, also known as The Shakespearean Suite, featuring Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington’s Shakespeare-inspired compositions interspersed with soliloquies, scenes and speeches. Part of the Kennedy Center Jazz series (May 20).

• Synetic Theater’s award–winning wordless adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Hamlet…The Rest Is Silence. Directed and choreographed by Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili, respectively, Hamlet has been streamlined to 90 minutes, with no intermission (June).

Hotels and restaurants will also join in the celebration, with themed packages and special menu items and cocktails available throughout the six-month festival. At the Beacon Hotel, Shakespearean Packages start at $155 (Jan. 1 – Feb. 28) and $185 (March 1 – June 30) and include complimentary parking, a hearty English breakfast for two and a pre- or post-performance “Henry VIII” cocktail at the Beacon Bar and Grill. Hotel packages are available exclusively online at washington.org or by calling 1-800-422-8644. Hotel package details will be posted online by November 15.

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