Posts By: Shakespeare & Beyond



Duke Ellington’s Such Sweet Thunder: Shakespeare and jazz

It’s been 60 years since Duke Ellington recorded Such Sweet Thunder, a jazz suite based on Shakespeare’s plays. Eleven songs are linked to Shakespearean characters like Othello and Lady Macbeth, and the final number is a tribute to Shakespeare himself.


Taking Hamlet around the globe

To commemorate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth in 2014, Shakespeare’s Globe in London sent a group of actors on a two-year tour to perform Hamlet all around the world. Dominic Dromgoole, the Globe’s artistic director who directed this traveling production, has written a new book about it, “Hamlet Globe to Globe.” Read an excerpt from it.


A recipe for 1610 rose cakes

Francine Segan, a food historian with a taste for the Renaissance, adapts a 1610 handwritten recipe for rose cakes from a recipe book that’s part of the Folger collection.


The smallest Shakespeares in the Folger collection

Henry Altemus’ magnificently miniature copy of “The Children’s Shakespeare” by Edith Nesbit is the Folger’s smallest Shakespeare edition. The title page’s portrait of Shakespeare is only six millimeters long. Like the book’s text, it is not discernible to the naked eye. While close, it’s not the smallest image of Shakespeare in the collection.


Quiz: Buckets of ducats in Shakespeare’s plays

Shakespeare characters love talking about their ducats, which were commonly used coins in Shakespeare’s day. Can you match the money quote to the play it comes from?


What makes Shakespeare musicals ‘American’

While Shakespeare musicals borrowed plots, characters, and situations from England’s best-known poet, they remained essentially “American.”


The many Shakespearean roles of Irish immigrant Ada Rehan

Born Ada Crehan in Limerick, Ireland, Ada Rehan arrived in Brooklyn with her family at age five. Her big break came in the late 1870s, when theater manager Augustin Daly hired her for his New York company.


Something Rotten: An interview with the Broadway musical creators Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick

Two brothers living in England in 1595 have had their playwriting careers upended by the arrival of a new guy from Stratford upon Avon, William Shakespeare. That’s the plot of Something Rotten, a new musical that opened on Broadway in 2015. Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick (also brothers!) are the co-authors, along with John Farrell. On the Folger’s Shakespeare Unlimited podcast, Karey and Wayne share more about Something Rotten, their perspective on Shakespeare, and how it all came together.


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