Posts Tagged: America’s Shakespeare

Shakespeare and the American Revolution

By the time the first battles of the American Revolution took place in 1775, Shakespeare had been imported from England on stage and page to the New World.



America’s Shakespeare: The Bard goes west to Hollywood

Shakespeare has provided rich material for Hollywood’s film industry over the decades, from The Taming of the Shrew (1967) with Elizabeth Taylor to 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) with Julia Stiles. Given this, an exhibition about Shakespeare in America (and especially in California), such as the one on display at the Los Angeles… Continue Reading »


America’s Shakespeare: The Bard goes west to California’s Gold Rush mining camps

Theater was explosively popular in California’s Gold Rush era, and miners couldn’t get enough of Shakespeare. San Francisco and Sacramento had major theaters that were repeatedly burning down and being rebuilt almost immediately. Even the small gold-mining towns had stages or some kind of performance space. Actors followed the money, first to California, then traveling… Continue Reading »



War and America’s Shakespeare

“Extremity is the trier of spirits/ Common chances common men will bear.” Quoting from Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Abigail Adams praised the courage of the militiamen at the Battle of Bunker Hill in a letter to her husband, John Adams, in 1775. From the Revolutionary War to the Iraq War, Americans have engaged with William Shakespeare and his plays… Continue Reading »


Quiz: How well do you know the history of Shakespeare in America?

Who is America’s Shakespeare? Test your knowledge with this quiz. Want to learn more? Visit the Folger Shakespeare Library exhibition, America’s Shakespeare, through July 24, 2016 Listen to the Shakespeare in American Life radio documentary


Orson Welles and the Voodoo ‘Macbeth’ that launched his directing career

Can you feel the feverish excitement in the air? This photograph from April 14, 1936, shows the crowded streets outside the Lafayette Theatre in Harlem on opening night for the Federal Theatre Project’s Macbeth, directed by a young Orson Welles. (He was only 20 years old!) The Federal Theatre Project’s Negro Unit was a New Deal program under the… Continue Reading »


How ‘The New York Times’ commemorated the Shakespeare tercentenary in 1916

2016 marks 400 years after William Shakespeare’s death, and the world is celebrating the quatercentenary with Shakespeare performances, festivals, and fireworks. One hundred years ago, what was said about the Shakespeare tercentenary in the United States? We see one of these windows on the past in The New York Times, which ran a special Shakespeare commemorative series… Continue Reading »


Would you buy a used car from William Shakespeare? How about mustard?

Would you buy a bicycle if William Shakespeare sold it to you? How about trading up to a Cadillac? Over the years, advertisers have counted on the novelty of Shakespeare, and his memorable characters, to sell their products. The brochure on the right parallels the literary achievement of Shakespeare with the automotive achievement of the… Continue Reading »