What’s onstage at Shakespeare theaters in October

The cast of Shakespeare Dallas’s ’80s-style Romeo & Juliet.

October yields a bumper crop of productions from the Folger’s theater partners, including a King Lear performed in Original Pronunciation, Romeos and Juliets galore, and a new adaptation of As You Like It featuring the music of the Beatles.

October 9 at noon PT, catch a free performance of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised] from the African-American Shakespeare Company in Oakland, CA’s Jack London Square.

Alejandra Escalante & Daniel José Molina in “The Taming of the Shrew,” American Players Theatre. Photo: Liz Lauren.

At the American Players Theatre, a new production of The Taming of the Shrew asks us to look closer at the play, and to discover in it a lively satire about the ways society tries to bend its central couple, Kate and Petruchio, into shapes they simply aren’t built for. In director Shana Cooper’s adaptation, they shatter everyone’s absurd expectations. This wild and theatrical production, onstage through November 14, features Alejandra Escalante and Daniel Molina as the famously combative couple, with three other incredible actors playing every other role from Bianca to Baptista. Stream the production online with the theater’s APT at Home film starting October 24.

Erin Hanratty as Goneril in King Lear, from the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory. Photo: Matt Peterson

Through October 24, the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival presents King Lear in Original Pronunciation.

⇒Related: Linguist David Crystal and actor Ben Crystal join us on Shakespeare Unlimited to tell us how to pronounce words as Shakespeare would have. 

Gamut Theatre Collective, the combined theatre of Harrisburg Shakespeare Company and Popcorn Hat Players Children’s Theatre, presents an educational engagement production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream through October 17.  Recommended for ages 12 and up, this Midsummer bridges together the play’s most famous scenes into an fast-moving and easy-to-understand story.

A new, 1960s-set adaptation of As You Like It from the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, onstage through November 21, infuses the play with music by the Beatles. More than 20 musical numbers performed live onstage—including favorites like “She Loves You,” “Let It Be,” and “Here Comes the Sun”—make for an exuberant celebration of love and connection.

Crystian Wiltshire and Courtney Lucien in Romeo and Juliet, from the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.

At the Cincinnati Shakespeare CompanyRomeo and Juliet is onstage through November 13.

In Annapolis, MD, another Romeo and Juliet is onstage at the Classic Theatre of Maryland through October 31.

Leontyne Mbele-Mbong as Thaisa and Ron Chapman as Pericles in Episode 4 of San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s 2021 Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Photo: Jay Yamada

Pericles’s long journey home is nearly over. The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s ongoing production of Pericles, Prince of Tyre breaks Shakespeare’s play into four episodes. Three were presented virtually this summer; the fourth is onstage for three more performances at Cupertino’s Memorial Theatre. Each performance begins with a recap of the previous episodes to bring the audience up to speed.

Films of all four episodes will be available for free on YouTube through October 31—episodes 1 – 3 are posted now, and episode 4 is will join them soon.

⇒Related: Shakespeare’s late romances on summer stages

Shakespeare Dallas’s Romeo & Juliet has five more performances between now through October 16 at the Samuell-Grand Amphitheater. Enjoy Shakespeare’s beloved tragedy played out through ’80s teen angst and rebellion in a beautiful, outdoor space in Dallas. And, if you’ve been enjoying Shakespeare Dallas’s Shakespeare Decoded podcast, grab your headphones: the podcast’s second season will begin this fall. The season’s first episode features Maryam Baig, Marketing & Special Events Director at Human Rights Initiative of North Texas.

Watch Shakespeare in Detroit’s youth production of Romeo and Juliet for free on YouTube. Filmed in August in the historical proscenium theater at the former Marygrove College—now Marygrove Conservancy and home to Shakespeare in Detroit—this Romeo and Juliet features ten Detroit students, ages 14 – 17 years old, each of whom played multiple roles in Shakespeare’s tragedy after completing an eight-week conservatory. The program included over 160 hours of dramaturgical text analysis and introductions to costume design, set building, stage combat, and more. Each participants received $1,000 for successfully completing the program, sponsored by the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is opening up their Back Yard Stage in Florham Park, NJ again for an outdoor concert series, Autumn Night Music, through October 15. Three of STNJ’s most luminous alumni—Elena Shaddow, Benjamin Eakeley, and Kate Baldwin—will bring music to the night air in three very different concerts. Shaddow kicks off the series tonight, October 8.

There are just two more performances each of CymbelineThe Pirates of PenzanceLynn Nottage’s Intimate Appareland the spooky, madcap farce The Comedy of Terrors at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Once their 2021 season comes to an end this weekend, get your tickets to the Festival’s production of Jack Ma’s new original musical, Gold Mountain, at the West Valley Performing Arts Center, starting November 4. Set against the backdrop of the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, Ma’s musical is a heartfelt, universal tale that celebrates the striving immigrant spirit, the redemptive power of love, and the ultimate nobility of self-sacrifice among a team of Chinese railroad workers.

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum’s 2021 Repertory Season continues through November 7 with Julius CaesarA Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the world premiere of John Guerra’s The Last, Best Small Town.


The African-American Shakespeare Company, Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Classic Theatre of Maryland, Gamut Theatre Collective, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Dallas, Shakespeare in Detroit,  Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum are members of the Folger’s Shakespeare Theater Partnership Program.

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