West Side Story: 60 years as a cultural barometer

Sixty years old this week, the 1961 movie West Side Story, based on the acclaimed Broadway musical inspired by Romeo and Juliet, also became a de facto representation of US Latinx in musicals for many years.


Helena Modjeska, a shining Polish-American star

Born on October 12, 1840, the Shakespearean star Helena Modjeska shone bright in two very different theatrical worlds, first becoming a leading lady in Warsaw and then, after moving to Anaheim, California, launching a second career as a leading actress in the United States.


Quiz: The animals in Shakespeare’s plays

Take our quiz on the amazing variety of animals in Shakespeare’s plays, from a mix of dogs and horses to song birds, ferocious wild animals, and much more.


What’s onstage at Shakespeare theaters in October

October brings 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.


Some spellbinding October reads

As we enter the year’s spookiest month, explore a trio of contemporary novels that involve early modern witchcraft. Much has changed since the deadly witch hunts of Shakespeare’s era, and the contrasting approaches of these books are a good way to see how far we’ve come.


The origins of the English history play – Excerpt: The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and War

What is the English history play? “A dramatic study of civil conflict in England,” writes David Bevington in this excerpt from the newly published Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and War. “Above all, its purpose is to explore the causes, the struggles, the personal motivations of the major participants, and the means by which civil conflict… Continue Reading »