Shakespeare’s much-maligned toads and frogs

There may not be a more insulted character in all of Shakespeare’s canon than Richard III. The woman he’s wooing, Anne, calls him a hedgehog. In the very next scene, Queen Margaret calls him an “abortive, rooting hog,” a “bottled spider,” and a “poisonous bunch-backed toad” (Richard III I.3.239, 256, 260-261). And this isn’t the… Continue Reading »


Teller on his magical ‘Macbeth’ at Folger Theatre

“Our premise is that Macbeth is Shakespeare’s supernatural horror thriller, and should be done as violently and amazingly as a modern supernatural horror movie,” wrote magician Teller (of Penn & Teller) about the memorable 2008 production of Macbeth at Folger Theatre that he and Helen Hayes Award-winning director Aaron Posner co-conceived and directed. The production… Continue Reading »


7 excerpts from Shakespeare-inspired novels

Looking to escape in a good book? Take a break from non-fiction, and read these excerpts from Shakespeare-inspired novels that we’ve featured in the past two years on Shakespeare & Beyond.


Your guide to streaming Shakespeare in March

Streaming platforms are a great way to get some Shakespeare while you’re social distancing. Here’s what’s streaming now, featuring Anthony Hopkins, Bollywood, “The Twilight Zone,” and more.



“The Taming of the Shrew” on the American stage before “Kiss Me, Kate”: An excerpt from “Shakespeare in a Divided America” by James Shapiro

The Taming of the Shrew is often referred to as one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays” because of its controversial depiction of gender roles; last year’s Broadway production of Kiss Me, Kate, the 1948 musical based on The Taming of the Shrew, revived discussions of the sexism at the heart of the story and its 16th-century… Continue Reading »