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Shakespeare in Today’s America

James Shapiro and Lisa Wolpe
In Conversation
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Episode Summary

Who gets to see Shakespeare and act in his plays? Celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s extraordinary legacy, Lisa Wolpe and James Shapiro will explore the defining guidelines of performing his work today, and consider how and why Shakespeare still matters in contemporary America. Wolpe, actress, director, teacher, and producer, is the Artistic Director and founder of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, an award-winning all-female, multi-cultural theater company. James Shapiro, professor at  Columbia University, is the author of numerous books and essays on Shakespeare, including his most recent work, The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606. Join these two Shakespeare aficionados on an enlightening journey of what this master means to us today.

Participant(s) Bio

James Shapiro is the Larry Miller Professor of English at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1985.  His books include Shakespeare and the Jews (1996), recently republished in a 20th anniversary edition; 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (2005), Contested Will (2010), the anthology Shakespeare in America (2014), and The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606 (2015). He has also co-authored and presented two BBC documentaries: Shakespeare: The King’s Man and The Mysterious Mr. Webster. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Board of Governors of the Folger Shakespeare Library is Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at New York’s Public Theater, and has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Lisa Wolpe is an actress, director, teacher & playwright, and is the Artistic Director of Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, which she founded in 1993. Honors include the Shakespeare Theater Association’s “Sidney Berger Award”, “Sustained Excellence” awards from the L.A. Drama Critic and from Playwrights Arena, the Key to Harlem, a Congressional Certificate of Merit; NBC News’ “Local Hero”, Jacob Bronowski Award for Theater Excellence, Whittier College’s Distinguished Artist Award, Colorado Shakespeare “First Scholar” and UC Boulder’s “Roe Green Distinguished Scholar”. Acting credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare & Company, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, and San Diego Repertory Theater.