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The State of Shakespeare

Arts & Culture Podcasts

Great Interviews with Great Artists. We’re talking Shakespeare.


United States


Great Interviews with Great Artists. We’re talking Shakespeare.






Stephen Charles Marzolf

The Tempest; Act 4, Scene 1 ProsperoJanuary 16, 2024 To the uninitiated, northwest Arkansas may sound like an unlikely paradise for an actor. But as Shakespeare’s Prospero shows us, magic is found where you choose to make it. Our guest Steven Charles Marzolf has happily made an artistic home in Fayetteville for the past twelve years, where he recently played Prospero in the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre / University of Central Arkansas co-Production of The Tempest. Click here to follow along with the text. Click here for a First Folio Version of the text. Click here for a scanned version of the text.


Elena Hollenbeak and Lyn Ackerman

Macbeth; Act 5, Scene 1 Lady MacbethNovember 21, 2023 Elena Hollenbeak is the winner of the 2023 English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition. We spoke with the talented Ms. Hollenbeak and her mentor, Dr. Lyn Ackerman, about this year’s competition and what’s so fascinating about Shakespeare. Along the way we learn about a heart-stopping moment for Lady Macbeth. that Shakespeare might have missed, and why the state of Hawaii produces so many exceptional ESU competitors. Click here to follow along with the text.


Sara Topham

Romeo & Juliet; Act 3, Scene 2 JulietOctober 24, 2023 Canadian actor Sara Topham met Shakespeare’s Juliet when she was just seventeen and facing the premature overthrow of a promising career. This could be a story about how a star-crossed young dancer became one of the most accomplished classical stage actors of her generation. Or it could be a masterclass in respecting Shakespeare’s verse. Or it could be a love letter to a future generation of Juliets. All we know is to breathe at the end of the line! Click here to follow along with the text. Click here for a Folio Version. Click here for a Scanned Version.


Marquis D. Gibson

Hamlet; Act 2, Scene 2 HamletSeptember 29, 2023 Marquis D. Gibson's Broadway debut was as sudden as it was spectacular. Appearing in the Hamlet inspired Fat Ham, Marquis played the Hamlet character wrestling with a lot of different big questions. For Marquis, it came down to truth, connection and a big dose of relationship. What a piece of work is a man, indeed. Click here to follow along with the text Click here for a Folio Version


Andrew J. Dunn

Unrehearsed: A Midsummer Night's Dream The Barefoot Shakespeare CompanyAugust 29, 2023 Memorizing lines comes quickly for Andrew J. Dunn. Putting the fun back in theater is what he is all about, which is why he agreed to produce, publicize and act in the Unrehearsed Midsummer Night's Dream by the Barefoot Shakespeare Company. He even referees in what is called an event "for Sports Fans!" where the lines between spectator and actor are often blurred. Click here for more information about the show and the Barefoot Shakespeare Company.


Amanda Dehnert

Love's Labor's Lost The Hudson Valley Shakespeare FestivalJuly 12, 2023 (Photo by John Nordell/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images) Ask Amanda Dehnert what she does for a living, and she’ll laughingly say she “imagines things.” As a visionary theatre creator, she has worked with some of the most exciting theatre companies to emerge over the last 25 years. Ms. Dehnert brings her unique talents to bear in the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s new production of Love’s Labors Lost, for which she both directed and co-composed an original pop-rock score. Love's Labors Lost Photo Credits: T. Charles Erickson


Dakin Matthews

Hamlet; Act 2, Scene 2 HamletMay 26, 2023 When it comes to Shakespeare's secrets, "meaning" and "sense" stand separate, yet actors must master both. So asserts Dakin Matthews: actor extraordinaire, seasoned stage savant of 250+ productions, and the scribe behind Shakespeare Spoken Here. Delving daringly into Hamlet's "Is it not monstrous..." soliloquy (Act II, scene 2), Daikin declares that in the realm of Shakespearean performance, rules crumble, crushed by the audacious. Click here to follow along with the text. Click here for a First Folio version of the text. Click here for a Scanned Version of the text.


Miriam Laube

The Winter's Tale; Act 3, Scene 2 HermioneMarch 23, 2023 Photo: Jenny Graham. Photo: Jenny Graham. For Miriam Laube, 16 is a magic number. 16 years at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and 16 years away from court in Winter's Tale (for her featured character, Hermione). With a dash of humor and a fierce sense of self, Miriam has breathed life into countless Shakespeare characters both on stage and through Play On Podcasts. Finding the honor in Hermione was both a professional and personal journey. Click here to follow along with the text. Click here for a First Folio version of the text. Click here for a scanned version of the text. Below are two songs from Miriam inspired by Shakespeare!


Chukwudi Iwuji

Hamlet; Act 3, Scene 1 HamletFebruary 28, 2023 Drop in! All Chukwudi Iwuji needs is the language, how the words resonate in him, their sounds and meanings and rhythms. Using these, how is he affecting the listener? When you listen, you will know. Click here to follow along with the text. Click here for a First Folio version of the text.


Ian Gould

Midsummer Night's Dream: Act 4, Scene 1 BottomJanuary 27, 2023 What does it mean to be “smartly stupid,” and how might this approach help an actor reveal delightfully unexpected moments in well-worn texts? Ian Gould credits his training at the Shakespeare Theatre Company Academy in Washington DC for this technique, which he demonstrates in his fresh take on “Bottom’s Dream” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Click here to follow along with the text. Click here for a First Folio version of the text. Watch Ian Gould perform Bottom's Monologue from the interview!


Brian Carroll

Shakespeare's Sceptered Isle November 30, 2022 What did it mean to be “English” in Shakespeare’s day? How may Shakespeare’s most patriotic play, Henry V, have shaped notions of English identity ever since? Brian Carroll’s new book, Shakespeare’s Sceptered Isle: Finding English National Identity in the Plays examines hints in Shakespeare’s text about what his audiences might have thought being “English” was – and perhaps more revealingly, what (or who) wasn’t. Click here to follow along with the text. Click here for a First Folio version of the text.


Lynn Robert Berg

Julius Caesar; Act 2, Scene 1 Brutus October 11, 2022 With double digit years at a trio of theaters, Lynn Robert Berg is on the move. The self-proclaimed character actor has moved from intern to company leader with a skill set most actors would kill for (especially after listening to his reading of Brutus’ bloody-minded monologue from Julius Caesar.). A man of many hats, Lynn Robert Berg delights in his motley assortment of roles. Click here to follow along with the text. Click here to see a First Folio version of the text. Click here for a scanned version of the text. Click here for Information about Idaho Shakes, Tahoe Shakes and Great Lakes Shakes.


Kurt Rhoads and Nance Williamson

Romeo and Juliet; Act 3, Scene 5 Romeo and Juliet August 23, 2022 After a lifetime in the theatre, what does Shakespeare still have to teach us about life and love? Long-time stage veterans (and real-life couple0 Nance Williamson and Kurt Rhoads take on the titular roles in Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s “age-blind” production of Romeo and Juliet. Having shared the stage together in seventy (70!) productions spanning more than 30 years, they may well be the most seasoned star-crossed young lovers Verona has ever met. Click here for more information about HVSF.


Kevin Rich 2.0

The Book of Will Colorado Shakespeare FestivalAugust 1, 2022 Who were the men and women who miraculously rescued half of Shakespeare’s plays from being lost forever – and what mystery, tragedy, romance, and drama raged around them as they struggled against greed, politics and their own mortality in order to grant immortality to a few precious words? Kevin Rich and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival (currently celebrating its 65th season) bring these forgotten heroes vividly to life in Lauren Gunderson’s, The Book of Will, a play about the birth of Shakespeare’s First Folio, which was published seven years after the Bard’s death and which Kevin Rich describes as a "love letter to the Theater". Click here for more information about CSF.


Carl Cofield

Twelfth Night Act 1, Scene 5July 8, 2022 PHOTO CREDIT - Richard Termine PHOTO CREDIT - Richard Termine Something special is happening in Harlem. The Classical Theater of Harlem is bringing its unique brand of Shakespeare to Marcus Garvey Park. Associate Artistic Director Carl Cofield is directing an Afro-Futuristic version of Twelfth Night - complete with VR and the ambient sounds of NYC. Carl stops by to talk about all things Shakespeare, Education and Twelfth Night. Click here to follow along with the text. Click here for a First Folio version of the text. Click here for more information about CTH.


The Texas Shakespeare Festival

Val Winkelman and John Dodd June 18, 2022 In Texas, when something delightful has been marinating for 36 years, you know you’re in for a treat. The Texas Shakespeare Festival has been a staple of East Texas since the 1980's. For five decades, TSF’s own John Dodd and Val Winkelman have helped to feed (literally) and nurture hundreds of theatre artists. They share advice, anecdotes and a who's who of TSF Alum (including at least one who will be familiar to SoS listeners ;) This is one Shakespeare Festival that is aged to perfection. Follow them on all platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Flicker Watch a time lapse of their changeover between shows.


Toby Malone and Aili Huber

Aili Huber and Toby Malone Cutting Plays for PerformanceMay 16, 2022 Was this the kindest cut of all? It began as a friendly argument between fellow Shakespeareans, Aili Huber and Toby Malone, about how to trim the text of Richard III. They've since collaborated on a book and website with tools and hints to how to cut Shakespeare effectively. With a dose of humor and a dollop of wisdom, Cutting Shakespeare for Performance keenly tackles a sticky subject in Shakespeare. Click here to follow along with the text. Find Cutting Shakespeare for Performance at Routledge and Amazon. Follow them on all platforms: @cuttingplays


Nathan Winkelstein

Henry V: Act 1, Scene 2King HenryMarch 28, 2022 Named for the rowdy Jacobean playhouse that illegally performed plays in England during the years of Puritan rule, the Red Bull Theater is breaking barriers. Using one of Henry V's speeches, Associate Artistic Director Nathan Winkelstein reveals the power of Shakespeare and other plays of heightened language to deepen our understanding of the human condition. Follow along with the speech. First Folio Version.


Mike Lew

Teenage DickFebruary 23, 2022 What happens if you plunk down Richard III in a modern day High School? You get Teenage Dick. Teenage Dick, Written by Mike Lew, was commissioned and developed by Gregg Mozgala's own theater company, The Apothetae, which is dedicated to productions that illuminate the disabled experience. “Exhilarating. It suggests how much richer the theater will be when it is truly open to artists of all kinds. Not just because those artists deserve employment but also because the canon of classics deserves reimagining to match our world.” Lew says, “We set out to re-examine disability politics from Shakespearean times to our time, through a dark comedy that mashes up Shakespeare-talk and Tik Tok.” Join us as we sit down with Mike and talk all things Teenage Dick.


Keith Hamilton Cobb

The Untitled Othello ProjectJanuary 27, 2022 What is the Untitled Othello Project? According to Keith Hamilton Cobb, the award-winning playwright who is the driving force behind the ensemble-based “adventure in theatre-making”, it’s much more than a deep and sustained exploration of Shakespeare’s text, it’s an “exercise in creative justice.” With this project, Keith is not just tackling Shakespeare's play, he is taking on the whole "theatre industry complex".