Update on Feb. 9: Because of inclement weather, the production of Measure for Measure has been pushed back to open on Wednesday, Feb. 16.
There's never a shortage of Shakespeare shows in any city with a vibrant theater scene, but this week in particular might be the biggest in recent memory for Bard-lovers.
In Dallas and Fort Worth, there are five chances to see Willy Shakes' work, with local productions of Macbeth, Measure for Measure and Love's Labour's Lost, plus a screening of King Lear from London and the Dallas Opera's production of Gounod's Romeo et Juliette.
Here's the scoop: The links are to TJ's listings for each, which have showtimes, prices, maps and more.
1. The opening of Macbeth at Kitchen Dog Theater. Directed by Matthew Gray, it stars Christopher Carlos in the title role, and Christie Vela as the character who's really in control, Lady M. In typical K-Dog Bard style, it's a reduced cast. Eight actors playing all characters, and everyone except Macbeth plays a witch. This show was supposed to open Feb. 4, but then came that ice/snow storm. Somebody must've said the M word, in a theater, and loudly. Curses. Runs through March 5.
2. The Donmar Warehouse production of King Lear, starring Derek Jacobi in the title role. Directed by Michael Grandage. Need we say more? It is screened in the National Theatre of London's NT Live Series. The local showings are at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 and 10 and the Angelika Film Center Dallas; and 2 p.m. Feb. 13 and 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Angelika Film Center Plano.
3. Nouveau 47 Theatre presents its first full staging with Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, directed by Tom Parr IV (look for a audio interview with him soon, on TheaterJones). N47T is using the Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park, which was the home of regional theater pioneer Margo Jones' theater, called Theatre 47. Jones, for whom our website is named, was a big proponent of new work, but also of classics, and she loved her some Shakespeare. According to Helen Sheehy's excellent biography Margo: The Life and Theatre of Margo Jones. "Directing Shakepeare was a joy for her; she believed that he was the greatest playwright of all time, but she did not 'approach his work with awe.' " Meaning, she took liberties. For her production of Taming of the Shrew at Theatre 47, for instance, she axed the prologue, the women wore "outlandish headgear" and four white benches and a table were the only set pieces. Parr's production of M4M, a "problem play," features Danielle Pickard as Isabella, Justin Locklear as Angelo and, in an inspired bit of casting, Ben Bryant as Mistress Overdone. The show opens on Feb. 16 and runs through Feb. 27.
4. Fort Worth's Stolen Shakespeare Guild opens its 2011 season with the comedy Love's Labour's Lost. Directed by Jason and Lauren Morgan, this one looks like it might be the most traditional production of the bunch, and there's nothing wrong with that. Stolen Shakes is bold little outfit that, in this summer, will give North Texas its first taste of the "lost" Shakes play Double Falsehood. LLL opens Feb. 11 and runs through Feb. 20.
5. The Dallas Opera presents Charles Gounod's Romeo and Juliet, directed by Michael Kahn of Washington, D.C.'s The Shakespeare Theatre Company (here's our Q&A with him). Performed in French with English supertitles, the production features Charles Castronovo and Lyubov Petrova in the title roles. Fight choreography is by Kitchen Dog Theater company member Bill Lengfelder. R&J opens Feb. 11, and performances continue through Feb. 27.
Now, get out there and brush up your Shakespeare. And here's a lagniappe for you, of Lyubov Petrova playing Juliet, to Fernando de la Mora's Romeo, at Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Spain, in 2007.