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Valentine's Day Shakespeare

Shakespeare Theaters Set the Stage
For Love—of Some Sort—in February

Valentine's Day brings out romantic notions in couples and Shakespearean romance in theaters.

Romeo and Juliet is, of course, Shakespeare's most romantic tale, and The New American Shakespeare Tavern in Atlanta, Ga., is not only staging a Drew Reeves–directed production of the play (runs through Feb. 26, with bonus performances on March 1 and 8), but auctioning off a special Valentine's Day performance. The e-bay auction offers up a front-and-center table and, in addition to tickets to the show, a complimentary dinner, desserts, and a bottle of wine. The auction ends Feb. 12. Go to and look for Item #190636881645.

The star-crossed lovers of Verona will also be pining for each other on two Florida stages. Orlando Shakespeare Theater has already opened its production directed by Thomas Ouellette (running to March 17), and Annette Trossbach directs a production at the Laboratory Theater of Florida in Fort Myers (Feb. 10–25).

The Long Beach Shakespeare Company in California will open its six-week run of Romeo and Juliet on Feb. 17 and is offering a Valentine Special of five tickets to the preview performances. Also on Feb. 17, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland will kick off its 2012 season with a Victorian-age Romeo and Juliet directed by Laird Williamson running to Nov. 4.

Meanwhile, Nebraska Shakespeare offers its patrons a movie date for Valentine's Day. As part of its monthlong Shakespeare on the Silverscreen Film Festival at Aksarben Cinema, Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet will show on Valentine's Day while the audience enjoys Jones Bros. cupcakes. A discussion with guest scholar D. Scott Glasser hosted by Vincent Carlson-Brown, the company's associate artistic director, will follow. This Shakespeare on Screen festival, which opened with Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing, will continue Feb. 21 with Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Julius Caesar (starring Marlon Brando as Antony), and The Boys from Syracuse of Feb. 28.

Recognizing that the course of true love never did run smooth—and sometimes runs rougher than the norm—other theaters have turned to a couple of Shakespeare's other love stories. The Reduxion Theatre Company in Oklahoma City opens its production of Much Ado About Nothing on Feb. 9, running through Feb. 25. Reduxion is offering a "couples package" for the Feb. 10 and 11 shows that includes cupcakes and bubbly. The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Va., is also running Much Ado in repertory this spring through April 8.

The Shakepseare Project of Chicago will be looking for love this month over a weekend of free reading performances of The Taming of the Shrew at Chicago-area libraries. Elizabeth Laidlaw as Kate and Sean Cooper as Petruchio lead a cast of professional actors who will read the play at the Newberry Library in Chicago at 10 a.m. Feb. 25; the Wilmette Public Library in Wilmette at 2 p.m. Feb. 25; and the Highland Park Public Library in Highland Park at 2 p.m. on Feb. 26.

Taming of the Shrew, directed by Lucy Baily, is also running at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in England through Feb. 18

Love other Shakespeare plays? Find where your favorites are playing this year by visiting our What's Playing Where page. Check out the full slate of plays at linked theaters by visiting our Where's Playing What page.

February 6, 2012

[Follow up: The Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern auction's winning bid was $511.07.]

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