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Events Tue Apr 22 2014
It's easy to lose track of birthdays after a while, and when you've passed the 400 mark, even the actual date comes into question. We don't know the exact date of William Shakespeare's birthday, so it is observed on April 23, and this year marks his 450th (take that, Bilbo Baggins). Chicago has long been a Bard kind of town, so for Shakespeare's 450th, The Newberry has partnered with Chicago Shakespeare Theater and The Shakespeare Project of Chicago on a couple of events that bring to life--and bring new life to--some of the Bard's best known works.
On April 21, The Bard Is Born opened at The Newberry. This new exhibition of 40-plus items, curated by Jill Gage, focuses on items related to Henry V, which was the first play performed by Chicago Shakespeare Theater (and which will be performed once more unto the breach, er, stage later this April). It includes a First Folio, 19th century engravings, and a musical score. The exhibition is free and runs through June 21.
And this Saturday, professional actors from The Shakespeare Project of Chicago will stage a reading of All's Well That Ends Well from 10am-12pm at Ruggles Hall, 60 W. Walton St. You can jog your memory with a pre-performance "informative talk", and stay for a Q&A after the show (don't worry, it's not a quiz!). This event is also free and open to the public (no ticket or RSVP necessary).
If you're taking a long view of the Shakespeare Quadricentennial Celebration (which continues through 2016, to include his death "anniversary"), check out this preview of Our City, Our Shakespeare. The documentary--featuring Chicago Shakespeare Theater, along with many of the city's cultural and civic leaders--explores Shakespeare's lasting influence on our city.
But if you're somehow questioning whether or not there's still a reason to celebrate, take the Will's 450 is the New 30 quiz to see just how well Shakespearean quotes fit into contemporary contexts. (And maybe think about picking up a book.)