Last Wednesday, I had the privilege of being invited to the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s first annual REVEL AND FEAST at Memorial Hall in Over the Rhine. Cincy Shakes is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year . . . and it was William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. But that’s not all!
They are one of only five other theatre companies to ever produce all 38 of William Shakespeare’s plays. This is a big deal. And also, this year they are launching a brand new educational initiative called Project 38 in which they will partner with 38 area high schools to complete the canon once again – this time through a combination of art, music, dance, and performance all of which will be spotlighted at a giant festival in June of 2015. There was a preview performance from 38 students and I’ll just say that I’ve already got this festival on my calendar. What an amazing job these students did and their talented teachers deserve a bulk of the credit.
A mayoral proclamation was read, naming April 23rd as Cincinnati Shakespeare Company Day in Cincinnati, Ohio. Also at the event, three awards were presented.
Area high school student Katherine Sallee was given the Rose Award for her exceptional participation and spirit in working with the Cincy Shakes theatre camps for several years. Jeremy Dubin gave an incredible speech about her accomplishments and she seemed genuinely touched.
Next, Xavier Professor Dr. Niamh O’Leary was presented with the Swan Award by Artistic Director Brian Isaac Phillips for her contributions on the Board of Directors and in the classroom at Xavier and abroad, instilling a passion for Shakespeare in her students. O’Leary is a panelist with the League of Cincinnati Theatres and it was nice to see her be recognized for her work in helping promote and grow one of our LCT Theatres.
Finally, the Globe Award was presented to Dr. William McKim, the founder of the Canon Club. This group has read through the entire canon of Shakespeare’s plays, dissecting, analyzing, studying, and helping CSC to produce the classics. McKim thanked many people, but most touching was the recognition of his lovely wife who was seated in the audience.
Finally, after we were treated to a performance by the students of Project 38, the ensemble company present from Cincinnati Shakespeare took to the stage and performed a hilarious parody of “One Day More” from Les Miserables. From a company that does not produce musicals, they sure do have some vocal talent in their midst!
The performances were followed by dinner, which I’m sure was enjoyed by all in attendance. Special thanks to Jennifer Joplin, Director of Development, for the invitation to cover the event and for Jeanna Vella for all she does to get the word out to folks like me about what’s going on with this wonderful theatre company.
This weekend CSC will open TWO NOBLE KINSMEN, which will complete Shakespeare’s canon of 38 plays. You should get tickets now before they sell out.