Tuesday, June 10, 2014


In honor of William Shakespeare's 450th birthday celebration, the Westport Country Playhouse is throwing a gala party and you're invited to its special shindig of songs.  Conceived by Wayne Barker, Mark Lamos and Deborah Grace Winer and directed by Mark Lamos with both whimsy and affection, "Sing for Your Shakespeare" has already been extended to Saturday, June 28.

As musical revues go, this one is spectacular, tipping its hat to the Bard and glorying in his immortal words and lyrics, his original phrasings and the many shows inspired by those bon mots.  The talented troupe who bring his words to life are Karen Akers, Britney Coleman, Darius De Haas, Stephen DeRosa, Constantine Germanacos and Laurie Wells.

Under five glittering chandeliers, a seven piece band accompanies such numbers as Rodgers and Hart's "The Boys From Syracuse:" "Falling in Love with Love," "What Can You Do With a Man?," "This Can't Be Love" and "Sing for Your Supper."  Sonnets are recited and set to song, scenes from "Romeo and Juliet," "Love's Labours Lost" and "Hamlet" are versed as well as from "The Tempest" and "The Taming of the Shrew."

A nod to Cole Poter's "Kiss Me Kate" engages tunes like "Brush Up Your Shakespeare," "Too Darn Hot" and "Where Is the Life That Late I Led" while "West Side Story" by Sondheim and Bernstein is referenced with a trio of tunes, "Maria," "Tonight" and "Somewhere."

The man of the hour and the centuries makes a special guest appearance, thanks to Stephen DeRosa, as Will Shakespeare himself and takes stage center.  With a starched and ruffled ruff and ungartered leg, he garners the accolades due him in proper style.

For tickets ($30 and up), call Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off route 1, Westport at 203-227-4177 or 888-927-7529 or online at www.westportplayhouse.org.  Performances are Tuesday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Take a tour through America's Songbook, inspired and enhanced thanks to the Bard who would be proud to find himself on Broadway and across stages around the world.

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