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MACBETH 1978 | Ian McKellen | Judi Dench
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  • Announces Falstaff Awards for 2016   - Tue, 31 Jan 2017 19:00:00 -0500
    Falstaff Awards is pleased to announce the nominees and winners for the annual Falstaff Awards for 2016. With's international reach, reviewers worldwide have come together to honor the best in Shakespeare for the year of 2016. The Falstaff Awards recognize extraordinary achievement in the areas of Best Play, Best Director, Best Principal Actor or Actress, among other performance and technical categories.

    The year 2016 celebrated the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death with special events all over the globe. One of the highlights was the three-part miniseries The Hollow Crown: Wars of the Roses, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Sophie Okonedo, Judi Dench and many others. It is the Falstaff Award winner for Best Film.

    The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival took home the Best Play award for their outstanding production of As You Like It. Julia Coffey was nominated for Best Principal Actress for her portrayal of Rosalind in that production and Gaye Taylor Upchurch was nominated in the Best Director category for her amazing work.

    Continuing their excellence and recognition from last year's awards, the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company's production of Romeo & Juliet received nominations for Derek Jacobi's turn as Mercutio, Lily James as Juliet, and a Best Supporting Actress win for Meera Syal as the Nurse.

    Eleven nominations, the highest number for any theatre this year, went to the Royal Shakespeare Company for their productions of The Tempest (5), King Lear (3), and Hamlet (3). Veteran Shakespearean Antony Sher won the Best Principal Actor award for his portrayal of King Lear and Paapa Essiedu won for his portrayal as Edmund in the same production.

    The production tying with the RSC's Tempest for the most nominations was Richard II at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. With five nominations, including Christopher Liam Moore in the title role, it won the Falstaff Award for Best Lighting Design (Christopher Akerlind).

    The gender-bending highlight of the year was Michelle Terry's performance as Hal in Henry V at Regent?s Park Open Air Theatre. This strong portrayal of a young prince coming of age by a powerful actress won her the Falstaff Award for Best Principal Actress. The production also won the award for Best Choreography or Fight Direction (Kate Waters).

    Proving that Shakespeare is meant for modern audiences, the Shotgun Players in Berkeley developed an original version of Hamlet where actors played "role roulette" and chose the part they'd play that evening only minutes before the curtain rose. With elaborate fight choreography and modern dress, the show was a 2 1/2 hour tightrope walk for the actors every night.

    Of note the Lear Award for Lifetime Achievement was awarded to Simon Russell Beale, who was also nominated for his portrayal of Prospero in the RSC's Tempest. Beale had returned after a 22-year hiatus from the RSC to perform Prospero, having performed the title roles in Timon of Athens and King Lear, both at the National Theatre. In 2013, he won a BAFTA award for his excellent performance of Falstaff in The Hollow Crown series.

    "The global celebrations of the 400th anniversary of his death showed how much the world is still in love with William Shakespeare," said Ron Severdia, Founder of and creator the Shakespeare Pro app. "Though there may be challenging times ahead, the artistic community should keep the momentum and focus their creativity on effecting positive change in the world. Shakespeare wrote 'Action is eloquence.' and it truly is."

    The complete list of nominees and winners can be found at:


  • Most Popular Shakespeare App Celebrates 400th Anniversary   - Wed, 13 Apr 2016 13:03:43 -0400

    New features for both Apple and Android users at a 24-hour discount

    April 23, 2016 will mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death and Shakespeare theatres all over the world will be celebrating this momentous occasion in many ways. will join that global event.

    Back when the Shakespeare app was created in July 2008 and went live on the Apple App Store right after the store was launched, it was the only Shakespeare app available. It was a breakthrough in combining technology with liberal arts and literature. Carrying around large tomes of the Complete Works of Shakespeare was no longer necessary. Quality editions of all of Shakespeare's writings from were now in a portable and searchable format in your pocket. 

    In 2009, co-organized with Apple a special reading of Macbeth at the Apple Store in San Francisco. Professional actors did a reading off their iPhones before an ecstatic live audience, the first time the marriage of of performance and portable technology had ever happened. 

    Since that time, the Shakespeare Pro app has grown to become the must-have app for students, teachers, actors, directors, theatre professionals and aficianados. With over 8 million downloads, it has a worldwide reach. The app currently includes Shakespeare's entire First Folio (in original spelling), the industry standard Shakespeare's Words glossary (by David and Ben Crystal), note-taking with shareable notebooks, power search to find the exact phrase you're looking for, and BardFind? to locate any Shakespeare theatre or venue anywhere in the world.

    Priced at $9.99, the app is less expensive than a printed complete works edition, and even more cost effective when you consider the added price of the Shakespeare's Words glossary, a First Folio facsimile, and the wealth of other information in the app. Also included in the Shakespeare Passport (, the best way to get freebies and discounts at participating Shakespeare venues and events all over the world.

    Normally $9.99, for 24 hours the Apple iOS app wil be only $.99 to celebrate the anniversary. The Android app is free.

    Apple iOS:

    Android OS:


    About creates smart apps for literary and theatre lovers, including the Soliloquy app ( The website is the ultimate free Shakespeare resource with news, reviews, discussion forum, and more. 

  • Announces Falstaff Awards for 2015   - Mon, 01 Feb 2016 01:00:00 -0500
    Falstaff Awards is pleased to announce the nominees and winners for the annual Falstaff Awards for 2015. With's international reach, reviewers worldwide have come together to honor the best in Shakespeare for the year of 2015. The Falstaff Awards recognize extraordinary achievement in the areas of Best Play, Best Director, Best Performance by a Male or Female Actor, among other performance and technical categories.

    2015 saw big film stars go back to their theatrical roots performing Shakespeare. Starring in the title role in the BBC's television series Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch has solidified in recent years his movie star status in blockbusters such as Star Trek, The Hobbit, and The Imitation Game. He is the winner of the Falstaff Award for Best Principal Performance for his portrayal of the anguished Dane in the National Theatre's production of Hamlet.

    Shakespeare auteur Kenneth Branagh jumped back into the the word of live theatre with the launch of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company (KBTC). Branagh brought many of his usual collaborators to create a well-received season of performances starring Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Adrian Lester and others.

    This year's most awarded production was the KBTC's The Winter's Tale. This dreamy production took home four awards, including Best Play, Best Supporting Performance (Judi Dench), Best Lighting Design (Neil Austin), and Best Costume Design (Christopher Oram). It also garnered seven nominations for Best Principal Performance (Kenneth Branagh), Best Supporting Performance (Michael Pennington, Jessie Buckley), Best Director (Rob Ashford), Best Scenic Design (Christopher Oram), Best Sound Design (Patrick Doyle), and Best Choreography (Rob Ashford).

    The Best Director award was a strong category this year with nominees from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre, and KBTC. The standout production for its inventiveness and fresh elements was Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 at the Royal Shakespeare Company, directed by Gregory Doran. Notable nominees include Lyndsey Turner for her stylish production of Hamlet starring Cumberbatch and Joseph Haj for his ambitious adaptation of Pericles in Ashland.

    The big Shakespeare film of the year was Justin Kurzel's Macbeth starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard as the murderous couple. Not without it's flaws, this production (and Fassbender's role in the Steve Jobs film) helped bring a new audience to Shakespeare. Fassbender and Cotillard are a great match in this picturesque adaptation. Shakespeare Uncovered, nominated in the Best Film or DVD category, continued with its second season with well-known actors taking us on a journey through their world of Shakespeare. Christopher Plummer discusses his performance as King Lear, Kim Cattrall shares her experience in twice performing Cleopatra, and Morgan Freeman gives a fascinating account of taking on The Taming of the Shrew?s Petruchio.

    The award for Best Script Adaptation/Dramaturgy goes to Geoff Hoyle and David Ford for their groundbreaking solo production, Lear's Shadow, where Hoyle plays King Lear's fool looking back on the events of the Shakespeare's play and bringing his retrospective insight and manic dark humor to bear on them.

    The Falstaff Awards honor the release of Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary, a beautifully illustrated dictionary by father-son team David and Ben Crystal, which distills their bestselling book Shakespeare's Words into a handy, attractive guide for Shakespeare students and fans. "Yearly" nominations for Best Book, Publication, or Recording include James Shapiro's The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606 and Antony Sher's Year of the Fat Knight: The Falstaff Diaries.

    Of note is the Lear Award for Lifetime Achievement was awarded to Brian Blessed in recognition of his lifelong contribution to Shakespeare performance. Now 79, Blessed spans both stage and screen. He played Old Deuteronomy in the original premiere of the musical Cats (1981) and a number of Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare films such as Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, and As You Like It. In January 2015, Blessed collapsed onstage due to heart problems while playing Lear at the Guildford Shakespeare Company, yet he returned to finish the performance 20 minutes later. He is the oldest man to go to the North Magnetic Pole on foot, and has undertaken an expedition into the jungles of Venezuela, during which he survived a plane crash. 

    "Today's movie stars are embracing Shakespeare's works and bringing then to the mainstream audiences like never before. He has never been more popular or had a wider, global reach than he has today." said Ron Severdia, Founder of "With the upcoming celebration of the 400th anniversary of his death, it's exciting to see how artists are approaching his works in new ways and making them even more relevant to today's audiences than ever before."

    The complete list of nominees and winners can be found at: