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Theater

Local arts organizations organize activities to celebrate William Shakespeare's 451st birthday

| Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 9:01 p.m.
Playwright William Shakespeare
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Playwright William Shakespeare
Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville is one of the sites that Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks performs its productions.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville is one of the sites that Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks performs its productions.

Nobody knows the exact date of William Shakespeare's birth.

The closest record available is that someone named William Shakespeare was baptized at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 26, 1564.

From that, scholars infer that he was born on or near April 23, 1564, and most accept that date for his birthday.

Local arts organizations have organized a virtual week of activities to celebrate the Bard's 451st birthday.

Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks

A Week of Will — eight days of new adventures for Shakespeare friends and fans — will have several events.

• 6:30 p.m. April 20: Mid-Spring Revels begins with appetizers and beverages, followed by dinner at Piccolo Forno, 3801 Butler St., Lawrenceville. Meet Ron Siebert, who will play the title role in “King Lear,” and hear director Jeffrey Chips discuss his production concept. Admission: $75, $65 in advance

• Noon-1 p.m. April 21, Pop-Up Shakespeare, Mellon Park, Downtown: Actors will perform an hour of the Bard's quips, scenes, soliloquies and sonnets. Free

• 12:15-1 p.m. April 23, Shakespeare Statue Tribute, in front of Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland. Join Mrs. Shakespeare and friends in a salute to Will on his 451st birthday, with custom cookies and a floral tribute. Free

• 7-8 p.m. April 24, Twitter Party at Social, 6425 Penn Ave., East End. Interact with others as actor and director Jeff Chips leads the crowd as witty tweets, quips and questions fly around the room, or virtually join in by tweeting to #WOW15PGH.

• 7:30 p.m. April 27, Bring Your Own Bard, Te Cafe, 2000 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill. Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks' monthly event invites fans, actors, academics and interested parties to read their favorite passages from Shakespeare's plays and poems. This month's theme is Shakespeare's financial advice. Admission: $10 suggested donation at the door

In addition, Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks has created two virtual events. Throughout the week, Will's Scavenger Hunt challenges fans to share Shakespearean references, places and people they've discovered around town, in their travels and in the media by tweeting them to #findwill. At 11:59 p.m. April 25, judges will choose two winners — one for the most items found and one for the most unusual. Each winner receives the group's new limited-edition T-shirt.

There's also a Shakespeare Trivia Contest that runs 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 26 on Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks' Facebook page. That winner also receives the new T-shirt.

Details: pittsburghshakespeare.org

Other Bard-related events

• 7 p.m. April 18: Yvonne Hudson will perform “Mrs. Shakespeare, Will's First & Last Love” at the Prime Stage 2nd Stage, 180 Sawmill Run Blvd., Beechview. As Anne Hathaway, Hudson weaves sonnets, soliloquies and songs from some 30 of Shakespeare's works with an intimate account of her marriage to this well-known playwright. A talkback and reception follows. Admission: $20, $15 in advance. Details: primestage.com

• 7 p.m. April 22, Bard's Birthday Bash, hosted by Poet's Corner, at Calvary United Methodist Church, 971 Beech Ave., North Side. Hostess Mrs. Shakespeare is joined by regional Shakespeare performers who present their favorite passages from his plays and poetry. Features members of the Amish Monkeys, Poor Yorick's Players, Unrehearsed Shakespeare Project, South Park Shakespeare and Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Park artists. Cake and refreshments follow. Admission is pay-what-you can optional donation. Details: pittsburghshakespeare.com

• “Othello,” from Pittsburgh Public Theater, April 16 to May 17, at the O'Reilly Theater, Downtown. This timeless tragedy of jealousy, betrayal and heartbreak will play Tuesdays through Sundays. Admission $23 to $62, $15.75 for students and those 26 and younger. At 6 p.m. April 23, the theater's Mix@Six event celebrates Shakespeare's birthday with a pre-show party featuring #ShakespeareSelfies, birthday treats, decor and an “Othello”-themed game. Admission: $30, $25.75 in advance, includes pre-show party with complimentary light bites, beer, tea and coffee plus a ticket to the performance. Details: 412-316-8200, ext. 704, or kconaway@ppt.org

Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808, acarter@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ATCarter_Trib.

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