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Shakespeare “Plays On” Until June 28

5 reasons to see 'Sing for Your Shakespeare' at the Westport Country Playhouse this season!

L-R: Britney Coleman, Karen Akers, Stephen DeRosa (foreground), Constantine Germanacos, Darius de Haas, and Laurie Wells in “Sing for Your Shakespeare,” directed by Mark Lamos, at Westport Country Playhouse, now playing, extended through June 28.

Photo by Carol Rosegg

“If music be the food of love, play on,” declares the cast of 6 at the beginning of director Mark Lamos’ latest Westport Country Playhouse venture. Accompanied by a rocking pit band comprised of 7 members, Sing for Your Shakespeare turns a very lucky 13 performers into Shakespeare experts and enthusiasts for all the audience to enjoy.

A night of sonnets, song, dance, comedy, and even stage combat awaits those who fill Westport Country Playhouse’s plush red seats this June. Against a literal backdrop of William Shakespeare’s famous words, the cast of Sing for Your Shakespeare gives a spritely spin to the playwright’s sonnets and the musical scores inspired by them. Favorite numbers from Kiss Me Kate and West Side Story call for just as much toe tapping and knee slapping as a jazz rendition of Sonnet 40 and outlandish musical parody of Hamlet.         

Whether you developed a distaste for trying to comprehend wordy William in high school, or are a seasoned Shakespeare fanatic, this production, conceived by Wayne Barker, Deborah Grace Winer, and Lamos himself, is truly a delectable musical treat. With the brassy band, performers’ powerful pipes, and killer comedic timing, it is no wonder that its run has already been extended to June 28.  

Here are 5 reasons why you should “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” at this production this June:

1.) Stephen DeRosa - You may know him as Eddie Cantor on HBO’s highly addicting Boardwalk Empire, or you may have seen him in his recent stints on Broadway in Betrayal and The Nance. Regardless, DeRosa provides a master class to all those who witness his works. In Sing for Your Shakespeare, he breaks hearts with his rendition of “What is a Youth?” and teases funny bones as a bawdy, boozey Billy Shakespeare in “Shakespeare Song.”  

2.) Robert Wierzel’s lighting design – It comes as no surprise that lighting designer Robert Wierzel has a Tony nomination for FELA! under his belt, as well as a current work on the Great White Way: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, starring the great Audra McDonald, to be precise. Wierzel incorporates kaleidoscopic colors that are just as vibrant as the cast that they illuminate.     

3.) The ladies – The great Karen Akers, songbird Britney Coleman, and firecracker Laurie Wells give a whole new meaning to the term “triple threat.” These ladies’ pipes pack a punch and are not to be missed.

4.) Darius de Haas’ contagious charisma – From the opening number to final curtain, Darius de Haas has the audience on their feet with his incredible vocals and one-liners. He’s like the cool Shakespeare teacher you’ve always wanted.

5.) Constantine Germanacos’ rendition of “Maria” from West Side Story – Whether you’re a Shark or a Jet, you’ll have to agree that the hunky Constantine Germanacos would make the perfect Tony. 

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