#TheBardGoesWest: America’s Shakespeare at the L.A. Central Library

OK, a bit off track today.

Yesterday, I went down to LA to check out the exhibit “America’s Shakespeare: The Bard Goes West” at the Los Angeles Public Library, Central Branch…

The Bard Goes West: America’s Shakespeare (LA Central Library through February 26, 2017)

The exhibit contains a First Folio, artifacts from Shakespeare’s history in America (from playbills from the earliest Shakespeare performances in the States, to an actual recording of Edwin Booth doing Othello–which was great to compare to their recording of Paul Robeson in the same role–to movie memorabilia), as well as West Coast- and California-specific pieces (like coverage of the Max Reinhardt A Midsummer Night’s Dream that began as a staging at the Hollywood Bowl and become a feature-length film).

The Bard Goes West: interior of exhibit
The Bard Goes West: exhibit introduction

It’s not a huge exhibit, but a fun one all the same (at least for a Shakespeare nerd like me). Even if you read everything there, I’m not sure you’d spend more than an hour there.

Here’s the playbill for the first American performance of Much Ado, The Theatre in New York City, in 1787.
Check out the “signing” of the playbill: not “Vivat Rex” (or “Long live the King”), but “Vivat Respublica” (“Long live the Republic”).

This was originally an exhibit at the Folger Library in Washington, D.C., but as it concerns the west coast, Los Angeles got a chance to host it afterwards. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, it’s worth a visit…it’s free (save for parking), and will run through the end of February.

The Bard Goes West: a UCLA theatrical program from 1950, for a student production of Macbeth…with James Dean as Malcolm!
Go Bruins!

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