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AlanIt has just been announced that Alan Gordon has won the 2013 Kleban Prize for Most Promising Musical Theatre Librettist. Congratulations, Alan!!!

Alan Gordon wrote the book and lyrics to two full-length musicals with composer Mark Sutton-Smith. The Usual had its premiere at the Williamston Theatre in Michigan in 2012, receiving eight Pulsar nominations from the Lansing City Pulse, and a special Wilder Award from Encore Michigan. Girl Detective received a Citation for Special Merit from the Academy for New Musical Theater, was this year’s selection for Western Kentucky University’s Before Broadway program, and a selection of the Stages New Musical Program in Chicago. He recently completed The United States of Us with composer Joy Son. Alan is also an essayist and fiction writer. Eight of his Fools’ Guild mystery novels have been published by St. Martin’s Minotaur Books, and have been translated into five languages [correctly, he hopes]. His short fiction and essays have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, the most recent in Living With Shakespeare from Vintage Press (Hooray! That’s us!). He is a two-time StorySlam winner at The Moth, and supports all of these activities as a public defender with the Legal Aid Society in NYC. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College, where he received the Potter Award for Fiction, and the University of Chicago School of Law. He lives in Queens with his wife and ballroom dance partner, Judy Downer, and their son, Robert.

Shakespeare PrintHow truly surprising that the imagination of one person could continue to be such a source of joy, inspiration, controversy, wisdom, sappiness, redemption….and words. In celebration of the day, here are three new printed happenings in connection with the collection.

Big Think has reprinted F. Murray Abraham’s essay, “Searching for Shylock”.

Here’s an interview with me conducted by Matt Dorville at Critics & Writers.

And here’s a new review of the book in the Austin Chronicle, which concludes…

“The thing is, if this Shakespeare stuff has meaning for you, you’re going to find yourself yearning for more of it, and if you can’t get it on a stage, you might as well get it from something that will deepen your appreciation of the plays themselves and the ways in which they are breathed into life. This collection is a satisfying way to feed your desire for more Bardishness, and on the day that the world celebrates the Swan of Avon’s birth, doesn’t it make sense to improve the way you’re living with Shakespeare?”

Our thanks go to the reviewer, Robert Faires, for his kind and encouraging words!

Thanks to David Luhrmann for his review and for referring to the book as “a meaningful new collection” in the Milwaukee Express. The full review can be read here.


The reviews are in for David Farr’s Royal Shakespeare Production of Hamlet.

“David Farr’s production has a wild inventiveness”

“A thrilling vision of the play”

“Jonathan Slinger seizes the day as Hamlet in David Farr’s new production”
Evening Standard

And here’s a radio interview with David Farr.

The production will be in Stratford-upon-Avon through September 28, 2013.


James - Eels

James Prosek’s documentary on eels aired on the PBS Nature series this week, and can be seen here: The Mystery of Eels.

Here, too, is a special video, Painting with Eels.

And here’s an excerpt from his book, Eels.

Eels appear several times in metaphors throughout Shakespeare’s Collected Works. Here’s a passage from The Taming of the Shrew:

“Well, come, my Kate; we will unto your father’s
Even in these honest mean habiliments;
Our purses shall be proud, our garments poor;
For ’tis the mind that makes the body rich;
And as the sun breaks through the darkest clouds,
So honour peereth in the meanest habit.
What, is the jay more precious than the lark
Because his feathers are more beautiful?
Or is the adder better than the eel 
Because his painted skin contents the eye?
O no, good Kate; neither art thou the worse
For this poor furniture and mean array.”

Come join us at the National Arts Club this Monday, April 22, at 7:30 pm, for a discussion sponsored by the Shakespeare Guild. The event is free and open to the public, but to be sure to have a seat reserved please write to John Andrews from the Shakespeare Guild: shakesguild@msn.com

The topic will be to do with how different kinds of creators and interpreters find their way into character. I’ll be speaking with the very special guests:


- Karin Coonrod (director and teacher)




- Alan Gordon (novelist and librettist)




- Jess Winfield (performer and novelist)








And a starred review!

Living with Shakespeare: Essays by Writers, Actors, and Directors - edited by Susannah Carson (Vintage) – In this lively and stimulating volume, an esteemed (and in many instances, famous) group of actors, directors, authors, academics, and others share insights and experiences about their relationship to Shakespeare’s literary and dramatic inheritance.

Here’s the list of Best New Books for this week. And here it is on the Huffington Post.

The full review at Publishers Weekly can be read here.

franco_shakespeare-620x412Here’s James Franco’s essay on his artistic genealogy, which goes back to Shakespeare’s Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, at Salon; the piece was reprinted under the title “James Franco: I’m Obsessed with My Own Private Idaho”.

The excerpt was recognized in USA Today, too:

James Franco writes about his love of Shakespeare and Gus Van Sant’s indie film My Own Private Idaho, which is loosely based on Henry IV. “Shakespeare created 1,222 characters, and none of them are incidental: all are fully individuated. It is very moving to think about a side character, one out of all of these Shakespearean characters, then being given the spotlight,” he writes in the excerpt from the book Living with Shakespeare, published on Salon.”


51iLhl8mmwL._SL500_SS500_In celebration of today’s publication of Living with Shakespeare: Essays by Writers, Actors, and Directors:

- David Farr’s essay “The Sea Change” was republished as “The Old Man and the Sea” in The Daily Beast;

- There’s an interview with the novelist entitled “Jane Smiley Forgives Shakespeare At Last” in the St. Louis Magazine;

- And the first part of an article I wrote called Finding Shakespeare in Film appeared today on Random House’s site Word & Film.

Thanks to all the contributors for their hard work, and thanks to all the reviewers for their kind words!

-Susannah Carson