Monday, April 25, 2016

Ioan Gruffudd & Joely Fisher hosts “MURDER, LUST & MADNESS,” Passages from Shakespeare on BritWeek’s Tenth Anniversary.

By Laura Medina

 Joely Fisher & Ioan Gruffudd hosting Britweek's Opening Night, always celebrating The Bard.

This scribe covered Britweek far longer than Coachella, guess this scribe came in at the right time for the mega-festival.

Coming back to covering the Opening Night of this year's Britweek is like returning home.

Yes, it is a Britweek tradition to kick off the fourteen-days celebration with the Bard.  Then again, there wouldn't be a Britweek, British acting, or Hollywood historically economically supporting Shakespearean actors that formed the backbone of Hollywood, without William Shakespeare.

If it weren't for his prose, Iambic pentameter, and his witty Double entendres and winky limericks (in fact, there wouldn't be any Prince if it weren't for Shakespeare's groundbreaking Double entendres and limericks regarding risque subject matters and dirty jokes), there wouldn't be oratory as we know it.

Here's to William Shakespeare on advancing the English language and culture to what we know it, taking something common and even, dirty then making it special and eloquent.

This is why Britweek always start off with celebrating The Bard on Opening The Wallis Annenberg Theater in Beverly Hills.

The perennial hosts, Ioan Gruffudd and Joely Fisher, showed their love and admiration for The Bard, alongside Anglophile Americans, such as...

Harry Hamlin and Michael York...

Stacey Keach...

Joan van Ark...

"Ms. Pattemore from "Downton Abbey, " aka Lesley Nicols...

There was more to “MURDER, LUST & MADNESS,” British and American actor orating Shakespearean passages and lines.

Shakespeare was so lyrically iambic pentameter that Broadway songwriter, Stephen Sondheim and American conductor, Leonard Bernstein, took Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" and turned into "Westside Story," the Americanized "Romeo & Juliet."

Ballet dancers, Jim Nowakowski and Isabella Seo danced to "Romeo & Juliet" while operatic singer and a soprano, Randy Guiaya and Jen Lee sang "West Side Story."

The modern jazz take didn't end there.

R&B/Jazz singer, Sherry Williams sang excerpts from the Shakespeare Songbook, "O Mistress Mine; It Was a Lover and His Lass; and Dunsinane Blues," accompanied on piano by Derrick Lowe.

It wasn't all so dignified and stiff.

The panche-y pun of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" comedy finished off the celebration.  It's Shakespeare doing slap-stick for the working class Renaissance audience during his day.  Still silly-dilly today as it was yesterday.

The real celebration didn't happen until 11pm, Saturday night, when Macallan Whiskey kicked off the AfterParty.  The whiskey, not the tea, was free-flowing.

Cheers to the Bard!

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