On April 23 was an auspicious date for playwright William Shakespeare. He is believed to have been born on that date in 1564, and is also believed to have died on that date in 1616, exactly 400 years ago today. Some sources say he died at age 52 “of a fever” but, like so much in Shakespeare's life beyond his playscripts, that remains in doubt as well.
He had retired about six years earlier, meaning that all 37 plays that the world reveres (mainly) today were written between the time he came to London in his early 20s, and when he put down the quill and retired to his hometown of Stratford-on-Avon at age 46.
Some clips from outstanding recent Shakespearean performances, including Mark Rylance, Raul Esparza, Lily Rabe, John Lithgow, Al Pacino and Chuck Cooper, plus, just for fun, a different take on the Bard, from the Broadway musical Something Rotten!, with Christian Borle showing off his Tony-winning performance as Shakespeare himself.
Tony-winner Mark Rylance and the 2013 Broadway revival of Twelfth Night:
Raul Esparza, Lily Rabe and Patrick Page in scenes from the Public Theatre's 2015 Cymbeline:
Lily Rabe as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing in Central Park (2014):
Chuck Cooper and the cast of the 2013 Broadway revival of Romeo and Juliet:
The Public Theatre's 2014 Central Park production of King Lear with John Lithgow:
The Public Theatre's 2013 Central Park production of The Comedy of Errors:
Al Pacino on Broadway in 2011 as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice:
Highlights from the Stratford Festival's 2012 The Merry Wives of Windsor:
Christian Borle as William Shakespeare in 2015's Something Rotten! on Broadway: