Go Shakespeare – chic this Valentine’s Day with a romantic Romeo and Juliet outfit inspired by William Shakespeare’s timeless tale of star cross’d lovers. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, prom night, weddings, date night at the theatre, and romantic, starlit rendezvous on your balcony, this elegant outfit features handmade pearl drop jewelry with text from the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene.
I am super excited for the Tony Awards tonight. I love theatre, especially Broadway musicals, and always have a lot of fun watching the Tonys every year. But with an especially talented crop of nominees, this year’s Tony Awards should be amazing. Of course, I expect Hamilton to dominate the night. With a record-breaking 16 nominations, it’s hard to imagine we won’t be seeing a lot of Lin Manuel Miranda’s mega-hit tonight. (Considering how I am utterly obsessed with this show but don’t expect to be get tickets for quite a while, I won’t be mad to get my Hamilton fix during tonight’s ceremony!) But I am also looking forward to seeing how The Color Purple does tonight.
Rob and I saw the show on my birthday and it was incredible. I loved the set and was really interested to see how the minimal amount of props – mostly chairs, baskets, and fabric, were used to convey so much. The cast was amazing. Cynthia Erivo’s voice was simply mind-blowing and she brought both strength and humor to the role of Celie. It’s funny. You don’t often think of humor in connection with The Color Purple. The show, which was based on the Alice Walker novel of the same name, deals with a lot of heavy issues, including domestic abuse and racial violence, but as Celie comes into her own and grows as a character, Erivo really shone at delivering Celie’s wryly humorous comments.
Of course, Erivo had help in bringing humor to the show. I particularly loved the Church Ladies, who as a cross between a Baptist Choir and a Greek Chorus, offered context, commentary, and sass to the proceedings. Danielle Brooks, from Orange is the New Black, obviously had a great time playing Sofia and that came across in her performance. And with the crowd pleasing number, Hell No!, and a lot of the show’s funniest lines, she really had the chance to shine. (This is the second time I have seen an actress from Orange is the New Black perform on Broadway. Rob and I saw Uzo Aduba perform in the recent revival of Godspell a few years back. And if these two ladies are any indication of what to expect, I will be sure to see any Broadway show that features someone from OITNB from here on in.) All in all, The Color Purple was a powerful show that received not one but two standing ovations throughout the evening. And I will be shocked if Cynthia Erivo does not bring home a Tony tonight.
To help tide me over until the Tonys start, I made this little tribute to a classic Broadway musical, My Fair Lady. Great for a day at the Ascot races or seeing a play on Broadway, this outfit was inspired by a dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the film version of the musical. Although Eliza’s outfit in that scene is a dramatic and elegant black and white ensemble, I added one of my Tea With Eliza Doolittle necklaces to the outfit for a pop of color and a little reference to Eliza’s time selling flowers on the streets of London.
After I discovered this list of 7 YA Books That Would Make Excellent Prom Themes from the Barnes and Nobel blog, two things have happened. First of all, I am now officially heartbroken that I will never have the opportunity to attend a Night Circus themed prom. *sob* (Why aren’t book themed proms for 40-something book geeks a thing? I mean, I even have the perfect outfit for a Night Circus prom all picked out!! You know, just in case.) And secondly, I can’t stop thinking of great Bookish Themes For a Totally Awesome Prom. Some of my ideas are somewhat problematic. (I mean, can you imagine a Catcher in the Rye themed prom? No one would show up because Prom is for phonies and would, instead, go and wander NYC for the night. I am not sure if this makes it a great prom theme or a terrible one.) But I did manage to come up with six great prom theme ideas that would make any book geek proud.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This book actually ended up on a list of Terrible Prom Ideas but I respectfully disagree. Despite the fact that the book didn’t end too well for Gatsby, the parties were epic and unforgettable, which is what you want for Prom night. And besides, there is something about Gatsby’s endless obsession with that one perfect moment (and that one perfect girl) from his past that resonates with the whole concept of prom.
The best thing about a Gatsby Prom is getting to pull out your best Gatsby glam. Whether you go full-on flapper fabulous or go with a traditional prom dress with a few Gatsby – themed accessories, like this Great Gatsby Pearl Drop Necklace and Great Gatsby Earrings, you’ll be all set to party with Gatsby.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
A fresh and fun take on the traditional Enchantment Under the Sea prom theme, a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea prom would perfect for lots of cool, Steampunk styling and fashion.
The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowlings
While Harry, Ron, and Hermione were too busy fighting Voldemort to do typical senior year activities like the prom, I am sure that a Hogwarts prom would be nothing short of magical! And if you’re like Ron and would rather skip the dress robes, you can still show off your Hogwarts pride (and carry all your prom night essentials) with this Harry Potter Book Purse by Novel Creations –
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Can you imagine how much fun the prom committee could have creating a world of pure imagination for Prom? Get some Willy Wonka style top hats for the gentleman and lots, and lots, and lots of candy everywhere for an evening (and a sugar rush) you’ll never forget!
The World of Dr. Seuss
Ok. Hear me out on this one. Think about it. If you are going to the prom, most likely you are getting ready to graduate soon. And nothing says graduation like Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. Odds are you will get at least one copy of the book as a graduation present and hear it quoted at least once during graduation itself. So you may as well embrace the inevitable and have a wild and wacky evening to smile about during all those graduation speeches.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Can you imagine a more magical evening than a Shakespeare – themed fairy revel inside an enchanted grove? While my own memories of prom make me think that all the couple drama in the play – including random break ups and hook ups, makes it especially fitting for prom night, the truth is that A Midsummer Night’s Dream, complete with fairy wings for the girls, decorations with a mossy, woodland feel, and lots of fairy lights hung everywhere, would simply be a dream come true.
In two weeks the literary world will celebrate the life and work of William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death but I’ve decided to start the festivities a little early. And so I dedicated this week’s Friday Favorites collection to the Bard and created a treasury of unique Etsy finds inspired by the play, Hamlet. Perfect for book lovers, theatre lovers, actors, teachers and librarians, these wonderful literary gifts are sure to delight your favorite Shakespeare fan. You can also find lovely, handmade Shakespeare jewelry here in the C. S. Literary Jewelry Etsy shop.
Like what you see? Click on any item to see it (or buy it) on Etsy. You can also see the full collection here. Enjoy!
I am not the biggest fan of horror and gore and things that go bump in the night. So when it comes time to find a good book to read for Halloween, I look for something spooky enough that I get into the “spirit” of the season but not so scary that I have to sleep with the lights on. I am currently reading Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes (which I am loving) and I have The October Country lined up as my next read but for my fellow wimps who are looking for some Halloween reading recommendations, here are some of my favorites.
We’ve entered that magical time of year that I like to call the Summer Shakespeare Season. Everywhere I look there are wonderful productions of Shakespeare plays being staged, usually for free, at local arboretums, college campuses, and even out under the stars in the courtyards of old Gold Coast mansions. Most people have heard of the famous Shakespeare in the Park productions that are held at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park but its popularity can mean that it can be hard to get tickets, (I am still bitter that I missed John Lithgow as King Lear last summer), and not everyone lives within easy distance of NYC. But what most people don’t realize is that amazing performances of wonderful plays are most likely being offered in their own neighborhoods.
Last week, Rob and I saw the final performance of The Long Island Shakespeare Festival’s production of As You Like It. We’ve seen several of the LI Shakespeare Festival productions over the years, including Much Ado About Nothing and MacBeth, and we always enjoy them. (If you are in the Long Island area, I definitely recommend you check them out next summer!)
This was the first time either of us had seen As You Like It performed and we enjoyed it from prime seats in the front row. It seems funny to say this, considering how As You Like It is a comedy, but I was really very surprised by how funny the production was. There’s a scene early on in the play where the hero, Orlando, gets into a wrestling match. When I read the play, I really didn’t stop to think of how that would play out on stage, or if I did, I was expecting something straightforward and quick before the actors got back to the real action of the story. This production went a completely different route, making the wrestling match one of the highlights of the play and mixing Wrestlemania – like moves and broad physical comedy that had us in stitches. (Rob particularly liked the slow motion moments in the action sequence.) The rest of the play was also delightful. The heroine of the play, Rosalind was clever, witty, and utterly charming, as was Danielle Guidi, the actress who portrayed her. I particularly enjoyed Rosalind’s efforts to teach Orlando how to woo and love her properly. (I think lots of women would love a chance to school our significant others in how to treat us in the manner we wish to become accustomed to). All in all, it was a wonderful time seeing a wonderful production of a wonderful play and best of all, it was completely free and right around the corner from our home!
I’ve got so much Shakespeare on my mind lately that I designed two new pieces of Shakespeare jewelry, (a necklace with a beautiful Shakespeare quote from the play, The Tempest, and another necklace featuring the opening lines to my favorite Shakespeare Sonnet) and added them to my Etsy shop.
If you are like me and can’t get enough of the Bard, you can see more of my handmade literary jewelry inspired by the works of William Shakespeare – currently on sale for 10% off – here in the C. S. Literary Jewelry Etsy shop. You can also check this week’s Friday Favorites treasury, a magical, Midsummer Night’s Dream – inspired collection of enchanting Etsy finds. Happy reading everyone and I will see thee again anon!
Hello book lovers! Since we are now halfway through the year, I thought this would be a good time to check in with everyone about the CSLJ Book Club and get some feedback about how things are going and what changes, if any, we want to make to the schedule and format.
First things first, are you enjoying the book club? Do you mostly like the books we are reading? And are you having fun?
Do you feel like you have enough time to read the books? Right now, we have five weeks to read each book. Would you like more time / less time?
I am thinking of moving to an every-other-day schedule for our discussion weeks to cut down on the amount of posting everyone has to do and to give us all time to comment and respond to comments. What do you think?
What did you think of the reading list this year? Is there any books (or genre of books) that you would like to see more of? Do you think we should stick to novels and books or would you be interested in branching out into plays, short stories, and/or poetry?
Do you have any suggestions on how to make the book club more fun?
Also, since we only have four books left on our reading schedule, I’d like to start getting an idea of what books we want to read in 2016. Over the past few months, we have gotten some great book recommendations and I have compiled them into a list, along with a few books that I would be interested in reading. We can definitely add to the list so if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know, but here is the list so far. We have 8 slots to fill so please leave a comment and let me know which books sound interesting to you.
I also thought it would be fun to count down my Top 10 Performances in a William Shakespeare play or film. Here are my favorites:
Alan Cummings – Macbeth
I was fortunate enough to see Alan Cumming’s one-man production of the “Scottish play” for my birthday a few years back. The production was creepy and fascinating and Alan Cumming’s production was nothing short of memorizing. Despite the staggering amount of stamina and emotion that the part demanded, Cummings’ commitment and intensity never flagged and his portrayal of MacBeth, full of sound, fury, and madness, was unforgettable.
I don’t know if we realized it at the time but Mel Gibson had all the qualities necessary to portray the moody Prince Hamlet with just the right mix of good looks, charm, talent, and being more than a little troubled.
Emma Thompson – Beatrice
Although there have been some wonderful productions of Much Ado About Nothing, (one of my favorite Shakespeare plays), Emma Thompson is the quintessential Beatrice and captures the wit and sassiness of this wonderful heroine so beautifully.
Nathan Fillion – Dogberry
There was a lot to love in Joss Whedon’s recent adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing but Nathan Fillion’s performance as the hilariously incompetent Dogberry is one of the best things about the film. Rather than take the role over the top into the realm of slapstick, Fillion played Dogberry’s buffoonery in such a way that it reminded me of far too many people I knew in real life.
Stanley Tucci – Puck
In a film with an amazing cast full of stars, Stanley Tucci’s performance as the merry trickster, Puck, stands out. I am a big Stanley Tucci fan and love almost everything I have ever seen him in but his performance as Puck is one of my favorites.
Kevin Klein – Bottom
Another highlight of the Much Ado About Nothing film was Keven Klein as Bottom. Klein’s portrayal made Bottom the ultimate ex-boyfriend – the sort of loud, braying ass that you are embarrassed to admit you fell for but with just enough charm that you can kinda see why you did. But my favorite part of the performance was the wistful glance he gives a statue of Titania after the night was over, acknowledging how magical the moment they had together was for him and mourning how it was over.
Kenneth Branagh – Iago
To be honest, I could have put Kenneth Branagh on this list several times over by now. He has acted in and directed so many wonderful Shakespeare adaptations. His performance of Benedict opposite Emma Thomspon’s Beatrice was amazing. And there’s this speech:
But my favorite Branagh performance is as Iago in Othello. Branagh plays the two-faced villain so perfectly that it becomes all too easy to see how Othello could fall victim to his treachery and betrayal.
Among Shakespeare fans, Baz Lurhmann is well-known for giving us the manic, modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.
Although this production is one of the more polarizing adaptations I know of, it isn’t the reason I included him on this list. Instead, it’s Moulin Rouge that has earned Lurhmann his space here. While it’s not an adaptation of any specific play and I have never heard Lurhmann say that he had Shakespeare in mind when creating the film, I have never seen a modern story so perfectly fit the mold that Shakespeare created for his own plays. From the sad prologue opening of a Feste – like Toulouse singing Nature Boy to the play within a play structure, it is a tale of star cross’d lovers, mistaken identities, poetry and tragedy and comedy provided by the Falstaffian Harold Zidler all mixed together, Moulin Rouge play like a lost Shakespeare play, at least in my humble opinion.
Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey – Romeo and Juliet
The first production I ever saw of any Shakepeare play was the Franco Zeffirelli film of Romeo and Juliet starring Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. My mother rented it for me on my 13th birthday and I instantly developed an insane crush of Leonard Whiting’s Romeo and a life-long love of Shakespeare.
The entire cast of Shakespeare In Love
Although I originally intended to limit this list to adaptions and performances of actual plays and not open it up to movies based on Shakespeare and his plays, I really couldn’t leave Shakespeare in Love off the list. The entire film is a Shakespeare fan’s delight and had some amazing performances in it. I particularly loved Geoffrey Rush as the theatre owner, Mr. Henslowe and Ben Affleck as Ned Alleyn (and Mercutio). My only problem with the film is that I am not used to looking at Colin Firth as the guy that I don’t want the girl to end up with! After so many years of crushing on his Mr. Darcy, I have trouble getting my head around the concept. But Judi Dench’s hilarious performances a Elizabeth I more than makes up for that one minor little problem.
I hope you enjoyed my Top Ten Shakespeare Play and Movie Performances and I would love to hear from you! Which Shakespeare plays are your favorite and what performances, productions, and films would you add to the list? Leave a comment and let me know.