This past Friday was BritWeek, which celebrated the outstanding work done in Shakespeare education by Los Angeles’ Hobart Elementary Shakespeareans and L.A.’s Inner City Shakespeare Company. The evening was written and directed by producer Louis Fantasia, Director of Shakespeare at the Huntington and Dean of the Chair of Liberal Arts at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles.
Among the highlights were Harry Hamlin’s full–out out performance of the St Crispin day’s speech from HENRY V (complete sword an drop), as touchingly rendered sonnets performed by Jane Seymour and Joan Van Ark. Malcolm McDowell reprised with gusto Prospero’s speech from THE TEMPEST, which he had last performed with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic and Michael York closed the evening with a heart–felt reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnet # 116 (“Let me not to the marriage of true minds…)
“Congratulations Louis on a spectacular show. It was a pleasure to share the stage and the backstage with such an extraordinary cast and crew,” said actor Harry Hamlin. “The music and the poetry, the camaraderie, and the talent. A lovely night! Thank you.”
Music was provided by London–based conductor Martin Neary, whose Millennium Consort singers gave a world–class sampling of 400 years of Shakespeare influenced music. Jazz artist Sherry Williams complemented the classical sound with jazz settings of Shakespeare by Cleo Laine and Johndankworth.
Full cast included Ashley Bell, Neil Dickson, Alexandra Helgerson (understudy for Judy Geeson) Victoria Platt, Robert Wisdom, Claudia Christian, David Melville, Michele Greene, Mira Furlan, Sophie Winkleman, Suzan Crowley and Nigel Daly.
Theater guests included: BritWeek Chairman Bob Peirce and Sharon Harroun Peirce, Nigel Lythgoe, Lord Frederick Windsor, Michael Nouri, Roger and Julie Corman, Amanda Eliasch, Ross King, Pat York, Holly Palance, and Mag Scott, CEO Beverly Hills Wealth Management, the performance sponsor, with astronaut David Scott. Aston Martin sponsored the VIP after cast party.