From Shakespeare with commentary by Ian McKellen

USA Tour, San Francisco, Washington DC, Princeton, LA, Baltimore, Cleveland, San Diego, Boston

3 February 1987 - 18 October 1987


Words from Ian McKellen

The failure of "Wild Honey" on Broadway left me idle and as I had been expecting to be away from home for a season, I decided with the aid of the producer Arthur Cantor to again tour "Acting Shakespeare" across the United States. When Sam Wanamaker heard of my projected tour he slyly suggested that I owed a percentage of the profits to the Globe for whom I had done a benefit with the show. I disagreed, as "Acting Shakespeare" had been developing over nearly a decade and its first presentation in New York had not been a crucial date in its progress.

Arthur was a hands-on producer, following me around a well-worn circuit and checking all was well for my week's sojourn in each town or indeed for each one-night stand when he, I suspect, liked to get the take in cash, a proportion of which reached me by cheque a week later. It was hard work but I was purged of any regrets about "Wild Honey" 's demise: I was after all fulfilling my childhood's fantasy of being on the road, setting up for business, doing the show and then moving on.

The dressing-rooms at the Olney summer theatre were uncomfortable and had no air-conditioning. The same was true of the accommodation for the university students who worked backstage and front-of-house during their long vacations. This was punishing during the muggy Maryland summer heat. We ordered a stack of "Acting Shakespeare" t-shirts which we flogged (and I signed) after each show. The necessary funds were raised. — Ian McKellen, June 2001

Comments and Reviews

3 February "2 March: Marine's Memorial Theatre, San Francisco

10- 15 March: National Theatre, Washington DC

24 March: Princeton University, New Jersey

21 April "17 May: Westwood Playhouse, Westwood, Los Angeles

19 May "7 June: Marine's Memorial Theatre, San Francisco

30 June "26 July: Olney Theatre, Maryland

7 September "3 October: Charles Theatre, Boston, Mass

6-11 October: Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, California

12-18 October: Cleveland Playhouse, Cleveland, Ohio

"If you can buy yourself one thing for Christmas, buy a ticket for Ian McKellen's 'Acting Shakespeare.' It's legendary!" — Hollywood Reporter

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Banner photo: Programme, Washington DC Photo by: -



Next Play: ACTING SHAKESPEARE (London 1987)