On Friday April 25, the stars came out to celebrate William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday as part of Britweek – LA’s celebration of all things British

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April 28, 2014

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On Friday April 25, the stars came out to celebrate
William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday
as part of Britweek – LA’s celebration of all things British.

April 28, 2014 — Los Angeles, CA. Co–hosts Ioan Gruffudd and Joely Fisher good–naturedly romped through bits and pieces of AS YOU LIKE IT, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and ROMEO AND JULIET, while seamlessly threading the mix of sonnets, monologues, scenes and music that made up the evening.

From L–R: (Top row) Michele Greene, Nigel Daly, Sophie Winkleman, Victoria Platt, Ioan Gruffudd, Joely Fisher, Robert Wisdom, Louis Fantasia, Jane Seymour, Ross King, Alexandra Helgerson, Sherry Williams, Malcolm McDowell, Mira Furlan (Bottom Row) Suzan Crowley, Harry Hamlin, Ashley Bell, Michael York and Neil Dickson attend BritWeek’s Evening Of Shakespeare, Music & Love on April 25, 2014 in Santa Monica, California.
(Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images)

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 by performed by Jane Seymour (# 23) and Joan Van Ark (#18). 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…)

Photographs from BritWeek’s Evening of Shakespeare, Music & Love

More photographs from Evening of Shakespeare ©Rex Gelert

Harry Hamlin spoke for all the actors after the preformance, “Congratulations Louis on a spectacular show. It was a pleasure to share the stage and the backstage with such an extraordinary cast and crew. 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.

Co–host Ioan Gruffodd, Joely Fisher and director Louis Fantasia
(Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images)

Joely Fisher watches Harry Hamlin perform Henry V
(Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images)

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.

Suzan Crowley, Malcolm McDowell, Martin Neary, Harry Hamlin, The Hobart Elementary Shakespeareans and the Inner City Shakespeare Ensemble – ©Rex Gelert

David Melville, Claudia Christian, Malcolm McDowell taking a selfie at BritWeek’s Evening of Shakespeare Music & Love
©Rex Gelert

Part of the proceeds of the evening are going to support the work of the Inner City Shakespeare Ensemble and The Hobart Elemantary Shakespeareans, two dynamic inner city Shakespeare programs.

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 NY Film Academy.

Britweek is proudly supported by our sponsors.

May 3 & 4 BritWeek’s 3rd Street Promonade Festival in Santa Monica 10 – 6 PM.

BritWeek is a non–profit organization that hosts a program of events every Spring to promote British creativity, innovation and excellence across multiple categories including, film & television, music, art, fashion, design, retail, sport, philanthropy, business, and more. The events take place throughout Greater Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, and now also Miami! For more information visit www.britweek.org.

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