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Another Great Shakespeare Theatre Gala

Kudos once again to Michael Kahn and the Shakespeare Theatre for producing another spectacular Gala. This year’s Will Award went to the talented and beautiful Elizabeth McGovern. Today many only think of her in the role of Cora, the Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey. But she has had a great and varied career on the stage and the big screen a well. After studying with Michael Kahn at the Julliard School Ms. McGovern went on to act in a number of Shakespeare Plays as part of the acclaimed Joseph Papp series Shakespeare in the Park and while continuing to do Shakespeare she starred in the film Ordinary People and received an Academy Award nomination for her role as Evelyn Nesbit in Ragtime.

The Gala began with a brunch at the residence of British Ambassador and Lady Westmacott who served as honorary chairs of the Gala and were charming hosts. The performance that evening at Harman Hall where the Will award was presented to Ms. McGovern was directed by the talented Alan Paul, Associate Artistic Director at the Shakespeare Theatre. The show began with Master of Ceremonies Edward Hibbert singing a Noel Coward song, A Bar on the Piccola Marina. It went on to feature incredible performances including that of twelve year old cellist Sujari Britt.

One of the highlights of the evening was a pas de deux performed by Joffrey Ballet dancers Victoria Jaiani and Fabrice Calmels which mesmerized the audience. Then we were treated to readings by some of Shakespeare Theatre’s great women performers including Colleen Delany, Francesca Faridany, Gretchen Hall and Miriam Silverman. Not to be forgotten are the men of the Shakespeare Theater company represented by among others the very talented Tom Story who will be appearing next in their production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

The Gala Co-chairs Marla and Nick Allard have long been stalwarts in promoting the Shakespeare Theatre and working to ensure that through the Theatre’s education programs future generations will continue to enjoy Shakespeare. We heard from Board Chair Michael Klein who presented the Sidney Harman Award for Philanthropy in the Arts to KPMG for their continued generosity.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company is the jewel in the crown of the Washington D.C. theater scene. They continue to grow and are one of the great Shakespeare Theatre companies of the world. I would suggest that everyone take an evening and visit one of their two theaters, either the beautiful Harman Hall or the venerable Lansburgh Theater which because of the work of many is now assured of being a venue for the company in perpetuity. And by the way the Shakespeare Theatre Company has now been given the naming rights to that theatre and anyone with an extra ten or twenty million dollars or more can have the theater named for them. What a way to guarantee being a part of Washington’s history in such a good way. Visit Shakespeare Theatre Company and purchase a ticket to a show today.