Arts and Culture / Magazine Feature

‘Sweet William’ comes to Newman Center Sept. 12

Shakespeare devotee Michael Pennington will start off the sixth annualNewman Center Presents series Sept. 12 at the Byron Theatre with his one-man show Sweet William.

American audiences may recognize Pennington from his role as Moff Jerjerrod in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, however, the British-born actor/director has a comprehensive knowledge of Shakespeare.

Pennington estimates that he’s spent more than 20,000 hours on stage performing Shakespearean dramas. In 1986 he founded the English Shakespeare Company.

Sweet William incorporates text from Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets with facts and speculation about the playwright’s life. Pennington also includes anecdotes from his life on stage and his personal insights into the deeper meanings of Shakespeare’s work.

Stephen Seifert, executive director of the Newman Center, describes Sweet William as a “celebration of Shakespeare” on the part of Pennington.

Sweet William premiered to favorable reviews at the Chester Literature Festival in Chester, England in 2006.

On the day of the performance, DU theater Professor Rick Barbour will conduct a master class at noon for DU theater students. He’ll also give the “Behind the Curtain” lecture at 6:30 p.m. before the main event, which begins at 7:30 p.m.

Sweet William is supported by Trustee Joy Burns, Chancellor Emeritus Daniel Ritchie and the DU Theater Departmentand is presented in collaboration with the Colorado Festival of World Theatre.

Tickets for the event are $15; parking is $6.

Tickets can be purchased through Newman CenterRitchie Center and TicketMaster box offices. For more information, call the Newman Center at 303-871-7720.

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