Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles presents co-chairs Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks and a rhinestone-studded roster of celebrities reading Shakespeare's bawdiest comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor for its 21st Simply Shakespeare fundraiser. Celebrity readers include Christina Applegate, Kenneth Branagh, Faith Hill, Eric Idle, Arte Johnson, Eugene Levy, Tim McGraw, William Shatner, Martin Short, Tracey Ullman. The evening also features live music from country superstar Reba McEntire, and progressive bluegrass musicians Sara and Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek.Look at that cast line-up!
We were hoping to find some photos or videos, but alas, there are none to be seen. We did, however, find some great reviews. Bill, naturally, killed. Here are some highlights:
What a fantastic event! Where else can you get such a diverse cast?!?! William Shatner as Falstaff...I never thought William Shatner when I think William Shakespeare, but he magically fit, pompous and pudgy!
Shatner - hillarious as Falstaff - worked his behind off, dressing as old woman, hiding in a laundry basket and getting beat up by fairies...........
Bill Shatner outstanding as Falstaff
Martin Short is a firework of fun and Arte Johnson, Tom Hanks, William Shatner, and Reba - the whole cast - make this the best Shakespearean comedy ever!
holy crap. i was cracking up the ENTIRE TIME. martin short, tom hanks and shatner were amazing. seriously a good time.
The principals, Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson, Tracey Ullman & Kenneth Branagh, along with William Shatner (as Falstaff) were superb, with Artie Johnson & Martin Short providing over-the-top comedy schtick.And here's another great review, plus a pic:
Monday night's "Merry Wives of Windsor" reading at UCLA was one-third Shakespeare, one-third country standards sung by Reba McEntire, and one-third ad libs by Tom Hanks and Martin Short.
And just about everybody on stage at Royce Hall wore a cowboy hat, except Kenneth Branagh's Master Ford, who seemed to have wandered in from another production, if not another continent.
No one gave the word "adieu" more twang than McEntire's Margaret, prompting Hanks' Master Page to remark, "It's like she's affected half the cast with her dialect."
The show did stick to the Bard when it came to William Shatner's Falstaff, who delivered the grand finale in drag, looking like "the witch of Brentwood," as Rita Wilson's Mistress Ford put it.