bard at the park

New Shakespeare movie festival takes stage at Miller Outdoor Theatre

New Shakespeare movie festival takes stage at Miller Outdoor Theatre

Romeo + Juliet movie dicaprio
Catch Leo and Claire in Romeo + Juliet Photo courtesy of University of Houston

Sure, theater fans love The Bard onstage, but a good movie version is just plain popcorn fun. With that in mind, the University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance is offering screenings of favorite Shakespeare film adaptations.

Appropriately dubbed “Shakespeare Night at the Movies,” the series runs nightly from Tuesday, August 3 through Saturday, August 7 at Miller Outdoor Theatre.

This summertime series is actually an offshoot of the annual Houston Shakespeare Festival (HSF). Pivoting from onstage productions that pair a history-based title with a comedy, the fest is instead showcasing five works that cover a full range of Shakespeare’s styles, per a press release.

All showings begin at 8:30 pm and are free and open to the public. The schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday, August 3: Henry V (1989)
  • Wednesday, August 4: Throne of Blood (1957)
  • Thursday, August 5: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935)
  • Friday, August 6: Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
  • Saturday, August 7: Romeo + Juliet (1996)

“One way to look at this season of films is that we are starting with two of the classic Kenneth Branagh films, Henry V for the serious one; Much Ado About Nothing for comedy,” explained Rob Shimko, HSF executive director and theater historian, in a press release.

“Then there’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream starring James Cagney and Olivia DeHavilland for those who favor classic Hollywood; Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood, the Japanese adaptation of Macbeth for the real serious film buffs. Then we’ll round out the festival with Baz Lurhmann’s stylish Romeo + Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes and its incredible music score.”

Fans can also expect Shimko’s “Bard Talks” before each showing, which provide background on each film.

Stage snobs take note: HSF plans to re-start the company’s traditional season of live performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre in 2022, beginning with productions of King Lear and Cymbeline.