ACTING SHAKESPEARE (US 1987)
From Shakespeare with commentary by Ian McKellen
USA Tour, San Francisco, Washington DC, Princeton, LA, Baltimore, Cleveland, San Diego, Boston
3 February 1987 - 18 October 1987
Words from Ian McKellen
The failure of “Wild Honey” on Broadway left me idle and as I had been expecting to be away from home for a season, I decided with the aid of the producer Arthur Cantor to again tour “Acting Shakespeare” across the United States. When Sam Wanamaker heard of my projected tour he slyly suggested that I owed a percentage of the profits to the Globe for whom I had done a benefit with the show. I disagreed, as “Acting Shakespeare” had been developing over nearly a decade and its first presentation in New York had not been a crucial date in its progress.
Arthur was a hands-on producer, following me around a well-worn circuit and checking all was well for my week’s sojourn in each town or indeed for each one-night stand when he, I suspect, liked to get the take in cash, a proportion of which reached me by cheque a week later. It was hard work but I was purged of any regrets about “Wild Honey" ’s demise: I was after all fulfilling my childhood’s fantasy of being on the road, setting up for business, doing the show and then moving on.
The dressing-rooms at the Olney summer theatre were uncomfortable and had no air-conditioning. The same was true of the accommodation for the university students who worked backstage and front-of-house during their long vacations. This was punishing during the muggy Maryland summer heat. We ordered a stack of “Acting Shakespeare” t-shirts which we flogged (and I signed) after each show. The necessary funds were raised. — Ian McKellen, June 2001