Birthday Bard

Today marks the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth. You wanna get the old man a gift? Sit down and read ten of his plays before the end of the month -- it's the best kind of present, because it rewards the giver as well. But if you want to go all out, see ten of his plays before the year's end. Shakespeare Festival St. Louis makes this easy with Shake-38, a community celebration of the supreme playwright. The party starts at 6 p.m. tonight at Shakespeare Festival headquarters (5715 Elizabeth Avenue; www.sfstl.com). Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra, which composed all the music for last summer's excellent production of Twelfth Night in Forest Park, performs a new composition that's inspired by Love's Labour's Lost. After that comes the cake and Champagne. The best part? It's free. The next four days are filled with free performances of all 38 of Shakespeare's plays throughout the city; check the website for a full listing.
Wed., April 23, 6 p.m., 2014

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