Shakespeare 400 Years On: Part 1

atkins bookshelf shakespeareIs this an infographic which I see before me? To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Time magazine writers Sarah Begley and Merrill Fabray collaborated with designer Heather Jones to create a brilliant, colorful infographic packed with amusing factoids highlighting the Bard’s enduring impact on culture. Titled, “Will’s Testament, 400 Years On,” the infographic lists each of Shakespeare’s plays in the order they were published (more or less), surrounded by relevant trivia. Like one of the Swan of Avon’s plays, it takes some time to read and digest. Bookshelf presents Time’s list of 36 plays broken up into tasty morsels of nine plays in four parts. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to praise Shakespeare, not dismiss him, with thy trivia:

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
1762: Theatre manager, Benjamin Victor, rewrote and produced early versions of the play
1826: Franz Schubert wrote “Who is Sylvia?” based on Proteus’ serenade to Silvia

The Taming of the Shrew
1978: Cole Porter, Samuel Spewack, and Bella Spewack adapt play into a musical, Kiss Me, Kate
1999: Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith adapt the play into the movie 10 Things I Hate About You
2016: Anne Tyler adapts the play into a novel, Vinegar Girl

Henry VI, Parts I-III
1963: John Barton adapts the play into a heavily politicized theatrical production
1965: Robin Midgley and Michael Hayes directed all three plays, broadcast on BBC 1

Titus Andronicus
1999: Julie Taymor adapted the play into the movie Titus
2005: An punk/indie band from Glen Rock, New Jersey adopted the name

Richard III
1961: Inspired the title of John Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent
1955: Laurence Olivier adapts the play as a film, Richard III, playing the lead role; it is considered the best movie adaptation of Shakespeare’s plays.

The Comedy of Errors
1938: Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart adapt the play as a musical, The Boys From Syracuse
2000: Jordan Allen-Utton, Jason Catalano, GQ, and Erik Weiner adapted the play into a hip hop performance (part play, party rap concert)

Love’s Labour’s Lost
1947: The play is referenced in Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann
2007: A performance of the play is featured in a Doctor Who episode

Richard II
1595: The earliest recorded performance commissioned by Sir Robert Cecil, the 1st Earl of Salisbury, performed at a private home

1978: The BBC broadcast a production of the play starring Derek Jacobi and John Gielgud 

Romeo and Juliet
1935: Sergey Prokofiev adapts the play as a ballet
1957: Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, and Arthur Laurents adapt the play into a musical, West Side Story
1996: Baz Luhrmann adapts the play for film, Romeo+Juliet
1996: The song, “A Boy Like That,” by Selena was inspired by the play

Read related posts: The Most Common Myths About Shakespeare
Shakespeare the Pop Song Writer
Random Fascinating Facts About Shakespeare

Most Common Nicknames for Shakespeare
Most Beautiful Books of Shakespeare’s Sonnets
Were Shakespeare’s Sonnets Written to a Young Man?

What Dictionary Did Shakespeare Use?
Shakespeare’s Portrait as A Young Man Discovered


For further reading: Time Magazine, “Will’s Testament, 400 Years On,” by Sarah Begley and Merrill Fabry, April 11, 2016.

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