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Shakespeare Celebrity Sonnets

San Diego Shakespeare Society Holds Annual Fundraiser

Jonathan McMurtry is one of the returning performers at the Celebrity Sonnets...

Credit: San Diego Shakespeare Society

Above: Jonathan McMurtry is one of the returning performers at the Celebrity Sonnets this coming Monday October 8.

Kim Keeline, Ph.D. in English literature from USC with a specialty in plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Publicity Director for the San Diego Shakespeare Society


The San Diego Shakespeare Society holds its annual Celebrity Sonnets on Monday, October 8 at the Old Globe. Listen to a sample of the sonnets to be read.

The sonnets rather than the plays are the thing when the San Diego Shakespeare Society gathers actors, dancers, singers, and others to read Shakespeare sonnets as part of their annual fundraiser. The non-profit organization raises the funds to help pay for its annual Shakespeare Student Festival in Balboa Park, which has hundreds of students of all ages performing scenes from the Bard.

Audiences today are probably more familiar with Shakespeare's plays than his sonnets. Yet Shakespeare felt it would be the sonnets he'd be remembered for and worked to have them published while he never bothered to publish his plays.

Celebrity Sonnets is a lively presentation of the Bard's poetry. Presenters include Old Globe veteran Jonathan McMutry, students with Leigh Scarrit Productions, voice actor Dave Rivas, and many more. You can listen to a sample of the presenters here.

Celebrity Sonnets is Monday, October 8 at 8:00pm at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park.

Kids from Leigh Scarritt Productions read Sonnet 18.


Alex Sandie reades Sonnet 18.



Version one performed by Leigh Scarritt Productions: Artemis Trinity Calderon (age 7), Hourie Klijian (age 8), Caitlan (age 9), and Corey McAuliffe (age 14)

Version 2 performed by Alex Sandie, president of the San Diego Shakespeare Society

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer's lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;

Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Kim Strassburger reads Sonnet 129.



Performed by Kim Strassburger, actress/director/dramaturg at Ion and Cygnet Theaters

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame

Is lust in action; and till action, lust

Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,

Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,

Enjoy'd no sooner but despised straight,

Past reason hunted, and no sooner had

Past reason hated, as a swallow'd bait

On purpose laid to make the taker mad;

Mad in pursuit and in possession so;

Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;

A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;

Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.

All this the world well knows; yet none knows well

To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

Students from Leigh Scarritt Productions perform Sonnet 140.



Performed by Leigh Scarritt Productions: Ryan Dietrich, Alexis Park, Katelli, Chris McAuliffe, Larissa Garcia, Spencer Meredith, Hayley Silvers, Steven Silvers, and Landon Akiyaria

Be wise as thou art cruel; do not press

My tongue-tied patience with too much disdain;

Lest sorrow lend me words and words express

The manner of my pity-wanting pain.

If I might teach thee wit, better it were,

Though not to love, yet, love, to tell me so;

As testy sick men, when their deaths be near,

No news but health from their physicians know;

For if I should despair, I should grow mad,

And in my madness might speak ill of thee:

Now this ill-wresting world is grown so bad,

Mad slanderers by mad ears believed be,

That I may not be so, nor thou belied,

Bear thine eyes straight, though thy proud heart go wide.

Dave Rivas reads sonnet 147.



Performed by voice actor Dave Rivas with Tangocentric Dance Project directed by Susan Lake

"Mad World" written by Roland Orzabal of Tears for Fears and performed by Adam Lambert

My love is as a fever, longing still

For that which longer nurseth the disease,

Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,

The uncertain sickly appetite to please.

My reason, the physician to my love,

Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,

Hath left me, and I desperate now approve

Desire is death, which physic did except.

Past cure I am, now reason is past care,

And frantic-mad with evermore unrest;

My thoughts and my discourse as madmen's are,

At random from the truth vainly express'd;

For I have sworn thee fair and thought thee bright,

Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.

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