The Book of Will
Regional Premiere
By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Rebecca Greene Udden

Main Street Theater -
Rice Village

2540 Times Blvd.

September 22 – October 21, 2018

Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays - 7:30pm
Sundays - 3:00pm

Sunday, October 14 at 3pm
Closed “in-sync”
Captioned Performance

Buy Tickets Online

30 & Under, Senior Citizens, Student, Military, and Veterans Discounts Available. ID may be required. Click here for more information on discounts.

Please note: no outside food/snacks are allowed at the theater. You may purchase concessions at the show.

After Shakespeare’s death, his plays were pirated, performed and published in inaccurate and clumsy versions. Henry Condell and John Heminges, loyal friend and actors in Shakespeare’s company, the King’s Men, are determined to preserve the true versions of the plays and compile the First Folio, recapturing the words that shaped their lives. Their families join them in what is truly a labor of love, for they’ll have to borrow, beg, and band together to make it happen. Guided by a sense of genuine loyalty, admiration, and what really matters in life, this determined lot will stop at nothing to assemble Shakespeare’s Folio.

"Main Street Theater continues its romp through Tudor and Jacobean eras with Lauren Gunderson's repository of all-things Shakespeare, The Book of Will. You will find quasi-Shakespearean prose, exquisite costuming, detailed acting, and two hours of Shakespearean homage. For any admirer of the Bard of Avon, this is catnip....Not only has Main Street blessed us with superlative productions of the Bard's work (Twelfth Night, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard III, Henry V), but the company has given us perceptive glimpses into the tumultuous times preceding his rise (Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies), so it's natural that it should honor the great one himself with Gunderson's tony homage....[a] gleeful journey ....Main Street has assembled a mesmerizing Who's Who of a cast....Gunderson's The Book of Will gives us much to chew on, while the actors munch magnificently, and a tiny bit of gilded thread is stitched into Shakespeare's glorious tapestry." --Houston Press

"[The play is] both entertaining and enlightening....By telling the story about how hard these men fought to honor Shakespeare’s legacy, “Book” argues for the preservation of truth. It shows us, using real historical characters, what Shakespeare means to us and to the people who were part of his theatrical family... Directed by Rebecca Udden, the Main Street Theater production features succulent performances from John Feltch and Rutherford Cravens...Feltch, as the hilariously drunken egomaniac Ben Jonson, a literary rival of Shakespeare’s, is a boozy delight every time he walks on stage. So is the muttering Cravens, playing the slimy publisher William Jaggard.....On the other hand, [Joel] Sandel plays an ordinary man caught up in the greatness of history. His convictions are tempered by hesitancy in the face of harsh reality....feeling the weight of the past and the present on his shoulders. In these times, confidence is cheap. Confidence gets you nowhere. But belief is another thing. --Houston Chronicle

"It's the kind of show that will make you smile, and think about old friends who mean a lot to you. It is also a love letter to the importance of theater in providing respite from the real world, something desperately needed in these modern times...It's a wonderful comedic diversion with plenty of heart, and Main Street Theater should be proud to wear that on their sleeve." --BroadwayWorld

"This play has a deep heart, a full brain, and a sharp sense of humor...Thoroughly enjoyable with engaging acting, any thoughtful soul will find THE BOOK OF WILL will be time well spent." --The Village / Southwest News

"I loved the Renaissance-era costumes, the minimalist tavern set, and the lighting design that worked particularly well with the dialogues and monologues that happen at key moments. I also loved the Tudor backdrop and how the director, Rebecca Greene Udden, made the performances the focus. But the main reasons to go to Main Street are the standout performances that combine both Renaissance English peppered with anachronistic contemporary moments, and the profound epiphanies about the precarious nature of art and history." --Houstonia Magazine

"I can think of no better tribute to the best author of comedies, histories and tragedies than a play that can make me cry, laugh and learn about history. 'The Book of Will' at Main Street Theater shows us why Shakespeare’s words are still powerful and moving to this day....'The Book of Will' is a play about telling stories. Stories are a part of what makes us human. Telling stories makes us feel alive. Theater allows us to live and feel other people’s stories for a moment. The written word allows us to relive the stories again and again." --CoogLife

Children under the age of 5 are not allowed in the theater.

The Book of Will runs approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes, including intermission.


Part of the Art Events for The Book of Will

Saturday, Sept. 22 at 6:45pm: Opening Night Pre-Show Discussion with the director and designers. Free.

Join us Sept. 23 for a post-show discussion with Prof. Kate Pogue, Shakespeare scholar, author, director, lecturer. Prof. Pogue will give a short talk about Shakespeare and his friends: how we know who his friends were and what they were like. Free.

Join us on Sept. 30 for a post-show discussion with Dr. Elizabeth Klett, Shakespeare scholar, Associate Professor of Literature, University of Houston – Clear Lake. Dr. Klett will give a short talk about the creation of Shakespeare’s First Folio and the many unanswered questions that remain today.

Join us Sunday, October 7 for a post-show discussion with Jon Evans, Chief of the Library & Archives at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Mr. Evans will give a short talk about Shakespeare’s Second Folio (1632), a ground-breaking anthology and an object that connects us directly to the Bard today. Free.

Free Beer Friday: Following regular Friday performances sponsored by Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. in The Liberty Group lobby (previews excluded).

After-parties following all Saturday performances, including a special reception on Opening Night, in The Liberty Group lobby.


Production Partner
The Printing Museum


Season Sponsor
The Liberty Group

Season Sponsor
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company

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