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Barry Edelstein Biography

Michael Murphy

Barry Edelstein is a stage director, producer, author and educator.  Widely recognized as one of the leading authorities on the works of Shakespeare in the United States, he has directed nearly half of the Bard’s works.  As Director of the Shakespeare Initiative at The Public Theater (2008-2012), he oversaw all of the company’s Shakespearean productions, as well as its extensive educational, community outreach and artist-training programs.  At The Public, Mr. Edelstein staged Julius Caesar starring Jeffrey Wright for “Shakespeare in the Park” and The Merchant of Venice featuring Ron Leibman’s Obie Award-winning portrayal of Shylock.  He was also Associate Producer of The Public’s Broadway production of The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino.  From 1998-2003 he was Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company, where he produced and directed some of New York’s most memorable classical productions.  Mr. Edelstein’s Shakespearean directorial credits include productions of The Winter’s Tale with David Strathairn, Timon of Athens with Richard Thomas, As You Like It with Gwyneth Paltrow and Richard III with John Turturro.  His additional credits include the Lucille Lortel Award-winning revival of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons; the world premiere of Steve Martin’s The Underpants, which he commissioned; Molière’s The Misanthrope, starring Uma Thurman in her stage debut; and the world premiere of novelist Nathan Englander’s play The Twenty-Seventh Man.  Edelstein has taught Shakespearean acting at The Juilliard School, NYU’s Graduate Acting Program and the University of Southern California.  He has lectured on theatre around the USA and the world and has written on the subject for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic and American Theatre.  His book Thinking Shakespeare (called by New York magazine “a must-read for actors”) was published in 2007 and is now the standard text on American Shakespearean acting.  He is also the author of Bardisms: Shakespeare for All Occasions.  Mr. Edelstein is a graduate of Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

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