The performance of Speak the Speech I Pray You, an original play by Peter Byrne with assistance from the West Wing Writers group, was this year’s celebration of Will Shakespeare’s eloquence, known as Will on the Hill, in support of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s educational and artistic community engagement programs.
The performance starred Capitol Hill luminaries including Representatives Shelly Berkely (D-NV), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Susan Davis (D-CA), Eleanor Norton-Holmes(D-DC) , William Kristol (Political Analyst, Founder and editor, The Weekly Standard), Susan Stamberg (Special Correspondent NPR Morning Edition) Rick Klein (ABC News’ Senior Washington editor, World News with Diane Sawyer), and others.
Speak the Speech I Pray You! tells the tale of a stage director and how she manages the task of herding a cast of Washington celebrities for a benefit performance of Romeo and Juliet. The cast included Emmy Award winning actor Richard Schiff (Toby Ziegler, West Wing) and Tony Award nominee Veanne Cox.
Good-natured verbal jabs landed on both sides of the political aisle and skewered groups included the NRA and the ACLU and many political luminaries including Governor Mitt Romney and President Obama.
Proceeds from the event support the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s educational, artistic and community engagement programs including in-school workshops and online learning resources, such as the annual Free for All which allows audiences to experience Shakespeare at no charge.
The Shakespeare Theatre Company received the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award. Artistic Director Michael Kahn has led the company for 25 years helping it to earn a reputation as the nation’s premiere classical theater company.