2010 Master Teacher: Barry Edelstein
“I’m delighted to begin my association with the Lunt Fontanne Fellowship Program, although I wish the circumstances were different. Lynn Redgrave’s passing is a blow to all of us who value the theater and love Shakespeare, and I hope my work at Ten Chimneys will be, in its own small way, a kind of memorial to her.
“I believe deeply that Shakespeare lives in the American actor with a special passion and resonance. My work as a director and teacher, and as a producer of Shakespeare’s plays at the Public Theater, is about bringing together the world’s greatest dramatist, the country’s finest talent, and the widest possible audience. I can think of nowhere more exciting to practice that work than in the home of two actors whose lives embodied the unique magic of the American stage.” Barry Edelstein, 2010 Master Teacher
Widely respected as one of the leading Shakespeareans in the United States, Barry Edelstein is the Director of The Public Theater’s Shakespeare Initiative, overseeing all Shakespearean production at the theater, as well as The Public’s extensive educational, community outreach, and artist-training programs.
Mr. Edelstein has directed nearly half the canon at both The Public Theater and at venues around New York City and the country. Just a few highlights include Julius Caesar starring Jeffrey Wright; The Merchant of Venice featuring Ron Leibman’s OBIE award-winning portrayal of Shylock, Richard III starring John Turturro and Julianna Margulies, The Winter’s Tale starring David Strathairn, and As You Like It starring Gwyneth Paltrow. In his role overseeing all Shakespeare at The Public, he has also supervised Twelfth Night starring Anne Hathaway, Othello starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, and The Merchant of Venicestarring Al Pacino.
Highlights of his non-Shakespearean New York credits include: the world premiere of Steve Martin’s The Underpants, which he commissioned; Jonson’s The Alchemist; and Moliere’sThe Misanthrope, starring Uma Thurman in her stage debut (all during his tenure as the Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company – 1998-2003); Arthur Miller’s All My Sons(Williamstown, then Roundabout; won Lucille Lortel Award for Best Revival); and Steve Martin’s Wasp and Other Plays (The Public). He has directed many contemporary and classic plays at leading regional theaters. His first film, My Lunch with Larry, starring Lisa Edelstein (no relation) and Greg Germann, played the festival circuit in 2006 and 2007.
Edelstein’s book Bardisms: Shakespeare for All Occasions (HarperCollins, 2009) “instructs and entertains” (New York Post), and was re-released in paperback by Harper Perennial in 2010. 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.
Edelstein has taught at the Juilliard School, NYU’s Graduate Acting Program, and USC. He has lectured on theater around the USA and the world, and has written on the subject forThe New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, and American Theater Magazine. He is a graduate of Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with his wife Hilit and their daughter Tillirose.