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Bing series offers a front-row view to world’s stage

Deborah Hay as Katherina in “The Taming of the Shrew.” (David Hou)
Deborah Hay as Katherina in “The Taming of the Shrew.” (David Hou)

Most people can’t hop over to London to catch Benedict Cumberbatch performing in “Hamlet” (assuming you could score tickets anyway), but the Bing Crosby Theater’s Stage to Screen series gets you closer to A-list actors than an evening out at the theater ever could.

Stage to Screen has been bringing the best of the West End to Spokane, projecting filmed versions of star-studded theatrical productions onto the theater’s big screen. The series has already featured an impressive array of material: Previous showings have included performances of the operas “Carmen” and “La Traviata,” Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan’s drama “The Audience,” Christopher Plummer in “Caesar and Cleopatra” and that Cumberbatch-starring “Hamlet.”

The series continues in the coming months with a string of William Shakespeare comedies, as well as a handful of popular revivals boasting some recognizable faces. Here’s what’s on the upcoming schedule; all shows start at 2 p.m. and run $17 through TicketsWest.

Sunday – London’s renowned National Theatre has been filming and broadcasting its performances since 2009, and its updated, modernist revival of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” will screen at the Bing on Sunday. Directed by Polly Findlay, the production was met with rave reviews upon its British premiere last year, with the Guardian praising it as “a visual and aural delight.”

Aug. 14 – On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death, a bevy of theatrical heavy hitters gathered at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon to perform scenes from his work. “Shakespeare Live” serves as both a Shakespeare primer and as a celebration of the writer’s influence on other genres and mediums. Performers include Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen, John Lithgow and Joseph Fiennes.

Aug. 21 – “The Taming of the Shrew” is one of Shakespeare’s most frequently staged comedies, and this version was performed as part of Canada’s Stratford Festival, which has recently been filming all of its productions. Deborah Hay plays Katherina the shrew, and Ben Carlson is Petruchio, the Don Juan type who plans to domesticate her.

Sept. 11 – The 15th-century Christian allegory “Everyman” is one of the cornerstones of British drama, though its original publication date and the identity of its author remain unknown. Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in a new, modernized adaptation by Britain’s Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, in which a hard partying 40-year-old is literally confronted by Death.

Oct. 23 – Although it’s set in 1960s Britain, “One Man, Two Guvnors” takes inspiration from the 18th-century Italian farce “Servant of Two Masters.” James Corden, better known as the convivial host of CBS’ “The Late Late Show,” stars as a hapless chap who becomes a stool pigeon for two different criminals. Comedic complications ensue.

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