Actress Kate Burton is set to participate in the 7th annual Shakespeare's Birthday Sonnet Slam.
Actor Kate Burton is set to participate in the seventh annual Shakespeare's Birthday Sonnet Slam.
(© David Gordon)

The seventh annual Shakespeare's Birthday Sonnet Slam will be held April 21 at 1pm at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park. The event will feature 154 readers of all ages and abilities performing all 154 of Shakespeare's Sonnets in numerical order. The event is free to the public.

This year, the kickoff reader for Sonnet 1 will be Maulik Pancholy (It's Only a Play), who appears on the upcoming CBS series Star Trek: Discovery. Tony Award nominee Kate Burton (Present Laughter) has also joined the lineup. Other notable sonneteers in the mix this year will be Emmy award winner Richard Thomas (The Little Foxes), Peter Francis James (Present Laughter), actor and former Miss Venezuela 2011 Irene Sofîa Esser, Tony-winning orchestrator and composer Michael Starobin, Broadway veteran Candy Buckley (Scandalous), and other surprise guests.

"I created a unique, intimate opportunity for the Sonneteer and Shakespeare to be together on the Bandshell stage, even if it's only for a minute," said Melinda Hall, Willful Pictures artistic director and creator of the Sonnet Slam."

The Sonnet Slam is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement / Creative Learning, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.