Building upon Play On Shakespeare’s mission to enhance the understanding of Shakespeare’s plays in performance, Play On Podcasts bring timeless tales directly to modern audiences. The series – presented by Next Chapter Podcasts in partnership with Play On Shakespeare – has released the first episode of The Winter’s Tale (translation and direction by Tracy Young), starring Rodney Gardiner, Elijah Alexander, Gina Daniels and a cameo by the iconic Estelle Parsons. The Winter’s Tale includes incredible sound design by Lindsay Jones and contemporary, acoustic instrumentation to transport audiences from the home of the jealous King Leontes to the joyful lands of Bohemia.

Tracy Young: “My greatest hope is that someone who might not have been able to fully appreciate the wonder that is The Winter’s Tale might use this translation and the podcast as a doorway to deepen their relationship with Shakespeare’s work. I think that a serial podcast is a beautiful way to connect with Shakespeare’s writing because it encourages deep listening over time. I hope you have as much fun listening to the podcast as we all had in making it.”

Michael Goodfriend (Executive Producer): “The Play On Podcast series, The Winter’s Tale, searingly portrays the trauma that jealousy and paranoia can wreak on a family while also celebrating the healing magic of time, laughter, faith and forgiveness.”

View the full cast and crew for The Winter’s Tale here.

With lead investment from the Hitz Foundation, which funds the Play On project and has commissioned this podcast series, Next Chapter Podcasts continues to adapt and produce the modernized Shakespearean scripts for multi-part audio presentations featuring the talents of extraordinary stage performers, directors and designers. It’s a Shakespearean audio adventure.

Previous titles have included Macbeth (starring RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Manila Luzon, Monet X Change and Peppermint); Pericles (starring the legendary Keith David); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (starring acclaimed actors Daisuke Tsuji, Amari Cheatom and Alexandra Henrikson); Coriolanus (with a cast comprised entirely of nonbinary and women-identifying actors); King Lear (starring the legendary Keith David); Twelfth Night (starring Amy Brenneman); Henry V (with a cast including stars of the downtown NYC theatre scene; translation by Lloyd Suh); Measure for Measure (starring New York’s award-winning Fiasco Theater ensemble).

2023 titles will include The Tempest and Othello amongst others to be announced shortly.

Next Chapter Podcasts is a podcast company dedicated to telling stories with a positive impact on our world by elevating bold, authentic voices. It boasts a team with decades of experience in media spanning television, radio, music and theater. NCP believes storytelling is embedded in our DNA, and the modern day audio phenomenon is a return to our primal, instinctual desire for human connection. By nurturing relationships with artists, leaders, writers and activists, NCP seeks to expand its imprint beyond podcasting by creating adaptations of content to inspire generations through compelling storytelling in a variety of formats. Shows produced by Next Chapter include Politics War Room with James Carville, The 500 with Josh Adam Myers, Tough Juice with Caron Butler, and The Ten News, with Bethany Van Delft. More info at

Play On Shakespeare is a non-profit company promoting and creating contemporary modern translations of Shakespeare’s plays. Since its inception in 2015, Play On has commissioned dozens of contemporary playwrights and translators to translate 39 Shakespeare plays into modern English, with a majority of the commissions being helmed by BIPOC and womxn playwrights. Far from a paraphrasing exercise, each playwright was tasked with matching Shakespeare’s linguistic rigor as they approached the text, preserving rhyme, rhythm, metaphor, meter, imagery, symbolism, rhetoric, and the structure that make Shakespeare’s plays engaging and accessible to today’s audience. Play On partners with artists and organizations across the globe to deliver and advocate for these translations through different channels, including theatrical productions, podcasts, publications, and film. For more information, visit Play On Shakespeare is made possible through generous support of the Hitz Foundation.

The Hitz Foundation has projects in science, the arts, and the environment throughout the world. In addition to Play On Shakespeare and Play On Podcasts, the foundation also supports several archaeological projects in northern Guatemala and funded the largest LiDAR mapping ever undertaken for archaeological research to support these projects (discovering 60,000 new Mayan structures). The foundation funds Global Digital Heritage which captures state-of-the-art 3D models of museum collections and heritage sites and shares them with the world at no cost. The foundation also supports several environmental projects including the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, which protects the ecosystems and biodiversity of East Africa through conservation efforts that directly benefit wildlife, wilderness and the local Maasai communities.

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