This is, to me, very exciting news. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) has announced that it is commissioning a cycle of 37 plays which will explore various moments of American history. There are some major playwrights involved including David Henry Hwang, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Naomi Wallace. The first play will be staged at OSF's 75th anniversary season in 2010.
The number 37 is, as some of you may know, the agreed-upon number of plays in Shakespeare's canon -- it's a nod to the importance of his plays and especially his history plays. I hope, like Shakespeare, that the modern playwrights focus on characters rather than events, and don't feel they have to be slavish to "true" history.
Here's the press release about the program from OSF.
I thought my finding this news was interesting timing for me personally. I had been considering to reread all of the Shakespeare plays (something that took me years to accomplish the first time). This news and it's tenuous connection to Shakespeare was all it took me to decide to do it.