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‘Hamlet’ in Spring Green

Jun. 19, 2013
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As programming choices go, Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is either one of the easiest or most difficult to make. On the one hand, Hamlet has instant recognition. Everyone read it in high school. On the other hand, Hamlet has instant recognition. Everyone read it in high school. Its strengths are its weaknesses. It's probably the single most recognizable drama ever written. So why see it again? And why bother drive all the way to Spring Green and then climb up a hill to see it? These are precisely the sorts of questions that the American Player's Theatre has identified to some degree simply in casting.

Your Hamlet for the production is Matt Schwader—a blond, square-jawed type of guy who looks good in a male lead and also happens to have the kind of talent and experience to look really good failing to deliver the "to be or not to be" speech—which is way too well-written for any actor to deliver well. And then there are the people more commonly associated with the Milwaukee Rep. James Pickering plays a few roles including a ghost and a gravedigger. Deborah Staples plays Queen Gertrude.

Normally at an APT show, one might hope to see Jonathan Smoots as a king. Here we get APT legend Jim DeVita in the role, which should work quite nicely. There are other highly recognizable names seen on Milwaukee stages in the recent past, including the relatively young talents of Travis A. Knight as Bernardo and the equally talented Cristina Panfilio as Ophelia.

The American Players Theatre's production of Hamlet runs June 21-October 4 at the Up-the-Hill Theatre in Spring Green. For reservations, call the APT box office at 608-588-2361 or visit americanplayers.org.


Theatre Happenings

  • Shakespeare makes it to another end of the state next month when Door Shakespeare opens Love's Labours Lost and Macbeth at Björklunden Estate in Baileys Harbor, Wis. Both shows run July 5-Aug. 17. For ticket reservations, call 920-839-1500.
  • A little further into next month, experimental playwright Peter J. Woods presents another summer show—The Astronaut Sestina and Other Plays at the Underground Collaborative Theatre, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., July 11-20. Tickets are $12 at the door. Call 614-205-9862 for more information. 


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