Writers' Theatre Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma announce Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead directed by Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. The production runs September 29-December 6, 2009, at Writers' Theatre, 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe. The official press performance is Thursday, October 8, 2009, at 7:30 p.m.
Hamlet, Shakespeare's greatest drama, is retold from the perspective of his schoolmates, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, in Tom Stoppard's comedic masterpiece. Equal parts Laurel and Hardy, Waiting for Godot and classic Shakespeare, Stoppard's scintillating wit, far-reaching imagination and astonishing skill with words traces the journey of these fascinating characters as they struggle to avoid the inevitability of the Bard's tragic conclusion.
"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead represents the quintessence of Writers' Theatre. Sean Fortunato, Timothy Edward Kane and Allen Gilmore lead an incredibly strong cast in the exploration of Stoppard's groundbreaking and innovative play. The intimacy of our space is further heightened by an essential and progressive design. It's an iconic launch to our 18th season," says Artistic Director Michael Halberstam.
The cast includes: Laura Coover (Ophelia), Sean Fortunato (Rosencrantz), Allen Gilmore (The Player), Terry Hamilton (Claudius), John Hoogenakker (Hamlet), Gregory Isaac (Tragedian 1), Timothy Edward Kane (Guildenstern), Joey Steakley (Alfred), Fredric Stone (Polonius), Jeff Trainor (Tragedian 2) and Karen Janes Woditsch (Gertrude).
The designers are Collette Pollard (scenic), Rachel Anne Healey (costume), Keith Parham (lighting) and Andy Hansen (sound).
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Michael Halberstam, SSDC (Director) is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Writers' Theatre. He has directed over thirty productions for the company including Not About Heroes (starring Nicholas Pennell), Private Lives, Look Back In Anger, Candida, The Father, Crime and Punishment, Benefactors, Seagull, The Duchess Of Malfi, Othello, The Savannah Disputation and this past spring the world premiere musical, A Minister's Wife. Halberstam has appeared in numerous Writers' Theatre productions including Richard II (title role), Loot and Misalliance. Previously, he spent two years at The Stratford Festival in Ontario and performed in Timon of Athens, The Knight of The Burning Pestle (title role), Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It. Halberstam's other Chicago acting credentials include productions with Wisdom Bridge, Court Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
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Elsewhere he directed The Gamester (Northlight Theatre); A Man For All Seasons (Peninsula Players Theatre); Hamlet (Illinois Shakespeare Festival); Candida (Jean Cocteau Repertory in New York); Ten Little Indians (Drury Lane Oakbrook); a highly acclaimed revival of Crime and Punishment, which Writers' Theatre produced Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theatres in New York City and Enchanted April and State of The Union (Milwaukee Repertory Theater). His forays into opera have included The Rape of Lucretia (Chicago Opera Theater); Francesca De Ramini featuring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christoph Eschenbach and Le Freyshutz, a Berlioz adaptation of the Weber opera conducted by Christoph Eschenbach in its North American Premiere (Ravinia Festival). He spent two and a half years teaching Shakespeare at The Theatre School at DePaul University and has received awards for excellence in theater management and/or artistic achievement from The Chicago Drama League, The Arts & Business Council, Chicago Lawyers for the Creative Arts and The Chicago Associates of the Stratford Festival.
Laura Coover (Ophelia) returns to Writers' Theatre after playing Alais in The Lion in Winter last summer. She most recently played Sandy in Blue Surge with Eclipse Theatre Company, for which she received a non-equity Jeff Award for Principle Actress in a Play. Other Chicago credits include Six Degrees of Separation (Eclipse Theatre Company); The Marriage of Figaro (Remy Bumppo) and A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre). She also appeared in Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, As You Like It and Macbeth at Great River Shakespeare Festival.
Sean Fortunato (Rosencrantz) returns to Writers' Theatre where he has previously appeared in: The Chosen, Rough Crossing (Jeff Nomination), A Phoenix Too Frequent (After Dark Award), Spite For Spite, Incident at Vichy and Richard II. Other Chicago credits include: Curtains (Drury Lane Oakbrook); the title role in Willy Wonka, Comedy of Errors, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure and Rose Rage (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Bowery Boys, Brigadoon (Jeff Nomination), A Funny Thing...Forum (Marriott Theater); The Producers, Lend Me a Tenor (Theatre at the Center); The Real Thing (Remy Bumppo); Oedipus Complex, As You Like It and A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre); Lady Windermere's Fan and At Wit's End (Northlight Theatre) and Scapin (Court Theatre). Regional credits include: Private Eyes (Old Globe); Doubt and Cabaret (Peninsula Players); Rose Rage (The Duke on 42nd). He has also appeared as Ted in the film, The Merry Gentleman directed by Michael Keaton.
Allen Gilmore (The Player) makes his Writers' Theatre debut in Rosencranz and Guildenstern are Dead. In Chicago, he has performed the title role in Cyrano, Endgame and Scapin (Court Theatre). He is an artistic associate of Next Theater and a brand new ensemble member of Congo Square Theater Company where he has performed in The African Company Presents Richard The Third and Joe Turner's Come and Gone (Jeff and Black Theatre Alliance nominations and an Orgie Award). Gilmore has worked with Mary Zimmerman in Argonautika and recently completed a year-long tour and appeared in Lookingglass Theatre's recent production of Arabian Nights.
Terry Hamilton (Claudius) makes his Writers' Theatre debut with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Hamilton is a three-time recipient of the Joseph Jefferson Non-Equity Award for Excellence in Acting and an Associate Artist at TimeLine Theatre Company where credits include: This Happy Breed, Pravda, Copenhagen, The General from America, Fiorello, Weekend and The History Boys among others. Other Chicago credits include: King Louis XIII in the musical version of The Three Musketeers (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); The Killer Angels (Lifeline Theater); Hamlet (Rivendale/Powertap) and the title role in Eugene Ionesco's Macbett (Greasy Jones and Company). Hamilton has toured and traveled extensively, performing in regional and dinner theaters throughout the country. Television credits include Turks and Early Edition.
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John Hoogenakker (Hamlet) returns to Writers' Theatre where he last appeared in The Puppetmaster of Lodz. Chicago credits include: Rock ‘N' Roll and Passion Play (Goodman Theatre); Wait Until Dark (Court Theatre); 100 Saints You Should Know (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); The Retreat From Moscow (Northlight Theatre); Anthony and Cleopatra and Othello (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Killer Joe (The Theatre at 2851 Halsted); The Bomb-Itty of Errors (The Royal George and Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Stones in His Pockets (Apple Tree Theatre). Regional credits include: Translations and Escape From Happiness (Milwaukee Repertory Theater); the role of Hamlet, also directed by Michael Halberstam (Illinois Shakespeare Festival); Work Song: Three Views of Frank Lloyd Wright (Kansas City Repertory Theatre and Arizona Theatre Company). Film credits include: Flags of Our Fathers (Warner Brothers); The Lucky Ones (Lionsgate); Public Enemies (Universal). Television credits include: ER (NBC), The Beast (A&E) and Gifted Hands (TNT).
Timothy Edward Kane (Guildenstern) returns to Writers' Theatre having previously appeared in Arms and the Man. Other Chicago credits include: Rock ‘n' Roll (Goodman Theatre); The Wild Duck, Titus Andronicus, Uncle Vanya, The Romance Cycle: Cymbeline & Pericles and Hamlet (Court Theatre); She Stoops to Conquer (After Dark Award) and The Miser (Northlight Theatre); Comedy of Errors, Hamlet, Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 (also performed at the R.S.C., Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK), A Flea In Her Ear, Merchant of Venice, King John, Love's Labors Lost, King Lear and All's Well That Ends Well (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); The Underpants (Noble Fool Theatricals); Hushabye Mountain, Early and Often and Hellcab (Famous Door); Cyrano de Bergerac and The Clink (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble). Regional credits include work at the Mark Taper Forum, Notre Dame Shakespeare and Peninsula Players. Mr. Kane is married to actress Kate Fry.
Fredric Stone (Polonius) makes his Writers' Theatre debut with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Additional Chicago credits include: The Trojan Women (Goodman Theatre); The Chosen (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Richard II, Love's Labor's Lost, Henry V, Henry IV (parts 1&2), The Winter's Tale and others (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Fires in the Mirror (Northlight Theatre); Mame, among others (Drury Lane Oakbrook). Regional credits include: As You Like It, Henry V (Utah Shakespearean Festival 2009); Hauptmann (Madison Repertory Theatre); Moonlight and Magnolias (Arkansas Repertory Theatre); The Boys Next Door and Our Country's Good (New American Theatre). Broadway credits include: All Over Town (Shubert Theatre). Off Broadway credits include: Awake and Sing (Playwrights Horizons). Film and television credits include: Thief, The Untouchables, Missing Persons, Howard Beach and Crime Story.
Karen Janes Woditsch (Gertrude) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is Karen's 18th production with Writers' Theatre. Past Writers' Theatre productions include: Othello (After Dark Award), Seagull, The Doctor's Dilemma, Rocket to the Moon, Butley, A Phoenix Too Frequent and Spite for Spite. Additional Chicago credits include: The Quiet Man Tales (Chicago Theatre-Downstairs); A Christmas Carol and Crumbs from the Table of Joy (Goodman Theatre); Chalk Garden and Pride and Prejudice (Northlight Theatre); Measure for Measure (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). Regional credits include Sherlock Holmes' Final Adventure, Rumors, The Lady's Not for Burning, Elephant Man, Mousetrap, The Uneasy Chair, Tom Dick and Harry and Red Herring and The Cherry Orchard (Peninsula Players).
Performances are September 29- December 6, 2009. The press performance is on Thursday, October 8, 2009, at 7:30 p.m. The production runs through December 6, 2009. Curtain times are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. There will be no performance on Thursday, November 26, 2009 and there will be no 6:00 p.m. performance on November 15 and December 6, 2009. Wednesday matinees will begin at 2 p.m. on November 11 and 25, 2009.
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Tickets are $40-$65 and are available at the Box Office, 376 Park Avenue, Glencoe; 847-242-6000 or online at www.writerstheatre.org.
Writers' introduces Tweet Seats, a day-of ticket discount program. Follow Writers' Theatre on Twitter (Twitter.com/WritersTheatre) and everyday by 3pm, Writers' will Tweet a code that can be used to purchase remaining seats for that day's performance at a discount. Tweet Seats are available for purchase only through the Writers' Theatre website at writerstheatre.org.
AUDIENCE ENRICHMENT PROGRAMS
For Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Writers' Theatre introduces a new audience enrichment program, "What to know before the show." Starting October 13, a quick pre-show discussion will be held every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for the run of the production. Discussions begin 30 minutes before curtain.
Writers' Theatre and select North Shore libraries present the fifth annual From Page to Stage program in conjunction with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. This comprehensive series of special events, lectures, readings and performances are designed to enhance and enrich the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead experience. All events are FREE of charge and open to the public. For event listings and more information visit writerstheatre.org/FPTS.
Harris Bank strengthens its ties to Writers' Theatre as the Corporate Production Sponsor for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Mary Pat Studdert returns as the Production Sponsor of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, after generously supporting last season's world premiere musical A Minister's Wife. Ms. Studdert also serves as the Writers' Theatre Board Secretary.
The Writers' Theatre season is underwritten, in part, by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.
DiPescara is a 2009/10 Season Restaurant Partner. Patrons receive 10% off their guest check when they present their ticket stub when ordering. Di Pescara is one of the North Shore's top restaurants, named among the city's best new restaurants by Chicago magazine.This Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, conveniently located at 2124 Northbrook Court, just five minutes from the theater. Call 847-498-4321 to make your reservation.
Writers' Theatre introduces a new 2009/10 Season Restaurant Partner, Winnetka's award-winning, Restaurant Michael. Featuring impeccably crafted cuisine of the freshest local and organic ingredients, Restaurant Michael prepares classic, haute cuisine, in a unique and contemporary presentation with French country flair. Writers' Theatre patrons receive 10% off their guest check when they present their ticket stub when ordering. Just 10 minutes from the theater at 64 Green Bay Road, Restaurant Michael is the perfect fit for any dining occasion. Call 847-441-3100 to make your reservation.
For more information about Writers' 2009/10 Restaurant Partners and offer restrictions visit writerstheatre.org/visitus.
ABOUT WRITERS' THEATRE
Writers' Theatre is a professional company focusing on the Word and the Artist. Remaining true to the intention of the playwright and nurturing the artist stand at the center of the mission. Now in its 18th season, the company both revives classic scripts and cultivates new works and adaptations while invigorating them with fresh energy in the intimacy of its venues. Founded in 1992, Writers' Theatre performed exclusively at Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon Avenue for the first 12 years. In the fall of 2003, the organization opened a new 108 seat performance venue at 325 Tudor Court. Today, Writers' Theatre continues to produce in both spaces, maintaining an intimate theatrical experience for audiences. Since 2000, the subscriber base has grown almost 250%, from 1,500 to more than 5,000 today. With an operating budget of $3.3 million, Writers' Theatre is supported by a staff of 18 full-time employees and a 31-member Board of Trustees.
You can find Writers' Theatre on Facebook or follow Writers' Theatre on Twitter at Twitter.com/WritersTheatre. For more information, visit www.writerstheatre.org.