Jared Harris and Lili Taylor will star as the Hamlet and Ophelia in a new staging of Hamlet at the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival this summer, Bonnie J. Monte, NJSF's artistic director, told Playbill On-Line. The production, directed by Tom Gilroy, will begin previews Aug. 7, open Aug. 11 and run through Sept. 2. The cast will also include Bill Raymond as Claudius, Maggie Lowe as Getrude and Jack Ryland as Polonius.
The possibility that Jared Harris would soon play the title role in Hamlet first surfaced last winter, when the young film actor listed an upcoming production of Shakespeare's most famous play among the credits in his program biography for More Lies About Jerzy, the Vineyard Theatre play in which he starred. Contacted about the venture, a spokesperson for Harris knew nothing about the project and, as recently as a month ago, said that, while the production might happen, no theatre or dates had been settled upon.
Still, a Harris Hamlet continued to drift in and out of the radar. Lili Taylor, currently starring in The Dead Eye Boy at MCC Theater, mentions in her bio that she will star "in an upcoming production of Hamlet this summer."
Harris famous father, actor Richard Harris, may also appear in the mounting— after a fashion. The elder Harris would play the Ghost. His performance would be taped and projected upon a field of smoke. Monte said talks are underway to see if such an arrangement is workable.
Harris and Taylor both starred in the 1996 film "I Shot Andy Warhol," in which Harris played artist Andy Warhol and Taylor his would-be assassin, Valerie Solanas. Taylor's other films include "Say Anything," "Ransom" and "High Fidelity." On stage, she has acted in Richard Foreman's What Did He See? and as Irina in Three Sisters. Harris, the son of actor Richard Harris, played Warhol again in the film "54." Gilroy directed the recent film, "Spring Forward."
—By Robert Simonson