Understudy Goes on Again for Venora in Hamlet, Dec. 23

News   Understudy Goes on Again for Venora in Hamlet, Dec. 23 Hamlet star Diane Venora continues to battle a bronchial infection that caused the cancellation of performances Dec. 21 (evening) and Dec. 22 (matinee) at the Public Theater in New York City.

Hamlet star Diane Venora continues to battle a bronchial infection that caused the cancellation of performances Dec. 21 (evening) and Dec. 22 (matinee) at the Public Theater in New York City.

Understudy Wendy Rich Stetson went on as Gertrude for the Dec. 22 evening performance, and will do the same Dec. 23.

Venora is being treated and is expected to return to the Andrei Serban- directed production at the Newman Theater by Dec. 26 (Dec. 24-25 are dark).

Performances are scheduled for 2 PM Dec. 26 and 8 PM Dec. 27, continuing to Jan. 9, 2000.

* An ailing Venora also prompted cancelled shows Dec. 14-15. Venora plays opposite Liev Schreiber's melancholy Dane.

The company began its fretting and strutting at the Public's Newman Nov. 30, following a delay of one week to iron out production elements of the staging. Performances of the Shakespeare tragedy continue Jan. 9.

The third time's a charm for Venora at the Public: In 1982, Venora played Hamlet himself in a staging directed by Joseph Papp, and, in 1990, she played Ophelia opposite Kevin Kline, who also directed.

Schreiber (of cable's "RKO 281," the feature film "A Walk on the Moon" and The Public's Cymbeline and Macbeth) plays the tragic title character, with Diane Venora (a past Public Hamlet veteran) as Gertrude and Colm Feore ("The Insider" and an alum of Ontario's Stratford Festival) as Claudius.

Tickets ($45) are available at The Public Theater box office, 425 Lafayette Street in Manhattan, or by calling (212) 239 6200.

-- By Kenneth Jones
and Robert Simonson