Carlson Is Hamlet, Opening June 11 at DC's Shakespeare Theatre

By Kenneth Jones
11 Jun 2007

The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC, ends its 2006-2007 season with William Shakespeare's Hamlet, featuring Broadway's Jeffrey Carlson as the Melancholy Dane. The production officially opens June 11.



Artistic director Michael Kahn stages the tragedy, with a cast that also includes Michelle Beck (as Ophelia), Kenajuan Bentley (as Laertes), Robert Cuccioli (as Claudius), Robert Jason Jackson (as Polonius), Pedro Pascal (as Horatio), Ted van Griethuysen (Ghost, First Player, Grave Digger) and Janet Zarish (as Gertrude). Performances began June 5 and continue to July 29.

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The production is the Shakespeare Theatre Company's final offering in the citywide Shakespeare In Washington celebration.

"For more than 400 years, Hamlet's exploration of life, love, duty and vengeance has captivated audiences," the troupe's notes read. "Commanded by his murdered father's ghost to seek revenge, Hamlet struggles with the human and spiritual costs of pursuing justice."

"For me, Hamlet is the story of a young man experiencing everything for the first time: death, love, betrayal," stated Kahn. "Confronted with the loss of his father and a desire for revenge, Hamlet struggles to act, to restore order to a chaotic world."

Kahn previously directed Hamlet for the company in 1992-1993, in a production featuring Tom Hulce in the title role.

Jeffrey Carlson made his STC debut in the title role of Lorenzaccio. The Juilliard grad's Broadway credits include Taboo, Tartuffe and The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? He recently portrayed a transgender character on "All My Children."

To read Playbill.com's Brief Encounter interview with Carlson, in which talks about climbing the Everest of English drama, click here.

Cuccioli made his Shakespeare Theatre Company debut in Lorenzaccio as the Duke. He earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for his work in Jekyll and Hyde; and he won the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle awards for that performance as well.

The cast also includes J. Clint Allen as Guildenstern, James Denvil as the Player King, Bill Largess as Osric, Kenneth Lee as Fortinbras, Roland Sands as Voltemand, David L. Townsend as Rosencrantz, Craig Wallace as Marcellus and ensemble members Maria Kelly, David Murgittroyd, Erskine Ritchie, Ben Rosenblatt, Nick Vienna and Chris Whitney.

The creative team includes set designer Walt Spangler, costume designer Murell Horton, puppet designer Aaron Cromie, lighting designer Charlie Morrison, composer Adam Wernick, sound designer Martin Desjardins, fight director David Leong and resident voice and text coach Ellen O'Brien.

For tickets and information, call (202) 547-1122 or visit www.shakespearedc.org.