Laurence Olivier, Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh have all had their go at King Henry V, now it's Harry Hamlin's turn -- again. The "L.A. Law" actor, recently on Broadway in Summer And Smoke, will once again star as the feisty, well-liked monarch in a production at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC, June 8-22.
Artistic director Michael Kahn, directed Hamlin in Henry in 1995, in a production that received five Helen Hayes Award nominations, including one for Hamlin. He'll once again stage the play, which mixes comedy, romance, rousing speeches and political intrigues. The production is part of the 1997 Shakespeare Theatre Free For All series, which for six years - (thanks to dozens of sponsors -- has brought more than a quarter of a million DC-area residents to see Shakespeare.
Hamlin has a recurring role on TV's "Ink," but his previous stage work includes a Circle In The Square revival of Awake And Sing and Hamlet at NJ's McCarter Theatre. Kahn is currently directing O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra, through June 8, at the theatre.
Also in Henry V are Vivienne Benesch (Off-Broadway's Ancient History), Helmar Augustus Cooper, Jarlath Conroy, Eric Hoffmann, William Francis McGuire, Anthony Pearly McQueen IV, Rob Nagle, Jack Ryland, David Sabin, Craig Wallace, Nance Williamson, Jason Kravits, Andrew Long and David Manis.
Set design by Loy Arcenas, costumes by Tom Broecker, lighting by Peter A. West, based on Howell Binckley's original lighting design; original music by Adam Wernick; and fight choreography by David Leong. In conjunction with the production, Shakespeare Theatre will continue its "Students For Shakespeare" program, bringing DC-area high school students to the 4,000 seat, outdoor Carter Barron Amphitheatre (16th St. & Colorado Ave. NW) for the show.
Shakespeare Theatre's five play, 1997-98 season will begin with The Tempest, directed by Garland Wright (Sept. 2-Oct. 26). Jude Kelly will direct a controversial Othello, Nov. 11-Jan. 4, 1998, which stars white actor Patrick Stewart as the jealous monarch. Peer Gynt follows (Jan. 20-March 8, 1998), directed by Kahn and starring Wallace Acton. Daniel Fish will then direct The Merry Wives Of Windsor (March 24-May 10, 1998), featuring Floyd King and Franchelle Stewart Dorn. Kahn will finish the season, May 26-July 12, 1998, with Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird Of Youth, featuring Elizabeth Ashley. Ashley starred on Broadway in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and Take Her She's Mine. In addition to the five-play season, All's Well That Ends Well will be the Shakespeare Theatre Free For All Entry, starring Kelly McGillis (Hedda Gabler) as Helena.
For free tickets and information on Henry V and the upcoming season at the Shakespeare Theatre, call (202) 628-5770. You can also check out their website at http://shakespearedc.org.
--By David Lefkowitz