Although mostly kept offstage, the major players of Shakespeare’s Hamlet do sweep into Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead from time to time. These include Hamlet, his uncle Claudius (who has murdered the prince’s father and married his mother), Hamlet’s mother Queen Gertrude, the King’s trusted advisor, Polonius, and Polonius’s daughter, Ophelia.
John Hoogenakker will be playing the formerly central role of Hamlet, a role he has played previously in Michael Halberstam’s production of Hamlet at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. John performed on the Books on Vernon stage in The Puppetmaster of Lodz. In addition to his many Chicago and regional theatre credits, John is also a very successful voiceover actor.
Appearing as the murderous and power hungry Claudius will be Terry Hamilton, this being his Writers’ Theatre debut. Terry is an Associate Artist at TimeLine Theatre and currently can be seen in their acclaimed production of Alan Bennett’s The History Boys.
Karen Janes Woditsch, who has appeared at Writers’ Theatre almost every season since the theatre began, will apperr opposite Terry as Gertrude. Karen was last seen at Writers’ Theatre playing Aemilia in Othello. She also read the stage directions at our July public reading of Keith Huff’s new play, The Detective’s Wife.
Fredric Stone will appear at Writers’ Theatre for the first time as Polonius, Claudius’s advisor and Ophelia’s father. Fred has been featured in numerous productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre in addition to work at many other New York, Chicago and regional theatre companies. He was also part of the acting company at this summer’s Utah Shakespearean Festival.
Laura Coover joins the cast as Ophelia, a young girl whose life is upended by Hamlet’s quest for revenge. Laura played Alais in Writers’ Theatre’s production of A Lion in Winter, and she just finished a Jeff award-winning performance in Rebecca Gilman’s Blue Surge at Eclipse Theatre.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard will be directed by Writers’ Theatre Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. Performances begin September 29, 2009 at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe.