Director of Marketing and Strategic Advancement
Great Lakes Theater
March 09, 2017
The production features ALTERNATING FEMALE AND MALE ACTORS IN THE SHOW'S TITLE ROLE and immersive, Elizabethan theater-inspired ONSTAGE/STAGESIDE SEATING experiences for audiences.
CLEVELAND, OH - Great Lakes Theater (GLT), Cleveland’s Classic Company, continues the second half its 55th season with the world’s most famous tragedy, William’s Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The production will be performed in the company’s intimate and audience-friendly home at the Hanna Theatre, Playhouse Square, March 31 – April 15, 2017. GLT’s Producing Artistic Director, Charles Fee directs the production.
Generous support for Hamlet was provided by John and Barbara Schubert, Shakespeare in American Communities (a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest) and The Sherwin Williams Company with additional support from the Susan and John Lebold Family. Great Lakes Theater is also supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. Season support is provided by The Cleveland Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council. Media sponsors for GLT’s 55th season are The FORM Group, ideastream and WKSU.
The role of Hamlet will be played by two actors: Laura Welsh Berg and Jonathan Dyrud. The actors will alternate by performance. “In choosing to double cast the role of Hamlet with a woman and a man playing alternate performances, we are exploring the possibility that Hamlet’s nature and his responses to the dramatic action may reveal more depth and elicit more compassion than we would experience through a single actor’s interpretation of the role,” said Charles Fee, director of Hamlet and GLT’s Producing Artistic Director. He continued, “might both actors’ performances be affected by working together on the role in rehearsal? Perhaps casting two actors as different as Laura and Jonathan are, is an acknowledgment of Hamlet’s divided soul.”
The production’s innovative design concept will transform the Hanna Theatre into an Elizabethan-style theater that incorporates new Onstage and Stageside seating sections which surround the playing area and create an immersive experience for audiences. (Onstage and Stageside seats are padded benches with backs similar in style to church pews. Benches are padded. Seating is assigned. All Onstage and Stageside seating tickets are $15.) “We have chosen to set Hamlet in the Elizabethan period for several reasons. Foremost is our desire to create a stage structure similar to that of the Globe Theatre in which Hamlet was performed,” said director Fee. He elaborated, “Our scenic design will allow part of the audience to sit on stage, surrounding the actors, as well as on either side of the platform downstage. With this choice we are inviting the audience onstage to create a sense of participation in the action of the play. For those sitting on stage the experience may feel like being in the play rather than passively watching the play. For those sitting in the traditional location in front of the stage, the audience on stage will appear to be in the play – like a jury in a court room judging the events as they unfold. The Stageside seating works to increase the pressure of the audience in relationship to the action onstage.”
Hamlet is the world’s most famous tragedy. When Hamlet’s suspiciously widowed mother swiftly marries his uncle, amidst demands for revenge from his murdered father’s ghost, the young prince Hamlet resolves that something is indeed “rotten in the state of Denmark.” Forced by circumstance into a world turned upside down by betrayal, distrust and madness, Hamlet spirals through a torrent of erratic emotion and bizarre behavior in a relentless pursuit of truth. Torn between duty and doubt, he wrestles tenaciously with the profound question “to be or not to be,” until fate exacts its final answer.
Great Lakes Theater’s acclaimed home at the Hanna Theatre features a visionary“Great Room” inspired design that integrates the artist and audience experience into a single unified environment. Hanna patrons select from a variety of seating opportunities including traditional theater seats, club chairs, lounge/bar seats, banquette couches and private box seating. Arranged in an intimate 550-seat thrust configuration where the audience surrounds the stage, no seat is further than 12 rows from the performance.
Great Lakes Theater offers patrons a robust series of Experience Enhancement Programming that is organized by day of week. The series highlights the Hanna’s unique amenities and affords access to artists.
----“Director’s Night” offers audiences the opportunity to take part in a lively pre-show discussion with Charles Fee before the Friday preview performance. (Offered: Mar. 31)
----“Salon Thursdays” feature an engaging pre-show discussion/presentation beginning one hour before curtain with Hamlet artists. (Offered: Apr. 6, 13)
----“Happy Hour Fridays” afford audience members the opportunity to gather, socialize and enjoy appetizers or beverages for sale in the Hanna’s bar and lounge beginning ninety minutes before the performance. (Offered: Mar. 31 & Apr. 7, 14)
----“Playnotes Pre-Show Discussions” inform patrons with illuminating introductions to the content and history of each play in GLT’s season presented by a guest scholar before Saturday matinee performances. (Offered: Apr. 8, 15)
----“Nightcap Night Saturdays” are designed to encourage audience members to stay after the evening performance and mingle with the GLT artistic company in the Hanna’s lounge. The Hanna’s bar is open ninety minutes after Nightcap Night Saturday performances.” (Offered: Apr. 8, 15)
----“Ice Cream Social Sundays” offer patrons the opportunity to enjoy a London theatre tradition brought state-side. Audience members are invited to purchase a cool, personal ice cream treat before the show or at intermission. Ice cream will be offered at every performance in Deathtrap’s run, but on “Ice Cream Social Sundays,” the treat is half price. (Offered: Apr. 2, 9)
Great Lakes Theater will continue to afford patrons extraordinary access to its artists and production process at every Hanna Theatre performance of Hamlet. The Hanna always opens its doors ninety minutes before each performance allowing patrons to observe the complete pre-show preparation process of GLT’s actors and technical staff. Elements traditionally hidden from audiences such as stage combat rehearsals, dance calls, prop/scenic pre-sets, technical cue rehearsals and actor warm-ups will be conducted in full view of patrons, offering GLT audiences an unprecedented glimpse into the theatrical process.
Great Lakes Theater will also renew its New Deal pricing initiative this spring - designed to maximize accessibility for audiences. As part of the program, adult tickets begin at $15 and student tickets for any seat at any performance are $13 - making GLT one of the most affordable entertainment options in the region. Hamlet’s new Onstage and Stageside seating section tickets are available for $15 each. Student ticket pricing also applies to these seating sections.
Curtain times for all evening performances will remain at 7:30 p.m., with a 1:30 p.m. curtain time for Saturday matinees and a 3:00 p.m. curtain time for Sunday matinees. A sign-interpreted and audio-described performance of the production will be offered on Sunday, April 9th at 3:00 p.m.
Single performance tickets range in price from $15-$80 (Student tickets are $13) and are available by calling (216) 241-6000, by ordering online or by visiting the Playhouse Square Ticket Office. Groups of ten or more receive discounts of up to 25% by calling (216) 453-4457.
Great Lakes Theater, the first resident company of Playhouse Square, has brought the pleasure, power and relevance of classic theater to the widest possible audience since 1962. On its main stage and through its extensive education programming, Great Lakes Theater positively impacts the lives of over 100,000 adults and students annually.