A week from Wednesday will mark the opening of Hamlet, the fourth and final production in the season for the California Shakespeare Theater. It promises to be an inventive production of Shakespeare's seminal tragedy, and it's the first production of the play that CalShakes has done in over a decade.
Expect a production set in modern times, with an interracial cast, but beyond that we can't tell you too much.
It's directed by Leisl Tommy, who previously directed the well received Ruined at Berkeley Rep in 2011. Tommy also previously worked with actor LeRoy McClain, who plays Hamlet in a 2011 production of The Piano Lesson at Yale Repertory Theater. His Broadway credits include Cymbeline and The History Boys.
Zainab Jah, who appeared in Ruined, will play Ophelia; CalShakes Associate Artists Julie Eccles (title role in 2011’s Candida) plays Gertrude; highly talented A.C.T. company member Nick Gabriel will play Horatio; the hilarious Danny Schie, who always brings down the house at CalShakes, will play the Player King among other roles; and Dan Hiatt (who played the title role in Uncle Vanya a couple years back) will play Polonius.
Ms. Tommy, a native of South Africa, made her Bay Area debut with Ruined but clearly couldn't stay away. Other recent credits include Party People (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); The White Man - A Complex Declaration of Love (DanskDansk Theatre, Denmark); Eclipsed (Yale Rep, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company); and The Good Negro (The Public Theater, Dallas Theater Center).
Get tickets now. Performances run from September 19 to October 14 at the Bruns Amphitheater in Orinda. As always, you're encouraged to picnic before the show and bring your wine and stuff inside.