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'Hamlet' and 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead' play in repertory style

Kansas City Actors Theatre announces its 10th season and returns to its repertory format for "Hamlet" and "Rosencranz and Guilderstern Are Dead"
Kansas City Actors Theatre announces its 10th season and returns to its repertory format for "Hamlet" and "Rosencranz and Guilderstern Are Dead"
Courtesy of Kansas City Actors Theatre

Kansas City Actors Theatre continues its string of strong productions with two acclaimed shows running back to back in true repertory style, Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” with previews already underway and opening nights slated for Sept. 4 and 5 at City Stage in Kansas City’s historic Union Station.

Opening nights will be Sept. 4 for “Hamlet” and Sept. 5 for “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,” KCAT announced. This season marks a milestone for Kansas City Actors Theatre with this being the 10th season.

KCAT return to its roots with rotating repertory by opening alternating performances of “Hamlet” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.” Previews started Aug. 26, with opening nights to follow on Sept. 4 and 5. The plays compliment each other as one is a drama while the other is a comedy based on characters from “Hamlet.” Performances run through Sept. 28.

“These plays contrast wonderfully, one a tragedy and perhaps the finest drama ever written, and the other a contemporary and clever comedy about exactly the same characters. Both plays are acted by the same 16 actors,” a spokesman for KCAT, said.

As a special feature of this run KCAT plans “Festival Days,” on which both plays are performed in the same day, “Hamlet” in the afternoon and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern” in the evening. Gourmet boxed dinners will be for sale on site or for pre-order through Central Ticket Office, according to information provided by KCAT.

“The creative theme for this landmark season is “The Art of the Family.” Both of these plays squarely address that topic, though in very different ways. The two have the same characters – and the same 16 actors – but one is tragic and widely regarded as the greatest play ever written, and the other is a Tony-winning clever comedy,” a KCAT spokesman said.

While developing and rehearsing this tandem of plays, another production, “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds,” played at Kansas City’s The Living Room Theatre. The show also featured a fractured family in turmoil and pitted against each other.

“Perhaps the quintessential dysfunctional family, “Hamlet” offers a chance for the company to sink its teeth into the work of William Shakespeare. Given the impressive breadth of Shakespearean experience among the company members, Actors Theatre is thrilled and ready to bring its take to this most classic of stories. Mark Robbins directs,” a spokesman said.

According to KCAT, “Viewing this family from an alternative angle, Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” serves as a perfect comic complement to Shakespeare’s tragedy and offers Actors Theatre the chance to return to their favorite format, rotating repertory. Stoppard’s play turns Hamlet on its head by taking two minor characters, the Laurel-and-Hardy-like pair of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and making them the stars of this absurdist comedy. Richard Esvang, Professor of Theatre at Kansas Wesleyan University, directs.”

“Hamlet” cast: Hamlet, Jake Walker; Claudius, Scott Cordes; Gertrude, Cinnamon Schultz; Ghost of Hamlet’s Father, Player, Mark Robbins; Polonius, Walter Coppage; Laertes, Matt Lindblom; Ophelia, Dianne Yvette; Horatio, Kyle Dyck; Rosencrantz, Vanessa Severo; Guildenstern, Rusty Sneary; Player King, Brian Paulette; Osric, Player, Will Fritz; Player, Amy Kelly; Player, Ryan Hruza; Player, Nikky Badejo; Player, Matthew Schmidli.

“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern” cast: Rosencrantz, Vanessa Severo; Guildenstern, Rusty Sneary; The Player, Brian Paulette; Alfred, Will Fritz; Hamlet, Jake Walker; Claudius, Scott Cordes; Gertrude, Cinnamon Schultz; Polonius, Walter Coppage; Laertes, Matt Lindblom; Ophelia, Dianne Yvette; Horatio, Kyle Dyck; Tragedian, Mark Robbins; Tragedian, Amy Kelly; Tragedian, Ryan Hruza; Tragedian, Nikky Badejo; Tragedian, Matthew Schmidli.

Creative Team for both productions: Director for “Hamlet,” Mark Robbins; Director for “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” Richard Esvang; Stage Manager, Jim Mitchell; Set Design, Gary Mosby; Lighting Design, Shane Rowse; Costume Design, Lauren Roark; Composer, Greg Mackender; Sound Design, Sarah Putts; Props Design, Regina Weller; Assistant Stage Manager, Lexie Klasing; Assistant Stage Manager, Lacey Willis; Dramaturg, Felicia Londre; Fight Choreographer, Logan Black; House Manager, Alyson Germinder.

The public can see both plays performed on the same day on planned “Festival Days.” The “Festival Days,” on which “Hamlet” is performed in the afternoon and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern” in the evening, are scheduled for Sept. 6, 13, 21 and 28. Gourmet boxed dinners will be available for sale at the theater or may be ordered in advance through Central Ticket Office.

Tickets are on sale now through Central Ticket Office, (816) 235-6222 or online at KCAT’s website.