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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sam Waterston Hamlet Update

Photos by Aubrey Reuben (from Playbill)
As readers of this blog already know, Law & Order's Sam Waterston is starring as Polonius in the Public Theater Shakespeare in the Park presentation of Hamlet, which opened recently at the Delacorte Theatre in New York’s Central Park.

Reviews were somewhat mixed. Variety says ”Sam Waterston's Polonius also overdoes the clowning,” but other reviews are more complementary.

Reviews aside, there was also a fundraiser for the Public Theatre, which helped raise $1.5 million. As always at these types of events. there are some photos of attendees. An article about the fundraiser is below, and a link to more pictures taken at the fundraiser can be found at Playbill’s web site, here.

Sam Waterston, Warren Spector Raise $1.5 Million at `Hamlet'

By Mary Romano

June 18 (Bloomberg) -- A bloody production of ``Hamlet'' entertained some 600 patrons at the Public Theater's opening night party in Manhattan's Central Park.

Those feeding al fresco on grilled sirloin and roasted salmon beside the open-air theater, included Public Theater board chairman and ousted Bear Stearns co-president Warren Spector, Steve Martin, Cynthia Nixon, Kathleen Turner and Andie MacDowell. The event raised $1.5 million.

``Hamlet'' presented Michael Stuhlbarg as the Prince of Denmark in his first leading role during these summer Shakespeare outings. He did not fare well according to Bloomberg's theater critic John Simon. Lauren Ambrose of ``Six Feet Under'' played Ophelia and Andre Braugher was Claudius in a modern dress production directed by Public Theater chief Oskar Eustis.

Sam Waterston, who played Hamlet when the play was last produced here in 1975, now donned the gloomy suit of Polonius, the pompous adviser to the king. His alter ego, district attorney Jack McCoy of television's ``Law and Order,'' would have protested the carnage on stage. The more delicate members of the audience gasped as Hamlet unhooked his sword and slashed the throat of his unloved stepfather Claudius.

The weather turned colder during the three-and-a-half hour performance, and the souvenir stand did brisk business selling $40 red and black Public Theater sweatshirts at intermission. Afterwards, quaint Belvedere Castle, which overlooks the theater, welcomed patrons and the cast with an open bar and music by Usher and Rihanna.

Stuhlbarg, 39, said in an interview that he's been fascinated with Hamlet since he was in high school. ``I was a teenager raging against the world, and he's raging against his world,'' he said.

Hamlet isn't the dream role for benefit guest Bobby Cannavale, nominated for a Tony Award this year for ``Mauritius.''

``I like Harry in 4, Harry in 5,'' he said about Shakespeare's King Henry plays. ``Henry is a bad ass. I like the warmongers.''

Speeches before the show honored board member and architect David Rockwell, whose credits include set designs for Broadway's ``Hairspray'' and ``Legally Blonde.''

Rockwell said in an interview that although beefing up donations has become challenging, ``I'm less worried now that we've completed this fundraising.''

``We just keep getting our mission statement out there that the Public Theater is embedded in the cultural landscape of New York,'' he said.

Tickets are free to Shakespeare in the Park to those who line up before the show at the Delacorte, with a limit of two tickets per person. Some tickets are available by registering online on performance days or by making a $160 contribution for one seat. Information: http://www.publictheater.org.

``Hamlet'' continues through June 29 at the Delacorte Theater; enter the park at 81st Street and Central Park West or 79th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

1 comment:

samfan said...

I bet the show is great. I am surprised all of those famous people were there. I believe one of Sam Waterston's daughters was there also, good for him. I wish I could go and see it. Thanks for the pictures they are really good.