Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Act Out: Writers’ Theatre presents Hamlet 9/4-11/11

Writers’ Theatre presents
written by William Shakespeare
directed by Artistic Director Michael Halberstam
featuring Scott Parkinson in the title role

Writers’ Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, opens its 21st season with Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare and directed by Artistic Director Michael HalberstamThe production runs September 4, 2012 – November 11, 2012 at Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe. 

The king is dead—murdered by his own brother, who has claimed the throne and the widowed queen. And the world goes on…but the Prince cannot. Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy is equal parts ghost story, political intrigue, doomed romance and murder mystery, driven by one of literature’s most intriguing, enigmatic and controversial characters.

"It is an unbelievable luxury to be working with Shakespeare's mighty text in such an intimate setting and with such a remarkable cast.  Exploring such epic characters and themes in a compressed environment allows for a level of detail in the work that breathes fresh life into this well-known text." says Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. "Of course, any investigation of Shakespeare's masterpieces must start with the cast and we have a truly remarkable gathering of artists.  The desire to bring Scott Parkinson's Dane to the stage has proved to be a formidable rallying point and Writers' Theatre has subsequently assembled an ensemble of actors that truly articulates the full breadth and sophistication of the Chicago acting community.”

The cast includes Scott Parkinson (Hamlet), Shannon Cochran (Gertrude), Michael Canavan (Claudius), Timothy Edward Kane (Laertes), Larry Yando (Ghost), Ross Lehman(Polonius), Kareem Bandealy (Horatio), Liesel Matthews (Ophelia), Julian Parker (Rosencrantz), Witold Huzior (Fortinbras) and Billy Fenderson (Guildenstern).

The designers are Collette Pollard (scenic), David Hyman (costumes)Sarah Hughey (lighting)Mikhail Fiksel (sound) and Nick Heggestad (properties). The fight director is David Woolley and the stage manager is David Castellanos.

Performances are September 4 - November 11, 2012. The press opening is on Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 7:30pm. Curtain times are Tuesdays (no performance October 30) and Wednesdays at 7:30pm (with select Wednesday 2pm matinees - October 10, 17 and 31 only); Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00pm; Saturdays at 4:00pm and 8:00 pm; Sundays at 2:00pm and 6:00pm (no 6pm performance October 14). Tickets are $35-$70 and are available at the Box Office, 376 Park Avenue, Glencoe; 847-242-6000 or online.


Writers’ Theatre will offer audiences a wide assortment of engagement opportunities related to the play itself, as well as the creative process. 

Hamlet Audience Engagement Events

Writers’ Theatre will offer unprecedented access to the new play process by providing audiences with a wide assortment of engagement opportunities related to the play.
  • From Page to Stage
Writers’ Theatre and select North Shore libraries present the eighth annual From Page to Stage program. This comprehensive series of special events, lectures, readings and film viewings are designed to enhance and enrich the audience experience of one of the plays during each Writers’ Theatre Season.  All events are FREE of charge and open to the public.  Further information about this program, including dates and program titles can be found at

  • Writers’ Wednesdays
Post-show discussions are now held every Wednesday after evening performances at Tudor Court and every other Wednesday after evening performances at Books on Vernon, both starting after the opening performance.  Join the artistic staff and actors from the production after the performance for an in-depth conversation.  Please check individual production calendars for specific dates.  For more information about Writers’ Theatre Audience Enrichment programs visit

  • Making Of…Series
Launched during the 2010/11 Season, Writers' Theatre will once again host the Making Of… series.  For each production, Writers' Theatre offers insight into a different aspect of creating the productions seen on our stages.  Enjoy refreshments during a short and lively presentation by designers and other experts, who walk through the process of preparing for and executing a show.  Making Of… events are open to the public.  For dates and more information, go to


Follow Writers' Theatre on Twitter ( and by 3:00pm, when available, Writers' will Tweet a code that can be used to purchase remaining seats for that day’s performance at a discount. When available, Tweet Seats may be purchased only through the Writers' Theatre website at 

Notes of Interest:
  • Hamlet is a who's who of Writers' Theatre almuni, including:
    • Kareem Bandealy (The CaretakerHeartbreak House)
    • Michael Canavan (The Lion in WinterThe Father)
    • Shannon Cochran (A Little Night MusicThe Lion in Winter - Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination, The Father, Private Lives - Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination).
    • Timothy Edward Kane (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are DeadArms and the Man)
    • Ross Lehman (She Loves Me, As You Like It, Bach at Leipzig, The Uneasy Chair)
    • Liesel Matthews (The Father)
    • Scott Parkinson (Crime & Punishment, The Doctor's Dilemma, Booth, Candida, The Glass Menagerie)
    • Larry Yando (Nixon’s Nixon, Bach at Leipzig, As You Like ItRocket to the Moon)  
  • Scott Parkinson, playing the title role, previously appeared at Writers’ in Crime & Punishment, The Doctor's Dilemma, Booth, Candida and The Glass Menagerie. Chicago credits include sixteen productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, including the title role in Richard II, the Fool in King Lear, Caesar in Antony & Cleopatra and Speed inThe Two Gentlemen of Verona.  He has worked at Court, Northlight, Goodman, Shakespeare on the Green and was in Angels in America with The Journeymen).  Off-Broadway credits include Stage Manager in David Cromer’s Our Town, Orson’s Shadow, The Third Story, Rose Rage and Crime & Punishment and he appeared on Broadway in The Coast of Utopia.
  • This production of Hamlet provides an opportunity for long-time friends Michael Halberstam and Scott Parkinson, both of whom regularly teach Shakespeare, to collaborate as director and actor on their shared vision of Shakespeare's greatest play.

Writers' Theatre season ticket packages provide a convenient theatergoing experience and guarantee access to all of Writers' highly-anticipated productions throughout the season. Four and five play Subscription packages are available, ranging in price from $195 - $275. A five play membership provides ultimate flexibility for $250. 

Subscribers and Members receive exclusive benefits including free ticket exchanges by phone, mail and fax, show reminders by email before each scheduled performance, a one-year subscription to The Brief Chronicle newsmagazine and more. For a complete list of benefits visit

Subscriptions and Memberships are available at the Box Office, 376 Park Avenue, Glencoe, 847-242-6000 and


William Shakespeare (Playwright) was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564. He rose to fame in London as a playwright, actor and partner in a company of players known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. King James I, after ascending to the throne in 1603, would eventually patron the group, thereby changing the name to The King’s Men. During Shakespeare’s career, he wrote 38 plays, 154 sonnets and several other famous epic poems. There are many apocryphal plays thought to be Shakespeare’s and he alone is
credited with contributing close to 2,000 words to the English language. He is without question the most highly regarded and studied playwright in the history of literature. In 1613, Shakespeare is said to have retired to the place of his birth. It is believe that he died there on his birthday, April 23, 1616.

Michael Halberstam (Artistic Director) is the co-founder of Writers’ Theatre. He has directed over 30 productions for the company including Not About Heroes (starring Nicholas Pennell), Private Lives, Look Back In Anger, Candida, The Father, Crime and Punishment, Benefactors, Seagull, The Duchess of Malfi, Othello, The Savannah Disputation, the world premiere musical A Minister’s Wife, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, She Loves Me and The Real Thing. Halberstam has appeared in numerous Writers’ Theatre productions including Richard II (title role), Loot and Misalliance. Previously, he spent two years at The Stratford Festival in Ontario and performed in Timon Of Athens, The Knight of the Burning Pestle (title role), Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It. Halberstam’s other Chicago acting credentials include productions with Wisdom Bridge, Court Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Elsewhere he directed The Gamester (Northlight Theatre), A Man For All Seasons (Peninsula Players Theatre), Hamlet (Illinois Shakespeare Festival), Candida (Jean Cocteau Repertory in New York), Ten Little Indians (Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace), a highly acclaimed revival of Crime and Punishment, which Writers’ Theatre produced off-Broadway at 59E59 Theatres in New York City, Enchanted April and State of the Union (Milwaukee Repertory Theater). In 2010 he directed A Minister’s Wife at Lincoln Center Theater. His forays into opera have included The Rape Of Lucretia (Chicago Opera Theater), Francesca De Ramini featuring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christoph Eschenbach and Le Freyshutz, a Berlioz adaptation of the Weber opera also conducted by Christoph Eschenbach in its North American Premiere (Ravinia Festival). He spent two and a half years teaching Shakespeare at The Theatre School at DePaul University and has received awards for excellence in theater management and/or artistic achievement from The Chicago Drama League, The Arts & Business Council, Chicago Lawyers for the Creative Arts, The Chicago Associates of the Stratford Festival and most recently, the 2010 Zelda Fichandler Award.

Kareem Bandealy (Horatio) returns to Writers' Theatre where he previously appeared in The Caretaker and Heartbreak House. Chicago credits include Rock ‘N’ Roll, Gas For Less,King Lear (Goodman Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Edward II, Romeo & Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), The Illusion (Court Theatre), The Last Act of Lilka Kadison,Peter Pan (Lookingglass Theatre Company), The Real Thing (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company), It’s a Wonderful Life, Oklahoma! (American Theater Company, ensemble member),Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat, Back of the Throat, 10 Acrobats in an Amazing Leap of Faith (Silk Road Rising, associate artist) and Wedding Play (About Face Theatre). Regional credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Three Musketeers, The Tempest (Illinois Shakespeare Festival), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Notre Dame Summer Shakespeare), Stuff Happens, Julius Caesar (Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre) and four seasons at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Bandealy has done several commercials, industrials and films including The Merry Gentleman (directed by Michael Keaton). In 2011, he received the 3Arts Artist Award. Next: Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo(Lookingglass Theatre Company).

Michael Canavan (Claudius) returns to Writers' Theatre where he previously appeared in The Lion in Winter and The Father. Chicago credits include Mizlansky/Zilinsky Or Schmucks (Steppenwolf Theatre Company) and The Dying Gaul (Apple Tree Theatre). Regional credits include A Moon for the Misbegotten (Merrimack Repertory Theatre),Oleanna, Prelude to a Kiss and Reckless, among others (South Coast Repertory), Mark Taper Forum, New Mexico Repertory Theatre and Pittsburgh Public Theatre. Off-Broadway credits include Bug (Barrow St. Theatre), Bang Bang Blues (Joseph Papp Public Theatre) and As You Like It (Riverside Shakespeare Company). Film credits include Flags of Our Fathers, The Island, Hidalgo, Murder by Numbers, Striking Distance and Rat Boy. Recent TV credits include Mad Men, Bones, Criminal Minds, CSI Miami and Entourage. He also had recurring roles on 7th Heaven, Hunter, General Hospital and Santa Barbara.  His voice has been featured in radio dramas, commercials, video games, History Channel documentaries and audiobooks.

Shannon Cochran (Gertrude) returns to Writers’ Theatre where she previously appeared in A Little Night Music, The Lion in Winter (Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination), The Father and Private Lives (Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination). Chicago credits include Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Court Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater and Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. Regional credits include Long Wharf Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Repertory, Geffen Playhouse and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Off-Broadway credits include Bug (Obie Award, The Drama League Award, Drama Desk Award Nomination). First National tour credits include August: Osage County (Helen Hayes Award Nomination). Film credits include The Ring, Star Trek: Nemesis, The Babe and The Perfect Family. TV credits include Scandal (recurring), Fringe, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Off the Map, Numbers and others. Directing credits include The Rivalry, The Real Dr. Strangelove (L.A. Theatre Works), Therese Raquin (Greasy Joan & Company) and Private Passage (Odyssey Theatre Ensemble). Audiobooks include The Unremarkable Heart and Other Stories, Fallen and Call Me Irresistible.

Billy Fenderson (Guildenstern) makes his Writers’ Theatre debut. Chicago credits include Septimus in Arcadia (New Leaf Theatre), Rudi & Kostya in East of Berlin & The Russian Play (Signal Ensemble Theatre), Ian in Hesperia (Right Brain Project) and ensemble in Caucasian Chalk Circle (Theatre Mir). Off-Broadway credits include Coffee in Goodnight Lovin’ Trail (Rising Sun Ensemble) and ensemble in Don Juan Come Back From the War (Classic Stage Company). Film credits include Johnny Boy in Sneakers and Soul and the Editor in Slate (directed by Carmen Vidal Balanzat).

Witold Huzior (Fortinbras) makes his American theatre debut at Writers’ Theatre. Huzior was born and raised in Poland where he graduated from the prestigious Ludwik Solski State Drama School in Cracow. Polish credits include Monsier de Pourceaugnac (PWST Krakow), Summerfolk (PWST Krakow), Atelier- Tailor Studio (PWST Krakow) and Paradise Garden – Sketches of Rozewicz (PWST Krakow). Television credits include an adaptation of Paradise Garden – Sketches of Rozewicz. Huzior lives in Chicago; he is an actor, pilates trainer and massage therapist. He enjoys cooking and marine aquaria.  

Timothy Edward Kane (Laertes) returns to Writers' Theatre where he previously appeared in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Arms and the Man. Chicago credits include An Iliad, The Illusion, Wild Duck, Titus Andronicus, Uncle Vanya, The Romance Cycle, Hamlet (Court Theatre), The North Plan (Steppenwolf Garage), The Miser, She Stoops to Conquer (Northlight Theatre, After Dark Award) and more than a dozen productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theater including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Comedy of Errors, A Flea in Her Ear, Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-Upon-Avon), Love’s Labors Lost, King Johnand King Lear. Regional credits include work at The Mark Taper Forum, Notre Dame Shakespeare, Peninsula Players and the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Education: BS, Ball State University; MFA, Northern Illinois University. Mr. Kane is married to actress Kate Fry.

Ross Lehman (Polonius) returns to Writers’ Theatre where he previously appeared in She Loves Me, As You Like It, Bach at Leipzig and The Uneasy Chair. Chicago credits include Kiss Me Kate, Hot Mikado, Hairspray, The Producers and Fiddler on the Roof (Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre), As You Like It, Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors, King Lear, Troilus and Cressida (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 (Chicago Shakespeare and on tour to the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon); The Man Who Came to Dinner, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Waiting for Godot, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Joseph Jefferson Award), The Rover, A Christmas Carol, Stage Kiss (Goodman Theatre), A Man of No Importance (Joseph Jefferson Award), The Dresser (After Dark Award) and Where's Charlie (Joseph Jefferson Award, Apple Tree Theatre). Broadway credits include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (St. James Theatre), The Tempest (Broadhurst Theatre) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre). His reprise of his role as Koko in The Hot Mikado in London’s West End production earned him a Laurence Olivier Award nomination (Queen's Theatre).

Liesel Matthews (Ophelia) returns to Writers’ Theatre where she last appeared as Bertha in The Father (dir. Michael Halberstam). Chicago credits include Lily in Waving Goodbye(Naked Eye and Steppenwolf Theatre Companies), Sally in House and Garden (Goodman Theater, dir. Robert Falls) and Morse in One Flea Spare (Naked Eye). Broadway credits include Anna in Vincent in Brixton (dir. Richard Eyre). London credits include Jenn in The Distance from Here (Almeida Theatre, dir. David Leveaux). Film credits include Air Force One (dir. Wolfgang Petersen) and A Little Princess (dir. Alfonso Cuaron). Liesel is the co-founder of the Blue Haven Initiative, which is focused on impact investing, and the IDP Foundation, Inc., which focuses on international education projects.

Julian Parker (Rosencrantz) makes his Writers’ Theatre debut. He proudly represents the Chicago-based Definition Theatre Company, of which he is co-founder. Most recently under Defintion Theatre Company, he co-produced and acted in The Brothers Size (Oshoosi) under the direction of Kathleen F. Conlin at The Alley Stage. In May, he graduated from the University of Illinois-Champaign with a BFA in Acting. UIUC credits include Satan in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Jib in Hoodoo Love, Angus in Macbeth and James Hewlett/Richard III in The African Company Presents: Richard III.  He studied in London at Shakespeare’s Globe the summer of 2011.

Scott Parkinson (Hamlet) returns to Writers' Theatre where he previously appeared in Crime & Punishment, The Doctor's Dilemma, Booth, Candida and The Glass Menagerie. Chicago credits include sixteen productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, including the title role in Richard II, the Fool in King Lear, Caesar in Antony & Cleopatra and Speed inThe Two Gentlemen of Verona. Other Chicago credits include Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Guys & Dolls (Court Theatre), Angels in America (The Journeymen), Northlight Theatre, Goodman Theatre; title roles in Hamlet and Richard III, Iago in Othello (Shakespeare on the Green). Regional credits include Cassius in Julius Caesar, The Persians (Shakespeare Theatre Company), Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet, Seagull (Old Globe Theatre), The School for Scandal (Mark Taper Forum), Hartford Stage and La Jolla Playhouse. Off-Broadway credits include Stage Manager in David Cromer’s Our Town, Orson’s Shadow, The Third Story, Rose Rage and Crime & Punishment. National Tour: The 39 Steps. Broadway: The Coast of Utopia (Lincoln Center). TV: Law & Order: SVU. Parkinson is a four-time Joseph Jefferson nominee and the recipient of 2004 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play for Rose Rage.

Larry Yando (Ghost) returns to Writers’ Theatre where he has appeared in Nixon’s Nixon, As You Like It,  Bach at Leipzig and Rocket to the Moon. Since returning from three years as Scar in the national tour of The Lion King, Yando has appeared in Cymbeline, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Twelfth Night, The Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), the world premiere of Goldbrick (Collaboraction and Walkabout Theatres), four years as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre) and Pangloss in Candide(Goodman Theatre and The Huntington Theatre, Boston). Other credits include principal roles at Court Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Milwaukee Reparatory Theater, Madison Reparatory Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, Royal George Theatre, Defiant Theatre, Theatre at the Center, Goodman Theatre and The Shakespeare Theatre Company.  Yando was most recently seen as Roy Cohn in Angels in America, parts 1 & 2 (Court Theatre). He has taught acting at DePaul University, Northwestern University, Columbia University, Act One Conservatory, Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Classical Training Program and is a text/verse coach at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Yando has received Chicago Magazine’s “Actor of the Year,” The Reader’s “Best Actor,” DePaul University’s “Excellence in the Arts” awards and was one of nine national recipients of the 2010 Lunt- Fontanne Fellowship.   

Over the past twenty seasons, Writers' Theatre has become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence. Under the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers’ Theatre has been deemed the “best drama company in the nation” by the Wall Street Journal and achieved twenty years of surplus operations. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of 35,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry. Prized for the finest interpretations of classic and contemporary theatre in its two intensely intimate venues, Writers’ Theatre’s acclaimed work includes Artistic Director Michael Halberstam’s world premiere in Glencoe and subsequent production of A Minister’s Wife at Lincoln Center Theater; David Cromer’s productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and Picnic; and the commissioning, world premiere and New York premiere of Crime and Punishment, which has received more than 30 subsequent regional theater productions.

In July, 2011, Writers’ Theatre announced the hiring of the award-winning, internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects, led by principle Jeanne Gang, FAIA to design a new home for the Theatre in downtown Glencoe which will once again allow the Theatre to grow to accommodate its audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy. The new facility will resonate with and complement the Theatre’s neighboring Glencoe community and will add tremendous value to Chicagoland and the North Shore as a premier cultural destination.
You can find Writers’ Theatre on Facebook or follow Writers' Theatre on Twitter at For more information, visit

Writers' Theatre is pleased to welcome back BMO Harris Bank as Season Sponsor of its 2012/13 Season.

Mary Winton Green returns as Season Sponsor for the 2012/13 Season.

UBS is the Corporate Sponsor Partner of Hamlet.

Writers' Theatre welcomes back Restaurant Partner and Event Sponsor, Winnetka’s award-winning Restaurant Michael. Writers' Theatre patrons receive 10% off their guest check when they present their ticket stub when ordering. Just 10 minutes from the theater at 64 Green Bay Road, Restaurant Michael is the perfect fit for any dining occasion. Call 847-441-3100 to make your reservation.

For more information about Writers' 2012/13 Season Restaurant Partners and offer restrictions visit

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