Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Dramatis Personae: HIDry IV

*cue dramatic music* King Henry IV is a monarch under siege. Not only does he have a full-blown rebellion to deal with, but his unruly daughter Prince Hal is showing no signs of the responsibility it takes to assume the throne. If only she could be more like Hotspur -- the hot-headed gallant leading the rebellion!

That's right, it's time for another of Shakespeare's Histories at Hamlet Isn't Dead, and our first show of the year is a conflation of both parts of Shakespeare's Henry IV. And that cue for dramatic music wasn't just a catchy opener. We've seeped this production in the powerful, live rock music that will bring it to life like never before. Don't miss:

Hamlet Isn't Dead presents:

William Shakespeare's

HENRY IV

starring...

Anthony Simone* as Worcester/Warwick

Brooke Reynolds as Mistress Quickly

Derek Spaldo as Mortimer

Linus Ignatius as Bardolph

Isaac Allen Miller as Hotspur

James Swanson* as King Henry IV

Joshua Mahaffey as Lord Chief Justice

Kevin Percival as Falstaff

Leon Axt as Northumberland

Maddi Ridley as Lady Percy

Marie-Claire Roussel* as Prince Hal

Meghan Bernstein as Mistress Shallow/Westmorland

Michael Luca as Poins
 
As with our female King John last year, we are thrilled to present this timeless tale around the rise this unique and dynamic Prince Hal. Come see how the conflicts, depth, and joyfulness of the piece are heightened at Hamlet Isn't Dead's King Henry IV!
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Tickets are already available HERE! Get them while you can!
For more information, you can visit http://www.hamletisntdead.com, and be sure to subscribe to our Mailing List while you're there.

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Basically, if you want to follow us, you just put hamletisntdead after something. And why wouldn't you want to follow us?? We're a lot of fun, we promise.

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*appearing courtesy of Actor's Equity Association

Monday, December 12, 2016

Struts & Frets: Interviews with the Cast & Crew of Merchant of Venice: Christopher Brown

Christopher Brown is a gem. A bright, green, shiny gem that you want to snuggle at night to keep you warm & safe, like...well, not like a gem then. Like a...teddy bear? That's right. He's a teddy bear! A fuzzy, sweet teddy bear that grows on trees in Georgia and-...wait, shoot, no. Now we're thinking of peaches.

In any case, Chris is great! He plays our Gratiano in Merchant of Venice, and you're gonna fall in love with him one way or the other, onstage or off. You keep reading, and we'll try to figure out how an analogy works...

He's only got eyes (meta)phor you.

HID: First thing’s first: What’s your favorite color, and the favorite color of your character? And why?

CB: I’d say Gratiano’s favorite color would have to be pink. He’s the flamboyant type and as such, likes to rock the bright colors. I’m a bit more grounded…I’d go with a solid forest green.

HID: Gratiano seems like a bit of a party animal. If he could party with anyone else from Shakespeare’s canon, who would it be?

CB: Well I’d say the obvious answer would be Mercutio but I think those two personality types might not clash well… too much energy for one pub to handle. Gratiano would have a damn good time with Merry Wives' Falstaff though. That would be something else.

HID: He’s also *super helpful* at pairing Lorenzo up with his lady. Have you ever hooked anyone up or played a wing-man in real life?

CB: Being a wing-man is one of my favorite things to do in the world. Given that I am a serial monogamist, I find pleasure in the chase for other people. The best is when you have two great friends who both are looking desperately. All you have to do is bring the booze. ;) Gratiano could learn a thing or two from me on that one.

HID: Where would you and Gratiano go for a drink, and what would you each have?

CB: This is an obvious one. We would have two Moscow mules at The Standard hotel. That being said, it would be tight to bring him to the ‘Nawlins French quarter district and see how he fares. It might be tough considering he’s an Italian from the 14th century and most probably an owner of slaves….oh well.

Want to party with Christopher Brown? You'll have to buy him a drink (or several) after the show! Be sure to catch Chris (and all the HIDiots) in Hamlet Isn't Dead's Merchant of Venice, opening this Wednesday!
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Tickets are available at http://hidmov.bpt.me -- ON SALE NOW! Shows run Dec. 14th - 17th.

For more information, you can visit http://www.hamletisntdead.com, and be sure to subscribe to our Mailing List while you're there.

If you haven't Liked us already on Facebook, now is the time! All the cool kids are doing it.
https://www.facebook.com/HamletIsntDead

If Twitter's more your speed, we have that too. We just want to please you any way we can. https://twitter.com/hamletisntdead

Or to see us in action, you can check us out (and subscribe, hint, hint) at https://www.youtube.com/user/hamletisntdead

Basically, if you want to follow us, you just put hamletisntdead after something. And why wouldn't you want to follow us?? We're a lot of fun, we promise.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Struts & Frets: Interviews with the Cast & Crew of Merchant of Venice - Josh Riffle

Yesterday's post was about Josh Mahaffey. This one's about Josh Riffle. In Hamlet Isn't Dead's Merchant of Venice, they play Solario & Salanio, and, take it from us, Josh is Josh's better half. Or...is Josh Josh's? Hm. Either way, they're an amazing duo. And if you thought Mahaffey's guitar skills were impressive, wait til you check out Riffle on the mandolin, banjo, and violin. Not all at the same time...though that does give us an Josh-y idea....

Either way, we'll quit Joshing you and let you read about Josh! Just make sure you read about Josh as well, and then come see them BOTH in Merchant of Venice.

Have you even seen them in the same place at the same time before? Just saying.

HID: First thing’s first: What’s your favorite color, and the favorite color of your character? Any why?

JHR: My personal favorite color is Lime Green, and Salanio’s is Powder Blue. I've always felt like Lime Green is a very clean color with a lot of character. It is bold, and yet also has a certain refined sense. I remember doing production of The Merry Wives Of Windor when I was fifteen or so, and the dressing rooms had a window looking over the harbor in Annapolis.  I looked out the window one time and this beautiful young lady was on the sidewalk wearing a very classy black dress, carrying probably about five or six balloons, and on her feet she had these incredibly loud lime green heels. I mean, seeing The Who at Woodstock level of loud. I was entranced by these shoes almost a block away... and then I nearly missed an entrance. But, ever since that experience, I have loved Lime Green for the strange mystique and overwhelming power it seems to have over me.

I chose Powder Blue for Salanio because Salum in Latin means “the ocean” or “the color of the sea.”  I also thought that it was a very fitting color for Salanio becuase I'm pretty sure he's a winter and could wear it without it wearing him. ;-)

HID: In this show alone, you play the guitar, the mandolin, and the violin? What else do you play, and what instrument would you love to learn to play without any effort?

JHR: I also play Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Lap Steel, Autoharp, Sitar, and am learning how to play Piano and the Accordion. 

More than anything else (without any effort), I would love to learn how to play Pedal Steel and the Oud. I am, in general, not a humongous fan of country music (more specifically modern country music - a lot of the old stuff is quite great!), however, I absolutely LOVE country instruments. And I also don't currently play anything that I really need to use my feet or knees for, so something like that would be a cool endeavor.  But also the Oud.  I just love how mellow the tone usually is, and also that it is a fretless instrument.  I am really big fan of Middle Eastern Music (thanks System of a Down for putting me on that path!), and when I working on my own music I often find myself going down paths that my current (albeit, very large) instrument arsenal cannot accomodate. The Pedal Steel and the Oud are definitely within the next few steps for me, even if those steps are more than a few thousand dollars away. :-P


HID: The scene gets cut off, but what else would you say or do to try and cheer Antonio up at the beginning of the play?

JHR: “Hey man, at least you have your health. And you’ve got a ton of ships! Even more, absolutely everyone loves you! I mean, you’re THE Merchant of Venice!” And then, if that didn't work, he'd probably start tickling Antonio. And if that didn't work, he'd probably enlist Solario to play some Tenacious D for Antonio.  If that doesn't work, then obviously we need to build a watermelon cannon. O_o

HID: Also, we don’t know how to ask this, but…what’s wrong with the Prince of Morocco?

JHR: I think you could chalk it up to hubris. He just has a very high opinion of himself and believes that he is the most clever individual with the best reasoning and the best understanding of the world around him. I like to believe he is quite well travelled, but that everything he sees of the world around him is filtered through the lens of his privileged life. I also don’t think he has to capacity to understand why anyone else wouldn’t think he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I think his language barriers are a symptom of this detachment from the rest of the world. But, you see, he really thinks he uses the best words. Very sad. Very, Very sad. I don't think he has a Twitter though. #MakeMoroccoGreatAgain


Red state or blue, you owe it to yourself to cross whatever borders you must to see this show. Walk, run, skip, or simply let Josh's music pick you up and carry you right to the theatre. See you there!
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Tickets are available at http://hidmov.bpt.me -- ON SALE NOW! Shows run Dec. 14th - 17th.

For more information, you can visit http://www.hamletisntdead.com, and be sure to subscribe to our Mailing List while you're there.

If you haven't Liked us already on Facebook, now is the time! All the cool kids are doing it.
https://www.facebook.com/HamletIsntDead

If Twitter's more your speed, we have that too. We just want to please you any way we can. https://twitter.com/hamletisntdead

Or to see us in action, you can check us out (and subscribe, hint, hint) at https://www.youtube.com/user/hamletisntdead

Basically, if you want to follow us, you just put hamletisntdead after something. And why wouldn't you want to follow us?? We're a lot of fun, we promise.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Struts & Frets: Interviews with the Cast & Crew of Merchant of Venice - Joshua Mahaffey

Jimi Hendrix. Jimmy Page. Joshua Mahaffey. All amazing guitarists,  all starting with the same letter. Coincidence? We don't even care if it is, we just adore this guy. He's been strumming onstage for us for some time now, and even when we cast him without the guitar, he made sweet music with his ferocious acting. But this time, lucky you, you get to read all about Josh, then catch him in all his musical and theatrical glory. Don't miss out!

Here seen practicing for his mugshot, like all great musicians.

HID: First thing’s first: What’s your favorite color, and the favorite color of your character? Any why?

JM: My favorite color remains blue. For evidence supporting such an opinion, I refer readers to the sky, the ocean, the style of music serving as the cornerstone of all rock/pop/country, the ocean, the hue in my piercing gaze, and last but not least, the sky. And the ocean.

Solario’s favorite color is bright orange – like the sun (or a sunburst finish on a siiiiiick Stratocaster) He’s always been drawn to the sun and the solar system, not sure why…..

HID: You play the guitar very masterfully in this show, and you also play the piano, correct? Tell us a little about your musical background, and how you become so amazing.

JM: Well aw-shucks to the max! I guess it started when I was little, my Dad would play the piano a lot in the house (he’s the real deal.) I never took formal lessons, but loved to pick up on little tricks and things he was doing. That’s where the seed was planted.

Then when I was 10 we were allowed to join band at school. I wanted to play the saxophone (then the coolest instrument) but alas my hands were too small, so they made me play the clarinet. That did not last long, but I did pick up some fundamentals of reading music that would help later on.

It wasn’t until I was 12 that I picked up the guitar. I started with lessons, and instantly became obsessed. The Beatles were a large part of my guitar education. I thought I had a spiritual experience the first time I heard the opening riff of Day Tripper, but it was nothing compared to the one I had when I played it for the first time. After about three years of lessons, I stopped so I could have more time for high school drama (and for theatre) but I kept learning things on my own.

Perhaps the most significant musical intervention in my life was that of the high school choir. My future wife and I both sang in the choir between plays/classes/make out sessions. Our teacher was a woman so full of life, and so demanding of excellence. She taught us to value musicality and feeling as equals to accuracy in pitch and rhythm. In our senior year, after a large amount of effort on our part, and an enormous amount on hers, our choir got the opportunity to travel to Austria and sing for the festivities tied to Mozart’s 250th birthday. Needless to say, the experience was life-altering and humbling.

3 years after we graduated, that wonderful woman, Ms. Cathy Wallace, lost a battle to cancer. Every time I play or sing, even if I’m not the most up-to-snuff technically (often the case) I strive to capture and convey the feeling of the music. That’s the mark she left on me. And I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Nowadays, I am the epitome of happiness when I get to combine my love of theatre with my love of music - Whether it’s playing in the pit for a musical, playing in a band of former BFAs who want to combine theatre training with songwriting, or playing in these wonderful HID shows. Music and storytelling have always held hands tightly, and I’m happiest in that grip.

HID: Solario & Salanio are like two peas in a pod, but what are their biggest similarities and differences?

JM: They’re biggest similarities are music and booze. If they’re not playing their banjos and guitars, then their probably drinking and playing their banjos and guitars. But I think they’re biggest difference is that Solario love to say “yes” to the little oddities that life presents. For instance, if a poor boy with a great infection wants work for our buddy, Solario is all about it, while the ever-cautious Salanio remains a skeptic. It’s a dynamic that allows them to thrive and survive at the same time.

HID: Also, we don’t know how to ask this, but…what’s wrong with the Prince of Arragon?

JM: Well……. There are a few things at play with our buddy Arragon. First of all, he suffers from chronic Affluenza. He has never known a world in which he doesn’t get the material possessions he wants. That can be a serious detriment to mental and social development.

But at the same time, he hasn’t always gotten the emotional care that he needs. His passions have never been fostered. For instance, deep down, he’s always wanted to be a dancer, but his responsibilities to the family and the court have made that an impossibility. It’s hard being different in a world that values uniformity and the projection of strength. Also, the beauty that he sees in Portia has less to do with Portia herself, and more to do with those fierce garments she’s wearing. Jealous!!!!!!

If you made it this far, you passed the first test. The next is getting down to Westbeth to see Josh (and the rest of the HIDiots) in Merchant of Venice! Opening December 14th!
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Tickets are available at http://hidmov.bpt.me -- ON SALE NOW! Shows run Dec. 14th - 17th.

For more information, you can visit http://www.hamletisntdead.com, and be sure to subscribe to our Mailing List while you're there.

If you haven't Liked us already on Facebook, now is the time! All the cool kids are doing it.
https://www.facebook.com/HamletIsntDead

If Twitter's more your speed, we have that too. We just want to please you any way we can. https://twitter.com/hamletisntdead

Or to see us in action, you can check us out (and subscribe, hint, hint) at https://www.youtube.com/user/hamletisntdead

Basically, if you want to follow us, you just put hamletisntdead after something. And why wouldn't you want to follow us?? We're a lot of fun, we promise.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Struts & Frets: Interviews with the Cast & Crew of Merchant of Venice - Michael Luca

For Michael Luca, one role's never enough. Whether he's playing a character who plays another character in a play within a play or pulling double duty like his Lorenzo/Gobbo track in this show, Michael's a guy who likes his plate full. And are we always willing to accommodate. Don't miss the man of a thousand faces (and voices and talents and words) in Hamlet Isn't Dead's Merchant of Venice.

And this is only Face #874. Impressed yet?

HID: First thing’s first: What’s your favorite color, and the favorite color of each of your characters? And why?

ML:  My favorite color is purple because I think it’s rare to see and very pleasing to look at.  


Launcelot’s favorite color is gray because it lives happily between the two extremes of black and white: it is not forced to choose a side!
Lorenzo’s favorite color is dark blue: it’s sensitive, yet trusty, and can pass under the radar if need be.

HID: What do Lorenzo and Launcelot most have in common? What are their biggest differences?

ML: Lorenzo and Launcelot share a belief that a greater lifestyle awaits them just beyond their doorstep if they would only take a chance to be adventurous. Fortunately for them both, they do take those adventurous steps, and end better than where they began because of it. 

Their biggest difference is that Lorenzo would have run away from Shylock first chance he got! And he wouldn’t have to think twice about it.

HID: Who would win in a fight? Lorenzo, Launcelot, or The Wall?

ML: Wellllll, Launcelot is a pacifist, so he wins by default. Lorenzo respects Launcelot too much to ever dare strike him (he is vital to Lorenzo and Jessica eloping). Wall, though, he is on the side of indiscriminate justice: he would mess up Launcelot and Lorenzo in no time if he had to. He would even separate them, restricting their communication to whispers—which they could only speak with his permission.

In a battle of wits, however, Launcelot would run rhetorical circles around Wall and Lorenzo—albeit accidentally: when under immense pressure, he can make extremely deep observations about existence…he might have some difficulty when it comes to processing new information quickly, though…

HID: What’s been the most challenging part of this process for you? What’s been the easiest?

ML:  The most challenging part of this process has been constructing the “Fiend/Conscience” soliloquy with piano music.  Speaking text while playing music has been one of the more difficult challenges I’ve ever had to perform onstage.  The easiest part has been collaborating with the brilliant minds in the room.  Every one of my fellow actors (and the creative team, too!) has had something nuanced and interesting to add to this beautiful show.

Prepare to be impressed, as Michael Luca sing, dances, laughs, cries, & loves his way through Hamlet Isn't Dead's Merchant of Venice. You don't want to miss him (or the rest of the HIDiots) for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
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Tickets are available at http://hidmov.bpt.me -- ON SALE NOW! Shows run Dec. 14th - 17th.

For more information, you can visit http://www.hamletisntdead.com, and be sure to subscribe to our Mailing List while you're there.

If you haven't Liked us already on Facebook, now is the time! All the cool kids are doing it.
https://www.facebook.com/HamletIsntDead

If Twitter's more your speed, we have that too. We just want to please you any way we can. https://twitter.com/hamletisntdead

Or to see us in action, you can check us out (and subscribe, hint, hint) at https://www.youtube.com/user/hamletisntdead

Basically, if you want to follow us, you just put hamletisntdead after something. And why wouldn't you want to follow us?? We're a lot of fun, we promise.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Struts & Frets: Interviews with the Cast & Crew of Merchant of Venice - Leo Goodman

Fun fact: Leo Goodman was the first actor we saw in the room for our Merchant of Venice auditions. What was it about him that appealed to us and kept him in our minds all the way through the audition process? Was it his ease of emotional range and depth as an actor? Was it his understanding of the text both intellectually and emphatically? Was it his natural warmth and openness as a person? You'll have to come and decide for yourself at Hamlet Isn't Dead's Merchant of Venice, opening December 14th!

Trick question: it was that 'light-up-the-room' smile.

HID: First thing’s first: What’s your favorite color, and the favorite color of your character? And why?

LG:  Mine’s green, like trees and grass.  His is turquoise, like the ring his wife gave him before they were married.

HID: Shylock’s a centuries-old character who’s been played by countless huge stars. In the play version of your life, who do you picture playing Leo Goodman?

LG:  Hopefully anybody with a full head of hair, but probably Paul Giamatti. 


HID: If you and Shylock are going out for a business lunch, where are you going and why? How does the meeting play out?

LG:  A Kosher deli, because if you’re gonna get pastrami Kosher is just better.  It all falls off the rails when I accidentally let slip that I love bacon.

HID: Any parting thoughts about your experience playing Shylock? Any ways he’s different than you initially imagined?

LG:  I’d never actually read or seen the play before.  All I knew was the few lines that everybody knows (If you prick us, do we not bleed).  The big surprise was that aside from that one part the character is, at first glance, written almost entirely as both a stereotype and a villain. The challenge is playing away from that, making him more than just bloodthirsty.  Which isn’t to say bloodthirsty isn’t fun.

Speaking of thirst, come slate yours (for theatre, not for blood) with Leo (and the rest of the HIDiots) at Merchant of Venice. Opening soon, and opening impressively!

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Tickets are available at http://hidmov.bpt.me -- ON SALE NOW! Shows run Dec. 14th - 17th.

For more information, you can visit http://www.hamletisntdead.com, and be sure to subscribe to our Mailing List while you're there.

If you haven't Liked us already on Facebook, now is the time! All the cool kids are doing it.
https://www.facebook.com/HamletIsntDead

If Twitter's more your speed, we have that too. We just want to please you any way we can. https://twitter.com/hamletisntdead

Or to see us in action, you can check us out (and subscribe, hint, hint) at https://www.youtube.com/user/hamletisntdead

Basically, if you want to follow us, you just put hamletisntdead after something. And why wouldn't you want to follow us?? We're a lot of fun, we promise.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Struts & Frets: Interviews with the Cast & Crew of Merchant of Venice - Emily Loewus

"Jessica" may not be the most Shakespearean name, but she's a very Shakespearean character. She's strong, eloquent, and very, very lovely. And, wouldn't you know it, Emily Loewus is all of those things too! Read all about her below, then come see her as Jessica in Hamlet Isn't Dead's Merchant of Venice. If you don't, its your loss; she'll still be up there exhibiting her amazingness!

Exhibit A. (The A stands for Amazing)

HID: First thing’s first: What’s your favorite color, and the favorite color of your character? And why?

EL: I think both of our favorite colors are blue, but different shades. Mine is light, clear sky blue. Jessica loves royal blue. She likes the elegance and strength it conveys. 

HID: What’s the first thing Jessica wants to do when she’s out of her father’s house and able to experience the big, wide world?

EL: Go to Disney World! In all seriousness, Jessica does want to travel. She’s never left Venice, she’s never even seen the whole city. She wants to experience the world and meet new people, and do it all with her husband at her side.

HID: Jessica & Lorenzo are a pretty adventurous, romantic subplot. What’s the most romantic thing that’s happened in your life that you’re willing to tell us about?

EL: When my boyfriend and I hadn’t seen each other in four months when I was studying in London, he came over at the very end. He beat me to my flat that night, covered the whole place in roses and candles and waited for me to get home. Walking in to see everything decorated so beautifully and him there was pretty incredible.

HID: Jessica says Launcelot improved her living situation with her father. How exactly did he do that?

EL: He gave her something she never had – friendship. She loves her father, but she doesn’t have anyone around who she can be honest with and laugh with. Launcelot is the one person whom she can trust to be herself around and tell her secrets too. Everyone needs that.

Well said, Emily. Won't YOU come and befriend Emily (and the rest of the HIDiots) at #HIDMoV? It's a show full of love, laughter, & learning, and you'd be a fool to let it go! See you there!
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Tickets are available at http://hidmov.bpt.me -- ON SALE NOW! Shows run Dec. 14th - 17th.

For more information, you can visit http://www.hamletisntdead.com, and be sure to subscribe to our Mailing List while you're there.

If you haven't Liked us already on Facebook, now is the time! All the cool kids are doing it.
https://www.facebook.com/HamletIsntDead

If Twitter's more your speed, we have that too. We just want to please you any way we can. https://twitter.com/hamletisntdead

Or to see us in action, you can check us out (and subscribe, hint, hint) at https://www.youtube.com/user/hamletisntdead

Basically, if you want to follow us, you just put hamletisntdead after something. And why wouldn't you want to follow us?? We're a lot of fun, we promise.