Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dramatis Personae: The HIDing of the Shrew

It's the 18th-most wonderful time of the year! That's right, Hamlet Isn't Dead has a new play toward!

The Taming of the Shrew!!!

For those of you who've been living under a Yule log for the past few weeks, here are the details! HID's second production in our effort to present the entire canon of William Shakespeare in chronological order goes up December 13th. We'll be performing at the 133rd St. Arts Center in Manhattan, and you can reserve a ticket (or twenty) here: Taming of the Shrew Tickets!

But let's not get ahead of oursleves. In order to make this show a properly-funded reality, we need your help to finish up our Kickstarter campaign! We have some fabulous incentives, and anything you can donate really does help. Find your way into our hearts here: HID Kickstarter

But let's get even less ahead of ourselves. Before you wrap our presents, you'd obviously like to meet the shining faces you'll be bringing to the stage! Well, without further ado, let's meet the festive cast and crew of The Taming of the Shrew!

(Appearing in alphabetical order for the sake of ego)

Tiffany Abercrombie - Katharina

Tiffany will be portraying the female love interest in this classic clash, Katharina "Kate the Curst" Minola. Tiffany herself is actually very amiable and has her theatrical roots spread severally about the city of New York. As an alumnus of NYU's Stella Adler Studio and office/reservations manager of Sleep No More, she's been an active part of NYC's arts community for years. She even has the Hamlet leggings to prove it. 

Jessica Cermack - Baptista Minola

Odds are, if you've ever seen a production of Taming, you've seen the role of Baptista Minola swapped from father figure to mother dearest. And if you've ever seen Jessica perform, you'd understand why we followed that trend. With international training in England and Russia, she is a great fit for the mother of these dueling daughters.

April Glick - Biondella

If you're looking for the role of Biondella in your copy of the first folio, you'll be sadly disappointed. That's right, April was so charming in her audition that we swapped the role of Biondello for one with a more feminine ending. Also, her special skills specifically list "ululating", so be sure to ask her about that.

Zack Friedman - Gremio/Widow

Let it be made clear, Zack Friedman is neither an old man, nor a woman. But with the significant acting chops you've come to expect from a HID production, you'll be amazed to see him play both! To be fair, he just played a Wall in Midsummer Night's Dream at the Secret Theatre, and he basically blended in with the scenery! ...wait.

Travis Klemm - Hortensio

If you remember anything from Hamlet Isn't Dead's production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, you probably remember Travis as the hilariously inventive track of Thruio/Lance/Eglamour. We were almost hesitant to cast him in Taming fearing he would completely steal the show again. But this Texan-born LIPA grad is so versatile, it was a risk we were willing to take.

David Andrew Laws - Petruchio

This is not David's first appearance in The Taming of the Shrew. In 2004 he stretched himself into the role of Gremio, and he first tackled Petruchio in 2008. Since then he's had recurring dreams of reprising the role, which are finally coming true this December. Let's just hope, for the audience's sake, he's wearing more onstage than he is in said dreams.

Kevin Percival - Grumio

Kevin plays Petruchio's servant Grumio, but as a married man, he knows all about that sort of life. (Ba-dum chh!) Over the years, he has received many awards, such as the Kennedy Center ACTF Irene Ryan award and the Amy Boe Memorial Character Actor Scolarship. In our production, we've awarded him Most Likely to Suffer a Concusion from having His Cute Little Face Squeezed So Hard.

Samantha Morrice - Bianca

Samantha plays Biana,  Katherine the curst's younger, more beautiful, more desired sister. But don't let us decide for you! If she looks familiar in this headshot, she has been in New York City for the past six years, from her days at NYU to her inception within HID. Come tell her hello!

Nicholas Jaye Stauffer - Pedant/Tailor

It's easy to cast Nicholas as a romantic lead; a point he proved valiantly as Valentine in HID's Two Gentlemen of Verona. In this show, however, Nick has the opportunity to show off another shade of his talent by playing two somewhat silly character roles. Be sure to watch carefully during the show. With his ninja-like acting skills, he may be sitting right next to you.

Dave Stishan - Lucentio

Lucentio, in our production at least, isn't exactly the brightest bulb on the holiday shrub. How does Dave pull off the dumbfounded looks and long lapses in understanding needed for such a role? With a little thing called "acting." He may be build like Adonis' younger brother, but you'll be amazed at how light he appears on his feet and in his mind.

Luke Wise - Tranio

As one of Shakespeare's more intelligent servingmen, Tranio is greatly served by this "Wise" actor. From what we've seen so far, Luke is wise-cracking, wise-beyond-his-years, and likewise a looker. And we're almost positive he's never heard any of those jokes before.

Now, seriously, how can you deny those faces anything? And if somehow you can, check out our promotional video featuring some furry friends of ours and try to say no to them.

We literally could not survive as a company without your support. Thank you for everything you've done and will continue to do, whether that's donating, telling a friend about us, or simply Liking us on Facebook. Stay tuned for more updates on our process and we'll see you in December!

Merry HIDmas to all, and to all a good night!
-The HID Crew

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What's In Our Name?

Welcome back, Shakespeare Studs and Studdesses! David Andrew Laws here, Artistic Director and Grilled Cheese Overlord of Hamlet Isn't Dead. Today's topic is one that's very near and dear to my heart, so reserve a seat on The Feelings Train and buckle in! Don't worry; there's room for everyone.

Over the past few months, I've had the following conversation with a startling number of you:

"You: Hi, David!

David: Hi, you!

You: You smell nice.

David: ...okay. That's... Uh, what's up?

You: Just wanted to say congratulations on all the Hamlet Isn't Dead...stuff. But I was curious. Where'd you get the name?

David: ....

You: David?

David: ....

You: David? Why are you trying to crawl under the bar?

David: ....

Bartender: Sir, please stop trying to hide behind my leg. We can all still see you. Don't avoid the question.

David: ...."

Or, you know, some iteration of that conversation. Well, wonder no more! Today we dive into the etymology of what's in our name. (See what I did there?)

Hamlet Isn't Dead is an organization formed of many special components. Some of them are you. Some of them are us. We are a company founded on equal parts curiosity, passion, and petty, childlike jealousy.
Let's rap, kids.

This was the closest thing I could find to me straddling a chair in front of some underprivileged youths.

Our story begins with me in a relationship. Yes, I know, hard to suspend so much disbelief at once, but I have faith in you. For the purposes of our story, let's call her Bitch Kitty. Not that she was a bitch! Just that I've always wanted to use that as a pet name for someone. She wouldn't let me, obviously. No one has. I'm begining to think no one ever will....

Let's call her Susan!

Anyway, Susan and I were both actors and, as such, there was an inherent level of underlying competition. It was all very healthy and loving (except maybe the screaming), but there was definitely always a fierce desire other. I realized that sentence as I was typing it, sorry.

Well, one day, Susan informed me that an ex- of hers was moving to town with plans to start a theatre group, and that she intended to join him in this creative endeavor. I, being the rational and articulate adult I am, responded with, "Oh yeah?? Well...fine! I'll start my own theatre company! And it'll be WAY better than his! We'll have acrobats!" Ah, ever the epitome of composure.

Now, I don't want you to think our little ensemble was constructed on a house of spite. I had dreams of starting my own company long before I met Susan. (I did, I swear! Ask anybody!) It was only through this event that I realized what a realistic goal it had become. I'm still getting used to this whole "being an adult" thing (Who isn't, amirite?), but this was something I knew I could make happen.
The first step now (then) was deciding on a name.

Presenting! From the annals of time (hee hee, annals),
Rejected Ideas for a Theatre Company Name:

-The Free Sample Players

-Happy Moose Home Productions

-Why Not Theatre?

-Why Theatre?

-Insert Wit Here

-Portmanteau Pieces

-Out of Ideas Inc.

Yeah, seriously those were the runners-up to Hamlet Isn't Dead! Lucky thing too, huh? Most of those sound like terrible high school band names.

I believe this one was called 'Blackmail for Later'. Actually, that was supposed to be a joke, but that's a really good band name. Write that down.

As I paced the apartment, I was listening to a bit of music, to help charge the ol'...thinking...tool. Brain! And this song came on.

For those of you who can't open this, or when I inevitably can't figure out how to actually post the link, this is Elvis Isn't Dead by Scouting for Girls. And you should really give it a listen or seventeen.

It's a very seemingly-straightforward song. The themes are a break-up and 1950's rock legend Elvis Presley. Like ya do. One of the lyrics that summarizes the piece quite nicely is the repeated line "Elvis isnt dead, and you're coming back to me." Aw, that's sweet.

But wait, The Feelings Train is about to leave the station, and I'm the conductor about to punch your Heart Ticket. (Wait, then who's driving?)

Because, but, Elvis is dead. That's not true, what you said before, hopeful singer, about Elvis not being dead. I'm beginning to think anything you say after that might also not be true. *gasp!*
You mean...she's not coming back...?

...this is the most upbeat sad song since Baa Baa Black Sheep. (No wool for you!!)

Anyway, I love that song; it hits me very deeply, and I suppose that's why it fixed itself onto the name-searching-for part of my brain. "Wouldn't it be neat if we took that idea and put a Shakespearean character in there? Caeser Isn't Dead? No. Romeo Isn't Dead? Too vowely. Hamlet Isn't Dead? Yes! Yes, by Susan, I think that's it!" And thus I was fated to write these three words on the cover of every notebook I owned for the next few months, like the adolescent schoolgirl I really am.

Seriously. That's it. That's the depth of the creative process it took to come up with your favorite theatre moniker to date. But the story doesn't end there! No, no, no, if we just came up with cool-sounding things and left it at that, we'd have attended the Univeristy of Oklahoma. (Cause then I could run around going Oh, You! all the time. Get it?)

Here comes the serious part. I'm not even gonna make any fart jokes. Or similes. ...but quickly, one last silly picture, then it gets serious.

I'll understand if you need a minute to shift gears.


It would be difficult to argue that any play demonstrates Shkaespeare's genius as well as Hamlet. It is a haunting story filled with characters we love, hate, obsess over, and argue about; it contains some of the most beautiful language ever set down in print. Familial love, romance, sexual longing, friendship--all of these things exist within these five acts. Hamlet the character may be dead, but the play itself is very much alive. 

But some people don't seem to believe that. There are those, both artists and not, who think of Shakespeare as a dead language. As something that belongs to the past, something archaic. A relic which, at best, belongs in a museum or, at worst, a dumpster. That these stories need to be "fixed" or "updated" in order to have any relevance within our lives. And I'm here to say that this is simply not true.

I've never been a fan of people labeling themselves as Shakespearean actors, or saying that they can't "do Shakespeare" because they don't "get it". Forgo his words for a moment and just look at the story. The motivation for nearly every character in Hamlet is love. And that is something we can all understand. Sure, maybe we've never known the passion that would drive us to suicide if unrequited. I'm pretty sure most of us will never have to kill or be killed in order to avenge our fathers. But we do love. It is the force that brings us together, nourishes us, and keeps stories like this alive. It's what keeps us alive.

The motivation for nearly everything we do in life is love. We search for it. We require it. Whether it is love of self or love of another, we could not continue to exist. There would be no point, without it. We wake up in the morning and go through our day doing whatever is necessary to be able to continue to live so that we may one day know a greater love, or strengthen the love we already have, and we go to bed and night and dream about love.

And I'm not just talking about romantic love, but all kinds of love. Love for your children, a love of nature; any passion you have, any drive, any desire, I'd call that love. Some people think the word is overused; I think it's under-appreciated. Love is a force which completes us. And I've met enough people to know that a person is made up of a whole lot of pieces that require a whole lot of glue to stay stuck together.

Shakespeare's not hard. Or it's the hardest thing in the world, I don't know. The same goes for love. It's as easy as breathing, but just as often chokes us up. And I firmly believe that they are both some of the most natural things in the world. It's why Shakespeare wrote on a heartbeat. It's why his works have been translated into over 80 languages. It's why we, Hamlet Isn't Dead, named ourselves after one of his greatest accomplishments. In the hopes that one day, if even for a moment, that all of us will know love as great as the love he wrote of with such amazing skill.

-David Andrew Laws

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Future...AND BEYOND!!!

Alright, confession time. I am terrible at blogging. In my personal life, I've started maybe six blogs, most of which I claimed would become daily occurrences. None of them have been. They ranged in topics from basic journaling to a collection of sonnets I've written to a synopsis on a series of films banned in the U.K. for being too vulgar (The Video Nasties. You should actually probably go check that one out)

But something I don't think any of us realized before we dove in is...starting a theatre company is a full-time job. You think it's gonna be simpler cause it's the theatre, and the theatre's all cupcakes and candy condoms, but it's not! It's paperwork and filing and e-mails and...really adult stuff. And not the fun kind of adult stuff, like porn. It requires a lot of time and money and open, honest communication. 
If anyone out there is thinking about starting one...just...don't. Join us instead. Or someone else. Seriously. Sanguine Theatre Company. The Dark Lady Players. Anyone. It's just.... Don't.

That being said, I could not be more ecstatic!! The rewards of such an investment are (though often non-tangible) truly delightful. Two Gents had a phenomenal run, and if you didn't see it, you really missed out. Verbal reviews for the show were a mixed bag of goodies. People praised it as being "as silly as it is serious", which we took as the highest of compliments, as that's pretty much exactly what we were aiming for. 

...sometimes the silly got the better of the serious....

We were even mentioned in The Kenyon Rewiew, which was...beyond thrilling. Check it out!

And, I know, I know, this is you right now:

"But! But! But! I didn't get to see the show! Or I only saw it once! Or I saw it several times, but still I NEED my fix of Hamlet Isn't Dead-y goodness!!" -you

Well, calm it down, Grand Maester Impatientpants! We (Robin, Marrick, and my lovely self) just had our pre-production meeting for our next show last night. For those of you who aren't aware, our next show will, you know what? You should all already know this. It's on the blog, we've been talking about it non-stop. Pop Quiz. Not open notes! Just do your best. And spit out that gum.

The next performance by the Hamlet Isn't Dead Players will be:

A) The Two Gentlemen of Verona
B) The Taming of the Shrew
C) King Edfart the Fourth-Coming
D) All of thee above

The correct answer is...THE TAMING OF THE SHREW! I'm very proud of most of you. The rest of you, see me after class.

Yes, Taming will be a lovely romp, starring yours truly (Me) as Peter Ruccio or something. I haven't read it yet. I skimmed it. Somethin' about...I'm gonna marry a cat...or a shrew...or something. It's obviously one of Shakespeare's lesser-known works. (read: a joke. Taming is one of my absolute favorites. More on that later)

Audition dates have not yet been set in stone, but we'll let you know as soon as we do. If you haven't already, and you'd be interested in auditioning or otherwise working on the project, e-mail us at and we'll make sure you stay fully abreast of all of our doings.

Speaking of doings, be prepared to see more and more of us in the next coming weeks. As of right now, Hamlet Isn't Dead has a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Klout, YouTube, Foursquare, as well as our website, this blog, and the super-secret clubhouse I'm not supposed to blog about.
If you're not following, subscribed to, and re-tooting every single one of these sources, you're sure to miss something somewhere eventually. And, in this day and age, you can't afford to fall behind....

Don't run the risk of being a Thurio.

So, things you can start to look forward to from the good folks at Hamlet Isn't Dead:

- near-daily HIDeos on Vine and/or Istagram Video
- a bi-monthly blog update (here!)
- daily photos on Instagram and Twitter of our most recent show The Two Gentlemen of Verona
- a video thanking our third hundred "Likes" on Facebook (seriously, we're filming it this weekend!)
- more affection and silliness than you could possibly handle

The support and encouragement we have received has been nothing short of heart-warming. We look forward to your comments, questions, suggestions, criticisms, cajoling, flirtations, and plain-old smiles from here on in.

The HID family's growing, and we're glad you're a part of it. Now, go to your room. It's a mess.

With Much Maternity,

-David Andrew Laws
Artistic Director, Hamlet Isn't Dead

Don't forget to follow us all over the place! Seriously! It's easy! The links are all right here for you!





And, as always:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Now Less Dead Than Ever!

Mortal Coil? Never heard of 'im.

We meet again! Virtually anyway. A lot has happened since the last post; where have you been?? We have been busy, busy bees and have lots on which to update you. First and foremost, we are becoming more and more a "real business" every day. In that vein, here is Hamlet Isn't Dead's official mission statement which we're publicly releasing to.... well, this blog, I suppose, and the world for the first time ever!

"Hamlet Isn't Dead is dedicated to the proposition that the works of William Shakespeare have stood the test of time not solely for their technical craftsmanship but also for their emotional universality. We believe that Shakespeare can be appreciated, understood, and enjoyed not only by the intellectual elite, but by everyone, regardless of education, class, or background. Therefore we, Hamlet Isn't Dead, will take a fresh look at the growth and development of William Shakespeare as an author in order to present his texts as  if we, and the audience, are experiencing his words for the first time."

Sexy, right? It took some hammering out, but we're happy with it. It was tempting to use a bit more vernacular and just say:

"Hamlet Isn't Dead thinks Shakespeare is good. Don't try to fix it, dummies."

But that's probably wouldn't reflect well on us in the "professional community". So.


Next things next! Please give a big round of applause that they won't be able to hear but do it anyway to Hamlet Isn't Dead's first ever cast and crew, the players of The Two Gentlemen of Verona!!

Robin Rightmyer - Proteus

You've definitely seen this guy's face before (and if not, you've got some catching up to do). You might think it would be difficult for Robin to switch from Executive Director to Leading Man at the drop of a hat, but that's his secret. "If you ever don't know what to do in a scene, just drop your hat. Right there. Hamlet? Mercutio? Drop it. Don't have a hat? Get a hat. I guarantee results." -Robin (probably)

Nicholas Stauffer - Valentine

Let's make one thing clear about Nicholas Stauffer: It's "Stauffer" like "off", not "Stouffer's" like the pizza. As in, "stop" calling me "Stouffer", it's "Stauffer" or I'll "stomp" on your head  . I give him extra shit because he constantly reminds me that I look like Theon Greyjoy from Game of Thrones. be fair, I do a bit. Jerk.

Olivia Luna - Julia

We asked Olivia at her audition if she had a third monologue to show us. She said that she did and would perform Rosalind from As You Like It. She clarified that this was Rosalind "a.k.a. Lil Ro". The next two minutes consisted of Robin giggling like a pre-pubescent girl, Marrick weeing himself, and David's eyebrows leaping off of his face in amazement. Take a note, people.

Sarah Vogt - Silvia

What can be said about Sarah Vogt that hasn't been said already? Probably some things in Swedish; she doesn't seem like she has many Nordic connections. But we could be wrong. In fact, any Swedish -speaking fans of ours, say something about Sarah in the comments section. That'll just make everyone's day.

Aaron Lynn - Speed/Panthino

Aaron wins the award for "Longest Distance Traveled to Make It to Rehearsal". Since we're rehearsing in East Harlem and he lives in Brooklyn, Aaron must brave two subway transfers, eight uphill climbs, three flights of stairs, eighteen stray bullets, four fruitcart dodges, and one very friendly homeless man who refers to Aaron as "Your Highness, King of the Stars". And that's just to make it to Manhattan! The things we do for art....

Travis Klemm - Lance/Thurio/Eglamour

Travis Klemm, believe it or not, is actually playing 76 roles in this upcoming performance of Two Gents. We only listed the first three for convenience sake. Over the course of the evening, Travis will be portraying knights, strippers, astronauts, evil scientists, and dozens more! See if you can spot them all.

Emily C. A. Snyder - Lucetta/Host

Emily C.A. Snyder is just...too kind. Which is great for her roles as the loving and supportive Lucetta/Host! But in real life it makes us all look bad. And she's so excited to be working on this show. Jeez, between her politeness and her enthusiasm, she's gonna put us out of a job.

Brian Morabito - Antonio/Duke

You know how when you go to Sea World, they have a splash zone? Well, we have something similar in this show, but it's called the Brian Zone. Be warned, if you sit in the first three rows, you may end up with Brian in your lap. Heck, you may end up with Brian in your lap if you sit in the back three rows. Take that as you will.

David Andrew Laws - Director
What's next for David? Well, after this show he hopes to expand his directing career into the film world. Upcoming projects include Timon and Pumbaa of Athens, Not Much Ado About Anything At All, and The Neverending Story XVI.

Liz Colwell - Stage Manager

Liz Colwell hasn't even had time to send me a picture. That's not her fault though; we literally brought her onto the project last night. Time is money though, and we have too little of either, so I just picked a photo off of Facebook and hoped she wouldn't get mad. If she doesn't approve...we may be looking for a stage manager again soon. (We kid, Liz, and we owe you many, many thanks already)


We also have loads of people we have to thank at this point (aside from the Facebook Likes Series, of which it's almost time for a third!!). So we want to give a quick shoutout to

-Anna Fearheily, Allison Stock, and Emily Jackson for joining us in the audition room!
-Allison Stock and Emily Lambert for their artistic involvement!
-The makers of Beer for getting David through rehearsals
-And really all of you for your continued love and support.

We're almost a week into rehearsal now and things are going swimmingly. The blog will be updated on a much more regular basis to bring you insights and intrigue on our process. For now let's just say it's a sexy old play with a sexy young cast.

...guys. Try not to look too excited.
I swear, no one's here against their will.

But seriously, we're having a lot of fun and we're in the space this weekend, so that'll be a blast. Keep up with us, everybody; we're makin' moves!

Don't forget to Like us on Facebook:
Follow us on Twitter:
And make sure we're the last thing you think about before you go to bed.

Love and Profesionalism,
-David Laws
Artistic Director, HID

P.S. Here are some more snapshots of our read-through and first few rehearsals. More high quality imaging coming soon, courtesy of Allison Stock.

You can't tell from this photo, but we are reading a comedy.

This is actually a scene from the fan-fiction in which Proteus falls in love with Juliet.

And remember...Aaron's always watching....

Sunday, June 16, 2013

New News and Thank Yous!

If you're looking for a video full of dozens of names, you've come to the right place! First names, last names, middle names, nicknames, hilariously mispronounced names: we've got 'em all!

You've probably all seen this by now, as it's been posted on various other social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MonkeyChan). I'm just not very good at keeping up with a consistent blog. It feels like it needs a lot more effort than the quick quips and glib glips we post other places. Once we get into the rehearsal process (which is Soooooo soon!), I'm sure I'll have more concrete things to post about. Right now though, between walking dogs by day, performing in a musical at night, pouring over scripts, e-mails, tweets, eating, taking care of my albino hamster Lillith, I hardly have to energy to cry myself to sleep at night!
I know, I know, you all think of me as a vessel of never-ending mirth and rainbow energy.

Which, to be fair, I usually am.

As for recently, I've just picked up the Two Gents script again after a few weeks of letting it rest, and it's entirely reinvigorated me. I'm not sure why I'm just now realizing this, but...Two Gents is quite the comedy. No, but seriously, it's very funny. Which means I'm going to have to adjust my directing style a bit (and cut down on the amount of blood I'd proposed). No, but seriously, it's very raunchy; there are scenes between Speed and Lance that are basically 95% weiner jokes. And don't think I'm going to gloss over any of them! Not. One.

Anyway, keeping this brief for now, but I will be back soon. Mostly this is a housekeeping post. If you haven't done the following, please do:

Like us on Facebook:
Follow us on Twitter:
Send us your headshot/resume:
Drop in and visit for tea: 620 L- [waitaminute! I'm not giving you weirdos my address!]

We have a big meeting with the kind folks at Culturefix on Tuesday, which will give us a wonderful chance to soak in the space and make some big design choices. Also! In addition to seeking actors, we are still on the lookout for a stage manager. If you are one, or know one, please send him/her our way. We are very kind, professional, and often bake in our spare time.

If you've done all the above things, don't be shy! Leave us a comment here to let us know who our truest friends are! And remember: There's no I in Team. But there is one in William Shakespeare. Two, in fact. But not in Shakespeare. Just in William.

All the best,
David Andrew Laws (Justin William)
Artistic Director, HID

Monday, May 27, 2013

It Beats Buskin'!

Money! ('Tis a Gas)

Well, well, well...we meet again. I know, I know. I was supposed to post a video. Friday morning. I just...I haven't yet. But soon, and trust me, it's a comin'. And it's chock full of that hilarious HID-style comedy you've grown so swiftly to love and require to live.

Speaking of obscure musicals from 1963!! Presenting:

That's right! It's may not be Shakespeare, but it's the next-next-next-next-next best thing. And it stars Hamlet Isn't Dead co-founders David Andrew Laws and Robin Rightymer! (And if you look closely, that's a picture of Mr. Marrick Smith up there in the logo; we're inseparable!)

Money is a hilarious four-person musical with music by Sam Pottle and book and lyrics by David Axlerod and Tom Whedon. Now, "Whedon?" you might think, "Sounds familiar. Is that a...pokemon or something?"
Nope! That's Joss Whedon's father! That's right! Firefly and Dr. Horrible and The Avengers, that Joss Whedon. His dad. Wrote Money. So you know it's gonna be good. Come see it for the Whedons.

The story goes like this: Harry Clay (Robin Rightmyer) is super-duper-schmooper rich. (It's a technical term). He's never had to work a day in his life, but instead has been searching for the one perfect woman. Luckily for him (and us!) he finds her within the first few lines of the play. She, Cynthia Burgess (Meg Kiley Smith), cannot love Harry in return, as she couldn't stand to be with someone who does nothing all day. The story follows Harry's many attempts to find a job or a purpose or a worthwhile commitment, and failing every step of the way.

Rounding out the cast are Cynthia's goon of a pal Bernie Bartok (Logan Keeler) and the ineffable (that means he can't be effed, right?) Mr. Mann (played by yours truly, David Andrew Laws). Bernie is also in love with Cynthia, but he's such a bumbling, hapless dweeb, who could love someone like that? (God, hopefully someone, or I'm out of luck)

Now, lemme tell you about Mr. Mann, mostly because this is my blog. This is a fantastic role for me, because...okay, so the story's about a guy (Robin/Harry) who falls in love with a girl (Meg/Cynthia), her friend (Logan/Bernie), and then I play...everyone else.
No, but seriously, everyone. Bosses, doctors, cowboys, old ladies. I play as many different characters in this show as Nick Cage doesn't play in all of his movies combined. If you've ever heard me do a silly voice or a goofy walk in real life, it's in this show. And if you don't know me in real'd you find this blog again?

But, yeah, it's a beautiful story in two acts, with lots of singing, dancing, and general floomping about. ...floomping didn't come up with a little red squiggle under it. I should probably Google that before I publish this.
The show runs June 1st-June 16th at The Studio Theatre on Theatre Row. That's right, Theatre Row! A whole row of theatres! Whose mind just got blown??

Another Fun Fact: This is only the second professional production of Money to be performed in New York City since its 1963 debut. Seriously, it's been a total hassle to put up, because when we called Samuel French to try to get the scripts, they were like " that a thing? Lemme check. Frank! Frank, yeah! Do Money a thing?" and it just went downhill from there.

But we're really proud to be putting it up and we really hope you'll come and see it. To let us know (it just fills us with the utmost glee) you can join the Facebook event here:
It's not at all necessary, but it helps us with a sort of headcount and, y'know, like I said, utmost glee.

Also, while you're there, you can Like the Hamlet Isn't Dead Facebook page here:
I mean, I'm sure you've already Liked it. Anyone who's anyone and doesn't hate our guts Likes us on Facebook.

All of this too wordy for you? Fine, follow us on Twitter instead!
It's a hoot. Bird puns.

And for those of you patient enough to scroll all the way down here and put up with our antics, here's le deal.
Tickets for Money are usually $25. If you feel like paying full-price for whatever reason, don't let us stop you. You can buy those and read someone else's synopsis of the play here:

Orrrrrr...since we're such good friends (You're coming to my birthday party, right?) you can get tickets for only $10 by going to and using the code TRstudent. Just cause we love ya.

So we hope to see you all there. Stop by and say hi to us afterwards, maybe we can go out for a drink, catch up, fall in love, get married, have babies.... I'm getting ahead of myself again. Just come see the show and we'll take it from there, huh?

Also, as just a final shameless plug, if you haven't signed up to audition for HID's production of Two Gentlemen of Verona, send us an e-mail at It's not too late, but spots are filling up fast. You can find more information about the break-downs and the productions on our Facebook page or at You can also get to this blog from the website so...that's some kinda weird inception-y stuff.

Is that enough information for now? Have I thrown enough links in your face? I hope so. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go put my computer back in a full nelson to make it edit this video properly. ...or maybe that's my problem. Either way.

Come see it for the Whedons!!!

Love, Hugs, and Marshmallow Fluff,
David Andrew Laws
Artistic Director, HID

P.S. Oh, and if anyone knows Joss Whedon, first be our best friend, and then invite him. I'm the most serious I've ever been about anything in my life. Come see it for the Whedons.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

O, for a Muse of Fire....

Good Morrow, Gentle (We Hope) Travelers!

          Hamlet Isn't Dead is alive and well! And already we're receiving tremendous response from the public (i.e.e.g.lmnop. YOU!). In this segment, we're going to tackle the sensitive subject of (Spoiler Alert) Shakespeare!

Now, many people have already contacted us to inform us that our chronology is "wrong". Everyone has been very gracious in doing so, probably because we've already acknowledged that this is most likely the case. I'm sure it's wrong, almost certain, in fact. But so, in all likelihood, is yours. Not yours, but "theirs". Anyone's. Whatever.
What it boils down to is that no one can say with absolute certainty when Shakespeare started or finished each of his plays. Except maybe his girlfriend. She might have known.

The chronology we've constructed merely serves as a linear pathway for us here at HID. It's an approximation, if you will, that we believe fully explores Shakespeare's growth as a writer. Now, that's not to say that we think Two Gents is the worst and Two Noble Kinsmen is the best (we're definitely not saying that!). But we are interested in observing any patterns, slumps, peaks, valleys or otherwise that might have occurred over the course of his life and works. We're also not doing some of his plays that are considered apocryphal or with more speculation surrounding their authorship, such as Edward III or Sir Thomas Moooooore. Call us traditionalists, purists, or buttheads, we're gonna stick to the list we've made.

So, right, you guys are thinking 'Okay, you all are cute and funny and obviously the talent-love-child of Laurence Olivier and Meryl Streep, we get that. But what do actually you know about Shakespeare himself?' <--- (That's you. That's what you sound like)

Well...what do we know? When you first posed this question, I thought the best thing to do would be to compile a list of everything I personally know about Shakespeare right off the top of my head. The list was...not impressive.

  • William Shakespeare was (theoretically) born on April 23rd, 1564 and died (theoretically) on April 23rd, 1616. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England.
  • His father, John Shakespeare, was a glove maker, and his mother, Mary Arden, was a Roman Catholic.
  • Over the course of his life, he wrote (approximately) 38 plays, some poems, and 154 sonnets.
  • He married Anne Hathaway (not the Catwoman one) who was 11 years older than he. They had...threeeee children? Susannah, Hamnet aaaaaand...shoot...I wanna say. Keith? Two of those were twins. One of them died during Shakespeare's lifetime. Hamnet, right? Right.
  • In his will, (no pun intended) Shakespeare left Anne his second best bed, which may or may not have been a snub. Supposedly the best bed was often reserved for company.
  • He traveled to London and took up writing, directing, and acting with the King's Men at the Globe Theatre.
  • He totally rocked that golden earring.
So, not bad, right? Maybe a B-? Considering most of my knowledge comes from having watched The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged!) approximately 2,700 times in my childhood. You'll notice there are lots of parenthetical modifiers. That's because a lot of information has been lost, misrepresented, destroyed, etc. since the 16th century. So much of what Shakespeare was "really like" is entirely supposition. Except for Shakespeare in Love, where Tom Stoppard actually used a time machine to go back and film the whole thing.
Either way, let's clear up a few of my blunders. Isn't learning together fun???

  • There is a lot of speculation on the date of Shakespeare's birth that have to do with his baptism date and St. George's Day, etc. Maybe believe he was not born on the 23rd but, in conjunction with a mistake made by an 18th-century scholar, the cyclical nature of his birth and death dates being the same is very appealing to the theatrical crowd.
  • Anne Hathaway was actually 26 when he was 18, so I exaggerated the age gap a bit. And their children were Susannah, the first, and Hamnet and Judith! who were twins. Hamnet died at the age of 11 in 1596. (Oh, you just know we're going to return to that point in this project)
  • The King's Men, when Shakespeare first joined them, were still known as The Lord Chamberlain's Men. He first traveled to London in about 1582 and (theoretically, I say!) retired from theatre in about 1613.
I'm sure none of this is new to any of you (Or maybe it is! Go, me!), but it's important. It's a foundation, the support beams of the very complex and supposition-filled biography we're about to tackle. These are the bare bones, but in the following weeks, months, and years, we will flesh out this knowledge until our own brains are full to bursting.
Perhaps it is the mystery itself of Shakespeare that keeps him such a fascinating topic within our minds and hearts. I know many of my personal mentors could (and may have....) write a book with everything they know about Shakespeare by heart; I come by my passion very honestly.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm sure my inox has filled up again already with corrections, additions, suggestions and the like (How is that possible? I haven't even posted this yet!). My response is always "Please! Keep them coming!" We love to learn and how better to do so than to be proven wrong? gentle. It is hearts we're dealing in here.

The next post will focus on what influences might have affected Shakespeare in the writing of his earliest plays, including contemporaries, the adaptation necessary to living in London, and much much more! Until next time, try to pick up that Riverside without giggling with this in your head!

It's not a bad look for me. I call him Shakesfear.

Don't forget to sign up for an audition slot for our production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona by e-mailing us at Auditions are June 29th and 30th and (proverbial cat's out of the literal bag) it will be a paid gig. Tell your friends.

Stay Shaken,
-David Andrew Laws
Artistic Director, HID

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Bit with a Dog

Welcome, Hamlet Isn't Dead-Ites!

David Andrew Laws here, co-founder, artistic director, and director of education of Hamlet Isn't Dead. If you've come this far, you either took the red pill, both pills at once, or have no idea at all what I'm referencing. In which case, go down to the Bloxbooster and rent you a copy of The Matrix. Immediately.
Also rent Pretty in Pink. I know exactly what you're thinking, but it's just a brilliant film. When Ducky's dancin' around that record shop, it's just...oh!

Either way, you've decided to see how far the Shakespeare hole goeth. And here you are.

As you very well know then, we're about to venture on a journey through time and space, through the psyche of Mr. William Shakespeare and his brilliant works. Our attempt will be to tackle the shows one by one in the order it is most likely that they were written. The chronology we have chosen to utilize looks a little something like this:

Play                                                     Year(s) Theorized
The Two Gentlemen of Verona               ~1589
The Taming of the Shrew                        ~1590
Henry VI part II                                     ~1591
Henry VI part III                                    ~1591
Henry VI part I                                       ~1591-92
Titus Andronicus                                     ~1592
Richard III                                              ~1592-93
Comedy of Errors                                   ~1594
Love's Labour's Lost                               ~1594-95
Richard II                                                ~1595
Romeo & Juliet                                        ~1595
A Midsummer Night's Dream                   ~1595
King John                                                ~1596
The Merchant of Venice                          ~1596
Henry IV part I                                       ~1596-97
Henry IV part II                                      ~1596-97
The Merry Wives of Windsor                  ~1597-98
Much Ado About Nothing                       ~1598-99
Henry V                                                  ~1599
Julius Caeser                                           ~1599
As You Like It                                        ~1599-1600
Hamlet                                                    ~1600-1601
Twelfth Night                                          ~1601
Troilus and Cressida                                ~1602
Measure for Measure                              ~1603-04
Othello                                                    ~1603-04
King Lear                                                ~1604-05
Timon of Athens                                      ~1605-06
Macbeth                                                 ~1606
Antony and Cleopatra                             ~1606
All's Well That End's Well                       ~1607
Pericles                                                   ~1607
Coriolanus                                              ~1608
The Winter's Tale                                   ~1609-10
Cymbeline                                              ~1610-11
The Tempest                                          ~1610-11
Henry VIII                                             ~1613
The Two Noble Kinsmen                       ~1613

Now I'm certain that most of these are wrong. In fact, I'd bet diamonds to didgeridoos that more than half of them are incorrect, but it doesn't matter. What matters about Shakespeare has never been his accuracy. In foreign languages, geography, countless subjects, Shakespeare writes and is wrong. The most current example in my mind (as we're about to undertake The Two Gentlemen of Verona) is that the characters theoretically travel from Verona to Milan by boat. Neither of these cities, however, are port cities; each is land-locked. Some scholars argue that there could have been waterways from the two towns during the time, but then they make scrunchy faces and concede that Shakespeare would have had virtually no way of knowing that.

Regardless, this is the order in which we will be presenting the works of Shakespeare. We love Shakespeare. You should. If you don' know what, if you don't, go return that copy of The Matrix, rent Franco Zeffirelli's version of Romeo and Juliet instead. That sh*t is tight. That shot. Is what I meant. Of Romeo's butt. No, wait!

I do hope you'll continue to check back on this blog as we work diligently to unearth more and more of Shakespeare every day. I definitely cannot guarantee that I'll post daily, but I'll try to do so at least weekly. And, yes, I realize a lot of this is information you could just look up on the Wikipedia, or already know in your big, dumb, smart-ol' head. But I like to think that I present it in a suitably light fashion that maybe...maybe just brings a smile to your face....

"Like dis!"

Next post, we'll brush up on a bit of the early part of Shakespeare's biography. Don't study or you'll already know it all and I'll be pointless. See you all soon!

Ever Your Faithful Servant,
-David Andrew Laws