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