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TSC's Hamlet plays in an elegant Edwardian production
at Memphis' Dixon Gallery and Gardens

Memphis, TN (February 25, 2013) – – Tennessee Shakespeare Company (TSC), the Mid-South's professional classical theatre, presents a special, limited engagement of William Shakespeare's Hamlet inside Dixon Gallery and Garden's Winegardner Auditorium from April 3-14 in Memphis.

Directed by TSC's Founder and Producing Artistic Director, Dan McCleary (The Tempest, Glass Menagerie, Macbeth, Othello, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It), this elegant Edwardian production is generously sponsored by Independent Bank and Ann & Wellford Tabor. The exclusive media sponsor is Commercial Appeal Media.

Hamlet features a professional AEA company of twelve actors and musicians from around the country and Memphis. Widely considered the most important play in western civilization, Hamlet has contributed to how humankind considers ourselves and our place and act in the world.

The Winegardner Auditorium's period appearance will be further enhanced as an Edwardian stage with early 19th century lighting fixtures, theatrical stage, and live music played in an intimate setting for an audience of 150 in stadium seating.

Click for the Hamlet Photo Gallery.

(Please Note: All scheduled school matinees are sold out, and multiple matinees are being added to accommodate as many students as possible. Public performances are also beginning to sell out.)

The Hamlet that audiences are familiar with today likely was first performed in 1601 and very likely with Shakespeare playing the Ghost of Hamlet's father. There is also compelling evidence, together with multiple quarto versions of the script and of the story both extant and not, that Shakespeare was writing his Hamlet over 11-12 years – a period during which he lost both his father and his son.

hamlet-7827The pre-existing story to Shakespeare's is a revenge play centered by a tragic hero, or anti-hero. But just as Shakespeare deepens existing themes and characters' development in all of his plays taken from previous writings, here he dramatically shifts perspective in Hamlet from that of familial revenge demanded from the grave to a philosophical questioning of the meaning of our humanity and authenticity of our nature.

The young Prince Hamlet returns home from college when his father is discovered dead at Elsinore Castle in Denmark. Hamlet's uncle, Claudius, has murdered King Hamlet and immediately married his widow, Queen Gertrude. The Ghost of King Hamlet asks his son to avenge his murder, a visitation which the Prince shares only with his closest friend, Horatio.

Casting off his love Ophelia and feigning public madness, Hamlet nevertheless is action-less regarding his father's demand. In considering his mortality, his father's, and that of his usurping uncle, Hamlet confronts his mother only to mistakenly murder Ophelia's father, Polonius. The King banishes Hamlet to England, with a mortal decree that ensures he will never return, during which time Ophelia goes mad and drowns by her own hand or another's.

Click for the Hamlet Photo Gallery.

In a matter of weeks, Hamlet has escaped and been saved by pirates on the sea. Upon his return, he is a decade older with a changed philosophy secretly watching Ophelia's graveside burial. Laertes, the son of Polonius and the brother of Ophelia, in murderous coordination with the King, challenges Hamlet to a sporting duel which turns into a bath of poison for all but Horatio and Hamlet's Norwegian counterpart, Fortinbras. The young, fatherless Prince ascends the Denmark throne, lamenting the loss of the man who would have been King.

"I do believe William Shakespeare was writing his play over the course of 12 or more years as he emerged as a playwright and became a fatherless son and sonless father," says director, Dan McCleary. "There are two very distinct Hamlets in the play, and I believe they are of two different periods in Shakespeare's life. If this is so, it is genius, of course. It has compelled us for over 410 years to question our humanity, to seek our true nature, and to discover our authentic act in the world. In fact, seeking the latter forged the creation of Tennessee Shakespeare Company six years ago."

hamlet-DSCN7793The cast introduces New York's Brian Sheppard as Hamlet, Brooklyn's Piper Goodeve in the traditionally male role of Horatio, Massachusetts' Bob Lohbauer at Polonius, New York's Eva Balistrieri as Ophelia and Steven Patterson as Claudius, and TSC's Stephanie Shine as Gertrude.

Returning to TSC are Memphis' Phil Darius Wallace (The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It) as the Ghost, Player King, and Gravedigger; Brooklyn's Gabriel Vaughan (The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It) as Laertes; Washington, DC's Amelia Hammond (It's a Wonderful Life, Complete Works, The Tempest) as Rosencrantz and Osric; and New York's Trevor Pittinger (It's a Wonderful Life) as Guildenstern and Fortinbras.

Playing live on stage during the production on cello is Iren Zombor (Julius Caesar) and local pianist Steven DiBlasi. Compositions will include those by Schubert, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, and Fauré.

The returning design and consultancy team includes Memphians Bruce Bui (costumes), Matthew Strampe (scenic and lighting), and Kristen Greene (properties), as well as Virginia's Cara Rawlings (fight choreography) and Vancouver's Neil Freeman (First Folio). Ms. Zombor is the show's Music Arranger.

General Admission tickets are on sale now, Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at TSC's office located at 2260 West Street in Germantown or by calling 901-759-0604, or by going on-line to www.tnshakespeare.org.

Tickets for all performances are $25 in advance and $30 day-of-show. Tickets for the Wednesday, April 3 and Thursday, April 4 Preview performances are only $15, regardless of when purchased. Thursday, April 4 and Thursday, April 11 are Free Will Kids' Nights: Children 17 years and younger are admitted FREE when accompanied by a paying/attending guardian.


Public Performance Schedule at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens

Wednesday, April 3 at 7:00 pm Preview
Thursday, April 4 at 7:00 pm Preview and Free Will Kids' Night
Friday, April 5 at 7:30 pm Opening Performance and Pre-Show Revels Party
Saturday, April 6 at 7:30 pm Performance
Sunday, April 7 at 3:00 pm Performance
Thursday, April 11 at 7:00 pm Free Will Kids' Night
Friday, April 12 at 7:30 pm Performance
Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 pm Performance
Sunday, April 14 at 3:00 pm Closing Performance

Ticket Information

Tickets on sale now. All performances are $25 in advance and $30 day-of-show. All preview performances are $15 regardless of when purchased. Free Will Kids' Nights: Children 17 years and younger admitted FREE when accompanied by a paying/attending guardian every Thursday. All Dixon members receive 20% off their tickets.

Box Office/Administrative Office

Located in the historic train depot at 2260 West Street, Germantown, TN. Monday - Friday, 9am – 5pm.
Twitter: @tnshakespeare
All performances are general admission; first come/first seated. Chairs are provided for all productions. Free parking. No refunds. Cast and schedule are subject to change.


Artist Bios

Eva Balistrieri (Ophelia) is honored to be making her Tennessee Shakespeare Company debut. A Wisconsin native, she grew up working at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and was a member of their 2011/2012 acting intern ensemble. She spent last summer with Riverside Theater's Shakespeare in the Park, and prior to that she was with Great River Shakespeare Festival for two seasons. Favorite professional credits include Mayella Ewell (To Kill a Mockingbird), Celia (As You Like It), Kitty Bennet/Georgiana Darcy (Pride and Prejudice), and Iris/Nymph (The Tempest). Eva trained at the Accademia dell-arte in Italy and received her BA in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Bruce Bui (Costume Designer) is very excited to be a part of Tennessee Shakespeare's fifth anniversary season. He designed TSC's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Julius Caesar, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), It's a Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play, Rebel Shakespeare and His Women, and Shakespeare's Greatest Hits. Originally from Southern California, Bruce now lives in Memphis and is going into his eleventh season as the Wardrobe Director and Resident Costume Designer for Ballet Memphis. His works can be seen regularly on the Orpheum stage and numerous other venues around the Mid-South, and have been praised as "dazzling" by Critical Dance Magazine, and a "Master of Chiffon" by The Commercial Appeal. He has also worked with The Western Stage (Always, Patsy Cline), Cabrillo Musical Theatre (Funny Girl), Santa Susanna Repertory Theatre (Shiloh, War of the World), and Kingsmen Shakespeare Company (As You Like It), among others. Some of his specialty garments can be seen on Mrs. Tennessee for Mrs. America 2005, At Home Tennessee Magazine's featured wedding issue 2007, and The Memphis Mystic Krew 2005 court. Bruce also has worked on several commercials in the Mid-South.

Neil Freeman (Text Consultant) is a teacher, director, text coach, and actor. He is the man behind the acclaimed First Folio editions published by Applause and utilized across the globe. Currently Associate Professor Emeritus (of Theatre) at the University of British Columbia in Canada, he is also a Master Teacher with Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, and Text Consultant to several other U.S. and Canadian theatres. His range of teaching, coaching, and directing ranges from the fifteen-year-olds in youth companies to high school teachers, through university level students (undergraduate and graduate in both liberal arts and the top-ranked professional training schools) to professional theatre companies and individual actors.

Kristen Greene (Properties Designer) is excited to be involved in her second season with TSC. Previously, she has worked on The Tempest, The Glass Menagerie, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), and It's a Wonderful Life. Kristen is currently the stage manager and production coordinator for Ballet Memphis. She has a BFA in stage management from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and she also studied at Shakespeare's Globe in London.

Piper Goodeve* (Horatio) is very excited to be making her TSC debut. Off-Broadway: Anne of Green Gables (Anne; Drama League Award nomination for Distinguished Performance). Regional: Syracuse Stage, McCarter Theater Center, Trinity Rep, Merrimack Rep, Hangar Theatre, Weston Playhouse, Battersea Arts Center (London), and Thousand Islands Playhouse (Canada). Favorite roles: Desdemona (Desdemona, A Play About A Handkerchief), Rose (Caroline or Change), Elinor Dashwood (Sense & Sensibility), and Lena (A Mouthful of Birds). Film: Bereft (Jill; Showtime). Training: MFA in Acting, Brown University/Trinity Rep; Shakespeare Performance, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London. Piper also narrates audiobooks for Audible and lives in Brooklyn.

Amelia Hammond (Rosencrantz, Osric, Player Queen; Assistant Director) hails from Washington, DC, but has thoroughly enjoyed being an adopted Memphian during TSC's celebratory fifth season. Audiences have seen her as Mary Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play and as an actor attempting to keep Sam and David in line during The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged). Amelia's first TSC appearance was as Miranda in The Tempest, and her regional credits include: Hamlet, Comedy of Errors, Othello, Taming of the Shrew with Houston Shakespeare Festival; As You Like It with Virginia Shakespeare Festival; Pericles and The Servant of Two Masters with Georgia Shakespeare. Amelia is proud to have received her MFA from the University of Houston PATP, her BA from Coastal Carolina University, and to have trained with the Gainesville Theatre Alliance.

Bob Lohbauer* (Polonius, Priest) resides in western Massachusetts. He has been with Shakespeare & Company in Lenox since 1995, where he has performed in Twelfth Night (Curio/Priest), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Egeus), Romeo and Juliet (Montague), Scapin (Argante), and more. His one-man show Mengelberg and Mahler was nominated for Boston's 2010 IRNE Award for best solo performance in New England. Other regional credits: To Kill a Mockingbird (Judge Taylor/Walter Cunnigham), Equus (Dysart), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Father Donnelly), and Red Noses (LaGrue).

Dan McCleary+ (Director; Founder and Producing Artistic Director) is a native Memphian and a graduate of Germantown High School and its Poplar Pike Playhouse. Dan directed and acted in TSC's inaugural production of As You Like It (Jaques) and The Glass Menagerie; and he directed TSC's Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), The Tempest, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, all-female Julius Caesar, Othello, and Themes from a Midsummer Night. He also has directed critically-acclaimed productions of As You Like It at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, The Servant of Two Masters outdoors in downtown Atlanta and at Seattle Shakespeare Company, and All's Well That Ends Well at Georgia Shakespeare Festival. At the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, he has directed the world premiere of The Stone Face and has played the title roles in Antony and Cleopatra and Richard III, Brutus in Julius Caesar, Porfiry in Crime and Punishment, Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, and Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor. As Associate Artistic Director at Shakespeare & Company in the Berkshires, Dan acted in and directed over 30 productions, appearing as Coriolanus, Macbeth, Herman Melville, Stephano, Don Armado, Hotspur, Master Ford, Bertram, and Antipholus/Dromio of Ephesus. He directed S&Co's first production of The Servant of Two Masters, also his own adaptation of Anaïs Nin's Henry & June, Vita & Virginia, My Own Stranger, and The Fiery Rain. Other Regional/New York theatre: Merrimack Rep, North Shore Music Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, StageWest, Alabama Shakespeare, Arden Theatre, Studio 4-A, and Huntington Theatre. Dan is a published poet and teaches Shakespeare master classes around the country. Memphis Magazine has named him among the "Who's Who in Memphis" each year from 2009-12, and the Germantown Arts Alliance honored him with its 2009 Distinguished Arts and Humanities Medal for Performing Arts. He serves on the City of Germantown's Telecommunications Committee, and holds a B.A. in Advertising and Journalism from Temple University.

Natasha Nelson* (Stage Manager) is thrilled to be joining Tennessee Shakespeare Company for the first time, and working on Hamlet for the fourth time! Most recently, she was in her hometown of Houston, stage managing The Language Archive at Stages Repertory Theatre. Natasha spent a year in Las Vegas working with the talented stage management teams at Cirque du Soleil's "O" and Criss Angel's BeLIEve. As a huge fan of Shakespeare's plays, she has been blessed to have worked at the Shakespeare Festivals in North Carolina, Houston, St. Louis, Walla Walla, WA, and Winona, MN.

Steven Patterson* (Claudius) is thrilled to be making his initial appearance with Tennessee Shakespeare Company. He has performed both regionally and in New York City with theatres such as South Coast Repertory, TheatreWorks, Capital Repertory, Kaliyuga Arts, freeFall Theatre, Lexington Conservatory Theatre, Centenary Stage Company, and the Oregon, Orlando, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festivals. Favorite roles include Lear in King Lear, Jean Genet in Beauty, Austin Wiggin in The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World, David in Poor Super Man, Zach in A Chorus Line, the Creature in Frankenstein, Judi Boswell in How to Pray, and August Howe in The Mound Builders. Steven currently resides in Catskill, NY.

Trevor Pittinger (Guildenstern, Fortinbras) is a New York City-based actor elated to be making his debut season with TSC. Audiences may have seen him in December as George Bailey in TSC's It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Regional credits include: Romeo and Juliet at Greenbrier Valley Theater; Much Ado About Nothing with Palo Duro Shakespeare; two years in HYPE at the Alley Theater; The Dispute with Theatre Collide, and two years in the outdoor drama TEXAS! Film credits include: Child of God (dir. James Franco). Trevor received his MFA in acting from the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance, his BA from Rice University, and trained at the O'Neill National Theater Institute.

Cara Rawlings (Fight Choreographer) is Assistant Professor of Movement and Acting in The Department of Theatre and Cinema at Virginia Tech. She has worked professionally as a teacher, fight director, and dance choreographer in Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville, New York, and in Greece and Austria. Cara is a Certified Stage Combat Instructor with The Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD). She is a member of the Association of Theatre Movement Educators (ATME), and serves on the board of the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC). Cara holds a Master of Fine Arts in Movement Pedagogy and Fight Direction from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Brian Sheppard* (Hamlet) Favorite stage credits include Jason in Rabbithole (NIU), Cain in Bable (European Live Arts Network), and Olivia in Twelfth Night (Plimoth Players). Most recently, Brian has been spotted as Capt. Ben Church in the documentary, So Dreadful a Judgment. He is a founding member of the Plimoth Players, an all-male Shakespeare company in Plymouth, MA. He holds an MFA from Northern Illinois University.

Stephanie Shine* (Gertrude; General Manager and Education Director) TSC directorial work includes It's a Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play, Shakespeare's Greatest Hits, Southern Yuletide, Romeo and Juliet, and The Rebel Shakespeare and His Women. During her 18 years with Seattle Shakespeare Company, 13 as Artistic Director, she directed 17 productions, including The Threepenny Opera, Cyrano de Bergerac, and the lauded all-male Taming of the Shrew. Her other directorial credits include The Taming of the Shrew and The Comedy of Errors for Colorado Shakespeare Festival; I Am of Ireland (which she also conceived and adapted) for Book-It Repertory Theatre; Romeo and Juliet for Seattle University, When the Messenger is Hot for Theater Schmeater, the international award-winning one-woman Marilyn Monroe Biopic, Marilyn: Forever Blonde and this summer's Romeo and Juliet for Shakespeare Walla Walla's Summer Festival. A well-known actress in the Northwest, Stephanie has performed for Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company, ACT, The Empty Space, Seattle Children's Theatre, Book-It Repertory Theatre, and Tacoma Actors Guild. Regionally, she appeared with the Oregon and New Jersey Shakespeare Festivals, Houston's Alley Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, and NYC's Theatre for a New Audience. Her Shakespeare roles include Juliet, Rosalind, Lady Macbeth, Beatrice, Regan, Feste, Kate, Bianca, Dionyza, The Princess of France, Hero, Perdita, and The Chorus in Henry V.

Matthew Strampe (Scenic/Lighting Designer; Technical Director/Master Electrician) returns to TSC having worked as the Technical Director and Master Electrician on The Tempest and The Glass Menagerie last season and as Scenic and Lighting Designer this year on The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) and It's a Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play. Matt has been working as a professional theatrical designer and technician for the past 14 years. He started his professional career at "The Lost Colony" and since then has worked with many performing arts companies, including Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia, Ballet Memphis, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Arkansas Arts Center, Hendrix College, New Harmony Theatre, Harrell Theatre, Theatre Memphis, and University of Memphis' Opera Department. Matt has been a designer or lead technician for over 100 different productions. He was raised in the great state of South Dakota and educated at The University of South Dakota.

Gabriel Vaughan* (Laertes, Player Lucianus) is a founding member of TSC and is thrilled to be back for Hamlet in this beautiful part of the south. Favorite NYC theatre credits include: Ross, House of Desires, and The Shoemaker's Holiday with The Storm Theatre, King John with Dopplegang Productions, and The Winter's Tale with Theater 1010. Favorite regional credits include: Hamlet (Hamlet) with American Stage Theatre Company; As You Like It, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest with TSC, Romeo and Juliet with Princeton Rep; and King John, A Tanglewood Tale, and Much Ado About Nothing with Shakespeare & Company. Gabriel lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Phil Darius Wallace* (Ghost, Player King, Captain, Gravedigger) is a native of Flint, Michigan, where he started as an actor with the Michigan Shakespeare Festival as Caliban in The Tempest. He as worked locally with Playhouse on the Square, Hatiloo Theater, and is now working with The Orpheum to remount his one-man show on the life of Frederick Douglass, which has toured the U.S. His film credits include Nothing but the Truth, his film 100 Lives, and he also directed Love Choice, a movie dealing with HIV. Audiences may remember Darius from many of Tennessee Shakespeare Company's productions, where he has made his home as a company member.

Iren Zombor (Cellist, Music Arranger) TSC cellist and music arrangement for Julius Caesar. Iren is a native of Miskolc, Hungary. After attending music college in her hometown, she lived in Bratislava, Slovakia, for two years, where she studied with the famous Slovak cellist, Joseph Podhoransky. She received her Masters of Music degree in cello performance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Iren has been a member of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra since the fall of 1996, where she currently holds the Assistant Principal Cello position. She has performed around the world with various orchestras, as far as Eastern and Western Europe and Japan. In addition to her busy performance schedule, her passion has long been private teaching. Iren has taught students of all ages at all levels and has served on the Rhodes College faculty since 2004.

+ Member of The Society of Directors and Choreographers, Inc., an independent national labor union.
* Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Production Sponsors

Independent Bank and Ann & Wellford Tabor

Sustaining Sponsors

ArtsMemphis, The Dunbar Abston Fund for Sustainable Excellence, Barbara B. Apperson and The Barbara Apperson Angel Fund, Thomas Briggs Foundation, Nancy and Dan Copp, First Tennessee Foundation, Mary Lee and Peter Formanek, Hohenberg Foundation, Independent Bank, Jack and Sandra Jones, City of Germantown, Germantown Performing Arts Centre, Milton T. Schaeffer, Dr. and Mrs. Owen B. Tabor and their family, Audrey L. Taylor, Deborah Dunklin Tipton, and Tennessee Shakespeare Company's Board of Directors.

Season Partners

Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Germantown High School, City of Germantown, Poplar Pike Playhouse, Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, St. George's Episcopal Church, WKNO Public Television & Radio