“I Hate Hamlet”: Laugh-packed ghost story

Lots to love in Whitefish Theatre Company’s “fast-mouthed and funny” season finale

On Stage

Whitefish Theatre Co. presents its final cabaret show of the 2018-2019 theatre season with a hilarious production of “I Hate Hamlet” at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish. Called “fast-mouthed and funny,” this entertaining show opens with a sneak preview night on May 30 at 7:30 p.m., and continues at 7:30 p.m. May 31, June 1-2 and 7-9.

“I Hate Hamlet” follows Andrew Rally, an aspiring actor who has just relocated to New York and landed the role of a lifetime playing Hamlet onstage. There is just one problem: He hates Hamlet.

As fate would have it, Andrew’s new Manhattan residence is the former apartment of the brilliant actor John Barrymore, whose portrayal of Hamlet was legendary. When Barrymore’s ghost appears to Andrew – intoxicated and in full Shakespearean garb –so begins a wildly funny duel between the two actors over women, art, success, duty, television and, yes, even the apartment.

Will Andrew’s debut be a triumph or a tragedy? Find out in this “witty, hilarious”, fencing-packed comedy with a Shakespearean twist.

“When people ask me about this play, I always tell them if you like Shakespeare, you will love this show and if you hate Shakespeare, you’ll really love this show!” says Director Kim Krueger. “I personally find the real-life John Barrymore, with all his talent, glorious escapades, and downfalls, fascinating – and actor Alfred Coggins really nails him in this show.”

She also notes that the playwright, Paul Rudnick, lived in John Barrymore’s actual apartment while writing “I Hate Hamlet.” “The play is full of wonderful personalities, great one-liners, and in the end, it’s a great ghost story.”

“I Hate Hamlet” opened on Broadway in 1991 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Drama abounded in its initial run when Nicol Williamson, playing the ghost of John Barrymore, channeled the famous rogue with such fury that he injured another actor during an onstage duel, causing an understudy to step in for Act 2. The play continues to be performed across the nation, and is still enjoyed for its wit and its reflection on the relevancy of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in modern times, as well as the actor’s art in the today’s commercialized world.

“I also think what makes this comedy especially lovely is that it’s rooted in some serious, heartfelt truths that apply to not just actors, but to everyone,” says Krueger. “Truths about accepting challenges, about facing your fears, and about looking inside yourself to determine what would satisfy your own destiny.”

This production features Matt Stroop as Andrew Rally, Alfred Coggins as John Barrymore, Becky Rygg Mead as Dierdre McDavey, Katie Nixon as Felicia Dantine, Patty Thiel as Lillian Troy, and Mikey Winn as Gary Peter Lefkowitz.

Krueger praises the cast as not only extremely talented but having great comedic chemistry. “Every actor made the characters their own in such creative ways,” she says. “And there was not one night where we all didn’t belly laugh several times.”

Tickets for the sneak preview on May 30 are $12 for adults and $10 for students and are available only at the door with general seating. Tickets for other performances are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $10 for students with reserved table and traditional theatre seating. Food and beverages are available for purchase.

Tickets may be purchased at the Box Office, 1 Central Ave., Whitefish, by calling 406-862-5371 or online at www.whitefishtheatreco.org.