Bucks County Playhouse’s “I Hate Hamlet”

Tony Winner Elizabeth Ashley, Tony Nominee Tom Hewitt, Broadway’s Ben Fankhauser, Janine LaManna and more join cast of Bucks County Playhouse’s I Hate Hamlet

 

Tony award-winner, Elizabeth Ashley (“Take Her She’s Mine”) and Tony nominee Tom Hewitt (“The Rocky Horror Show”) will headline a refreshed production of Paul Rudnick’s witty, laugh out loud comedy, “I Hate Hamlet” at Bucks County Playhouse, November 9 – December 1. The play marks Ashley’s return to the Playhouse after co-starring opposite Robert Redford in the pre-Broadway production of Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park.”

Bucks County Playhouse’s Executive Producer Robyn Goodman, Producing Director Alexander Fraser, and Producers Stephen Kocis and Josh Fiedler announced details and casting of the comedy which will be directed by Marc Bruni (“Roman Holiday”, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”).

The cast of “I Hate Hamlet” also stars Broadway favorites Ben Fankhauser (Broadway’s “Newsies”) and Janine LaManna (Broadway’s “Seussical” and “Sweet Charity”). Also featured are Steve Sanpietro and Liz Holtan.

“Paul Rudnick is one of our wittiest and beloved comic writers. We are thrilled that he has allowed the Playhouse and director Marc Bruni, whose production of “Beautiful” continues to thrill Broadway audiences in its third year, take a fresh look at this very funny play,” says Executive Producer Robyn Goodman.

In “I Hate Hamlet,” Andrew Rally, the hot star of a recently cancelled TV series, arrives in New York to play “Hamlet” in Central Park and settles into the fabulously Gothic Greenwich Village apartment once owned by John Barrymore. While Andy loves the city, the theater and stardom … he hates “Hamlet.” He is ready to flee to L.A. when the ghost of Barrymore unexpectedly appears. The laughs are non-stop as Barrymore takes his would-be successor under his wing — tutoring him in Shakespearean acting, life and love.

Ashley, who has been nominated for three Tony Awards, winning once in 1962 for “Take Her, She’s Mine,” last appeared on Broadway in the revival of “You Can’t Take It with You.” She returns to Bucks County Playhouse where she appeared in the world premiere of Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” (then titled “Nobody Loves Me”) in 1963 opposite Robert Redford before transferring to Broadway.  Perhaps best known as one of the definitive interpreters of Tennessee Williams’ work, Ashley has starred in many of his plays, including the 1973 landmark Broadway production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” for which she earned a Tony nomination. Film credits include “The Carpetbaggers”, “Ship of Fools” (Golden Globe nomination), “Rancho Deluxe” (with Jeff Bridges), “Coma” (with Michael Douglas), “Dragnet” with Tom Hanks, “Vampire Kiss” with Nicholas Cage, “Stagecoach” (with Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash). She appeared on three seasons of HBO’s “Treme” and received an Emmy nomination for her role on “Evening Shade” with Burt Reynolds.

Hewitt, who will play John Barrymore, was one of the first actors to appear on the Playhouse stage after its reopening in 2013 in “The World Goes Round.”  On Broadway he appeared as Billy Flynn in “Chicago”, Komarovsky in “Doctor Zhivago”, Pontius Pilot in “Jesus Christ Superstar”, Dracula in “Dracula The Musical”, Frank N. Furter in “The Rocky Horror Show” (for which he received both Tony and Drama Desk nominations), and Scar in “The Lion King.”  Off-Broadway Hewitt appeared in “Heartbreak House”, “Another Medea”, “Treasure Island”, “Beau Jest” and Paul Rudnick’s “Jeffrey.”  National tours include: “Finding Neverland”, “Chicago”, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”, “Urinetown.”  His recent regional appearances include “The Sting” (Papermill Playhouse), “My Paris” and “Travesties” (Long Wharf), “Irma Vep” (BTF), “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” (La Jolla Playhouse).

Paul Rudnick’s plays have been produced on and off Broadway and around the world, and include “I Hate Hamlet”, “Jeffrey”, “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told”, “Valhalla”, “Regrets Only” and “The New Century.” He has won an Obie Award, two Outer Critics Circle Awards and the John Gassner Playwrighting Award. His novels include “Social Disease” and “I’ll Take It,” along with two Young Adult novels, “Gorgeous” and “It’s All Your Fault.” HarperCollins has published Rudnick’s Collected Plays and a group of essays entitled “I Shudder.” Rudnick is rumored to be quite close to Libby Gelman-Waxner, a film critic for both “Premiere” and “Entertainment Weekly,” whose collected columns have been published under the title “If You Ask Me.”  Rudnick’s articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, Vogue and Vanity Fair, and he’s a frequent contributor to The New Yorker. His screenplays include “In&Out,” the screen adaptation of “Jeffrey,” and “Addams Family Values.” He’s currently writing the book for a stage adaptation of “The Devil Wears Prada,” with lyrics by Shaina Taub and music by Elton John.

The creative team for “I Hate Hamlet” includes scenic design by Bucks County Playhouse Artistic Associate Anna Louizos (BCP’s “42nd Street” and currently “School of Rock” on Broadway), costume design by Alejo Vietti (currently “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” on Broadway), lighting design by David Lander (currently “Torch Song” on Broadway) and sound design by Dan Moses Schreier (“The Ice Man Cometh”). Darcy Bert is Props Master and J. Jared Janas (“Sunset Boulevard”) provides the hair and wig design. Casting is by Geoff Josselson, CSA.

The production will play the following schedule: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m., Wednesdays at 2:00 pm, Thursdays at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 2:00 pm. There are no performances on Thanksgiving Day. Additional performances are added Wednesday, November 21 and 28 at 7:30 pm, as well as Friday, November 23 at 2 p.m.  The opening night performance is Saturday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets start at $45. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.

For full details, and to purchase tickets, please visit buckscountyplayhouse.org, call 215-862-2121, or visit the box office at 70 South Main Street, New Hope, PA.

ABOUT BUCKS COUNTY PLAYHOUSE

Bucks County Playhouse is a year-round, nonprofit theatre that has grown to a $6 million producing organization with an annual audience of over 73,000. Founded in 1939 in a converted 1790 gristmill, Bucks County Playhouse quickly became “the most famous summer theatre in America,” featuring a roster of American theatrical royalty including Helen Hayes, George S. Kaufman, Moss Hart, Kitty Carlisle, Angela Lansbury, Alan Alda, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters, and Liza Minnelli and remained in continuous operation until 2010. In 2012, the Playhouse re-opened after a multi-million-dollar restoration thanks to the efforts of the Bridge Street Foundation, the nonprofit family foundation of Kevin and Sherri Daugherty, and Broadway producer Jed Bernstein. This fall, the Playhouse will unveil a 4,000 square foot Delaware-river facing restaurant and bar expansion.

In 2014, Tony Award-winning producers Alexander Fraser and Robyn Goodman took the helm of the Playhouse, and today the Playhouse has reclaimed its reputation of attracting Broadway and Hollywood artists. Its productions of “Company” starring Justin Guarini, and William Finn’s “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” were named by Wall Street Journal to its “Best of Theatre” list for 2015. The 2017 season included four world premieres and audiences grew by over 34%. Box office record has been repeatedly broken by signature productions of “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story,” “Steel Magnolias” directed by Marsha Mason, and “Million Dollar Quartet,” “42nd Street,” and “Guys & Dolls” directed by Hunter Foster. The creative teams who come to create new productions at the Playhouse are among the most talented artists working in the professional theatre today and relish the opportunity to work on the historic stage where Grace Kelly, Robert Redford, and Jessica Walter began their careers.

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