Lee Street theatre brings ‘spirited’ comedy to life in Paul Rudnick’s “I Hate Hamlet!”

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 9, 2024

By Mike Cline

For the Salisbury Post

“I Hate Hamlet” — Don’t let the title mislead you.

Lee Street theatre’s current offering, Paul Rudnick’s “I Hate Hamlet,” is not a production of the Bard, William Shakespeare’s (Bill to his friends) Prince of Denmark story.
Rather it’s centered around television star Andrew Rally, who is about to start rehearsals to play Hamlet — and he is terrified. In the midst of Rally’s confusion, he is visited by the ghost of legendary stage and screen actor John Barrymore, who explains that all actors who take on the role are visited and mentored by their predecessors, and that he cannot leave until Rally takes the stage as the Prince.
Rally is also dealing with a girlfriend who is keeping a firm grip on her chastity. She wants him to be a romantic hero of the stage. His friend wants him to accept a lucrative TV gig, and Barrymore’s ghost wants him to accept his own great theatre mantle.
Soon Andrew is forced to confront the ultimate question: who he wants to be, or not to be.
The cast has been working overtime to make your sides split with laughter. You will love the hilarious talents of Timothy Hager, Amy Hope, Lindsey Litka-Montes, Mary Ann McCubbin, Andrew Williams, Aaron Paul Zimmerman and Rod Oden.
The production crew includes direction by Robert Sharkey, stage management by Mackenzie Cloninger, technical direction by Kelly Sandoval, production design by Rod Oden, costume design by Jacquelyn KL, and crew members Peter Bentley and Tristan Saunders.

“Paul Rudnick’s “I Hate Hamlet” is such a gem, ” said production director Robert Sharkey. “Although it’s over 30 years of age, it still taps into the insecurities and anxiety of deciding “what’s next?” The larger than life characters make this show unlike any other ghost story, and this cast has brought it to life. Directing these talented actors has been such a joy and watching them create both beautifully endearing and hysterical moments have made me so proud.”

Performances of Lee Street Theatre’s production of “I Hate Hamlet” are Fridays and Saturdays, May 10 – 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Not a night owl? Attend the 2:30 p.m. matinee May 19. Tickets can be obtained at leestreet.org.