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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: October ::
Re: How about "Hamlet! The Musical"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2109  Saturday, 21 October 2002

[1]     From:   Thomas Larque <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 Oct 2002 19:56:41 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2104 How about "Hamlet! The Musical"?

[2]     From:   D. Bloom <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 Oct 2002 14:16:50 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2104 How about "Hamlet! The Musical"?

[3]     From:   Marko Begovic <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 Oct 2002 20:36:42 -0400
        Subj:   re: How about Hamlet the Musical

[4]     From:   David Kathman <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Oct 2002 00:19:39 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2104 How about "Hamlet! The Musical"?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Larque <
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Date:           Friday, 18 Oct 2002 19:56:41 +0100
Subject: 13.2104 How about "Hamlet! The Musical"?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2104 How about "Hamlet! The Musical"?

>Today's NYTimes has a story about digital technology on Broadway,
>highlighting a flying graveyard in a musical "Dance of the Vampires"
>opening next month.   "The set piece makes its debut during a splashy
>second-act production number called 'Eternity' in which a dozen campy
>vampires suddenly pop out of their coffins and break into song.
>(Hamlet's graveyard it ain't.)"
>http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/17/technology/circuits/17thea1.html?8cir
>
>Alas, poor Yorick was not a musical comedy star we could cast in
>"Hamlet! The Musical."
>
>Al Magary

I went to see a "Hamlet" production in Prague, in the Czech Republic,
while on a holiday there, and it was only after I settled into my seat
that I saw the words "Hamlet daz muzikal" (or something similar - I
don't speak Czech) on the tickets.  To my great amusement "Hamlet!  The
Musical!" was exactly what it was, and a very long running success there
apparently - it has been running at the Divadlo Kalich for well over a
year.  I enjoyed the show so much that I went to see it a second time
and happily purchased the CD afterwards.  Not to all tastes, I'm sure -
especially since the Czech equivalent of "To be or not to be" was saved
as the great finale, sung while Hamlet was dying and presumably didn't
have a great deal of choice.  On both nights the audience applause was
so heavily milked that our arms ached, as the actors went through a huge
routine of bowing over and over again.  Nevertheless I would recommend
it to people who enjoy odd adaptations of Shakespeare, and like to see
something a little bit fresh.  More conservative Shakespeareans,
however, should definitely stay away.

Thomas Larque.
"Shakespeare and His Critics"
http://shakespearean.org.uk

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D. Bloom <
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Date:           Friday, 18 Oct 2002 14:16:50 -0500
Subject: 13.2104 How about "Hamlet! The Musical"?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2104 How about "Hamlet! The Musical"?

Actually, I've just finished a musical version of Hamlet. It's called
*Less than Kind* and will be opening as soon as I get sufficient backing
(contributions welcome). I've had to make a few minor adaptations of
Shakespeare's original text, of course. Hamlet survives the sword fight
and is to marry Ophelia (who didn't die but merely pretended in order to
test the sincerity of Hamlet's love). Claudius is killed by Laertes when
the former, realizing that his plot has failed, attempts to stab Hamlet
in the back. Polonius, who was also only pretending to be dead, will
marry the widowed Queen Mother. I know the purists will condemn these
changes but the requirements of musical theatre in the era of Lloyd
Webber make them necessary.

A number of the songs are, I believe, sure fire hits. "Get Thee to a
Nunnery" is a lilting waltz to which not only Hamlet and Ophelia, but
Claudius and Polonius dance. "Convocation of Worms" has a catchy rock
back-beat. "Rogue and Peasant Slave" is done as rap. Besides Hamlet's
numbers, Ophelia has the lyrical "Noble Mind," Gertrude the haunting
"Dead Men's Finger's," Polonius the sidesplitting "A Foolish Figure,"
and Laertes the serio-comic "Chaste Treasure." Aside from his duet with
the lead on "Convocation," Claudius sings the toe-tapping  "So Much for
Him" and his agonized "My Words Fly Up."

What I'm proudest of, though, are the lavish production numbers: "Murder
Most Foul" with a softshoe duet of Hamlet and Ghost joined by the guards
and Horatio; "Miching Mallecho" with tap, jazz and ballet; and the grand
finale, "Purposes Mistook."

I confidently expect this show to make me a millionaire as soon as I get
it staged.

Cheers,
don

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marko Begovic <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 18 Oct 2002 20:36:42 -0400
Subject:        re: How about Hamlet the Musical

I believe Hamlet the musical was done on an episode of Gilligan's
Island. It was funny, Gilligan as Hamlet singing to be or not to be.

Marko Begovic

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Oct 2002 00:19:39 -0600
Subject: 13.2104 How about "Hamlet! The Musical"?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2104 How about "Hamlet! The Musical"?

Al Magary wrote:

>Today's NYTimes has a story about digital technology on Broadway,
>highlighting a flying graveyard in a musical "Dance of the Vampires"
>opening next month.   "The set piece makes its debut during a splashy
>second-act production number called 'Eternity' in which a dozen campy
>vampires suddenly pop out of their coffins and break into song.
>(Hamlet's graveyard it ain't.)"
>http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/17/technology/circuits/17thea1.html?8cir
>
>Alas, poor Yorick was not a musical comedy star we could cast in
>"Hamlet! The Musical."

Actually, there are at least two separate plays entitled "Hamlet! The
Musical".  One was written by Jeff Richmond and Michael Thomas; it was
first produced in 1995 at ImprovOlympic in Chicago, then at Chicago
Shakespeare Theatre in the summer of 2000 (with Richmond playing Hamlet
and Thomas playing Claudius) and the summer of 2001 (with Mick Napier
replacing Richmond, who had moved to New York to be with his wife,
Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey).  I saw the latter two productions, and
enjoyed them quite a bit.  The other *Hamlet! The Musical*, which I have
not seen, was written by Ed Jaspers and Alex Silverman, and was a big
hit at the 2001 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Here is a post I made to SHAKSPER in 1995 about the original production
of the Richmond/Thomas *Hamlet! The Musical*:
http://www.shaksper.net/archives/1995/0117.html

Here's a review of the 2000 production of the Richmond/Thomas play, by
some humorless person who unaccountably didn't like it:
http://www.performink.com/Archives/reviewroundup/2000/7-21ReviewRoundup.html

Here is a review of the 2001 Fringe Festival production of the
Jaspers/Silverman play:
http://www.britishtheatreguide.info/otherresources/fringe/fringe01-05.htm

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