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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: October ::
Re: How about "Hamlet! The Musical"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2114  Tuesday, 22 October 2002

[1]     From:   Todd Pettigrew <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Oct 2002 10:16:39 -0300
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.2109 Re: How about "Hamlet! The Musical"

[2]     From:   M. Yawney <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Oct 2002 06:25:42 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2109 Re: How about "Hamlet! The Musical"

[3]     From:   Stevie Gamble <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Oct 2002 14:43:42 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2109 Re: How about "Hamlet! The Musical"

[4]     From:   Thomas Larque <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Oct 2002 16:14:23 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2109 Re: How about "Hamlet! The Musical"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Pettigrew <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Oct 2002 10:16:39 -0300
Subject: 13.2109 Re: How about "Hamlet! The Musical"
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.2109 Re: How about "Hamlet! The Musical"

Marko Begovic writes:

"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."

This episode is very funny, indeed. The castaways use records that the
Howells have with them, so the tunes are familiar tunes (mostly from
opera, I think).

If memory serves, in one song, Polonius (the Skipper) advises Laertes to
the tune of the Toreador (sp?) Song"

Neither a lender nor a borrower be
Do not forget:
Stay out of debt!
Think twice, and take this good advice from me:
Guard that old solvency!
There's just one other thing you ought to do:
To thine own self be true!

This song is reprised as a rousing finale.

All this is done to convince the Broadway Producer Harold Hecuba to take
the castaways back to civilization with him.  Hecuba likes the idea but
thinks the amateurs have botched it.  He shows them how its done in a
whirlwind one-man version of the show he's just seen. Then, rat that he
is, he sneeks off the island, returns to America and stages the musical
to great acclaim.

Todd Pettigrew

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           M. Yawney <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Oct 2002 06:25:42 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 13.2109 Re: How about "Hamlet! The Musical"
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2109 Re: How about "Hamlet! The Musical"

How could anyone leave out Rockabye Hamlet, the only Hamlet musical to
actually run on Broadway. The run was brief and it was the 1970s. (You
remember the 70s--the taste-free decade.)

Or Thomas Ambrose's opera which is still performed with some frequency.
In that one Hamlet and Ophelia marry at the end.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stevie Gamble <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Oct 2002 14:43:42 +0100
Subject: 13.2109 Re: How about "Hamlet! The Musical"
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2109 Re: How about "Hamlet! The Musical"

David Kathman wrote:

>Actually, there are at least two separate plays entitled "Hamlet! The
>Musical .... 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.

Thank you; it was indeed a big hit, which pleased me a great deal since
I costumed it. SHAKSPEReans might like to know that there was also a
special performance of the musical at a Christmas celebration at the
Kensington Palace. Resonances with our past...

Best wishes,
Stevie Gamble

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Larque <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Oct 2002 16:14:23 +0100
Subject: 13.2109 Re: How about "Hamlet! The Musical"
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2109 Re: How about "Hamlet! The Musical"

The chief difference between the English language musical versions of
"Hamlet!  The Musical" discussed by Dave Kathman, and the Czech version
which I mentioned was that the Czech production was - as far as I could
work out - an entirely serious adaptation of the play.  True, Polonius
was apparently a comic-tragic figure who was mockingly imitated by
Hamlet in a dark-comic song after he had killed him, and the
Gravediggers got a humorously cynical song which caused a lot of
amusement among the Czech audience, but otherwise this was apparently an
attempt at a straight and serious musical reproduction of "Hamlet".  I
suppose this sort of thing is easier to do if you aren't competing with
Shakespeare's original language, since few in a Czech popular theatre
audience are likely to know the original English.

The Prague "Hamlet!  The Musical" was (and possibly still is, I saw it
over a year ago, but it had been running for a good long time before
that) very lavishly staged with revolving sets representing the outside
of the castle walls on one side and a room inside the castle on
another.  It strayed from the plot in some significant places - obvious
even to an English speaker - introducing a female best friend for
Ophelia who was in love with Horatio, showing Hamlet and Ophelia naked
in bed together, and so on - but the musical seemed to stay true to most
of the basic plot and atmosphere of the play.  Particularly strong were
the depictions of Hamlet's mourning, his haunting by the Ghost of his
father, the deeply passionate relationship between Gertrude and
Claudius, and the portrayal of the players entering (and encouraging)
Claudius's dissolute court.

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

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