Photo Flash: A First Look At BERNHARDT/HAMLET At Goodman Theatre
Pulitzer Prize finalist Theresa Rebeck celebrates and sends up the art of theater-making through a look at the original diva-legendary leading lady Sarah Bernhardt-as she defies gender norms to assume the role of a lifetime.
In her Goodman debut, acclaimed Canadian Director Donna Feore directs the cast of 14-led by Oregon Shakespeare Festival veteran Terri McMahon as Sarah Bernhardt. Bernhardt/Hamlet appears September 14 - October 20 (opening night is Monday, September 23) in the Goodman's 856-seat Albert Theatre.
Tickets ($25-80; subject to change) are on sale now at GoodmanTheatre.org/Bernhardt, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). In addition, Rebeck and Feore discuss the play at an Artist Encounter event on September 22 at 5pm. Tickets are free for Members; $35 for general public (price includes the discussion with reception and performance).
"I'm thrilled to launch our 2019/2020 Season with the Chicago premiere of this fantastic new comedy by Theresa Rebeck-a sly provocateur whose work incites laughter and contemplation in equal measure," said Artistic Director Robert Falls. "Sarah Bernhardt was a theatrical powerhouse who challenged societal standards to create a prestigious career and distinctive lifestyle. Donna Feore, one of Canada's most celebrated and versatile artists, is the perfect director for this boisterous and stimulating new play, at once historical and timely."
In Bernhardt/Hamlet, gossip flies and society gasps as gender roles are put to the test when actress Sarah Bernhardt assumes a role that is often considered the zenith of men's acting careers: Shakespeare's Hamlet. Rebeck's play, which premiered in 2018 on Broadway at Roundabout Theatre Company, is based on the legendary leading lady's historical debut in this role in 1899. Born in Paris in 1844, Bernhardt quickly rose to fame in her early 20s as a successful actor who was also known for her lavish lifestyle. She eventually opened her own theater, Theatre Sarah Bernhardt, where she first played the title role in Hamlet. Her portrayal was ultimately successful, but was bristled with criticism and controversy. She continued acting until shortly before her death in 1923.
"In many ways, Sarah Bernhardt was ahead of her time-certainly as a woman and an actor," said Director Donna Feore, who is known for her work as a director and choreographer at Ontario's Stratford Festival. "Bernhardt/Hamlet poses tough questions, but at the same time is funny, witty and sexy. We have an incredibly talented group of actors navigating this world, which we can't wait for Chicago audiences to experience."
Joining Terri McMahon as Sarah Bernhardt are Nate Cheeseman (Raoul), William Dick (Louis), Amanda Drinkall (Lysette), Jennifer Latimore (Rosamond Gerard), Gregory Linington (Alphonse Mucha), Luigi Sottile (Maurice Bernhardt), John Tufts (Edmond Rostand), Travis Turner (Francois) and Larry Yando (Constant Conquelin). Rounding out the cast are ensemble members Thomas J. Cox, Amira Danan, Volen IIiev and Park Krausen. The creative team includes Narelle Sissons (Set), Dana Osborne (Costumes), Robert Wierzel (Lights) and Joanna Lynne
Photo Credit: Rich Hein
William Dick and John Tufts