Arts & EntertainmentThe Examiner

‘Enter Hamlet’ Gives Audiences a New Way to Look at a Classic

We are part of The Trust Project
The cast of Arc Stages’ latest production, “Enter Hamlet,” that will be presented to audiences in four performances on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Pictured are Jordana Lichtenthal, Richie Hunter, Kate Piatti, Peter Ackerman, Arielle Zeitchick, Shannon Harding, Tony Hamilton, and Carol Berkow.

Through the generations, there have been innumerable productions of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, but it’s unlikely that audiences have experienced a production like the one Arc Stages is serving up this weekend.

The Pleasantville-based theater company is presenting its original work, “Enter Hamlet,” for its summer Community Stage production. It contains many of the elements of the classic work but with a new twist.

“We call it a Twilight Zone-esque retelling of Hamlet in which a group of audience members – not the ones coming to see the show, but the actors in the show – walk into a theater and they’re going to see a show of Hamlet, and it turns out something happens,” said Stacey Bone-Gleason, the show’s director.

Written by Patrick Gallagher with music by Arc Stages’ Artistic Director Adam Cohen, Bone-Gleason and Cohen described the show as a dark comedy. It also represents the first time that a Community Stage production at Arc Stages has original music supported by a live four-piece band.

The cast of nine local actors – Peter Ackerman, Carol Berkow, Tony Hamilton, Shannon Harding, Richie Hunter, Jordana Lichtenthal, Kate Piatti, Rebecca ‘Joe’ Samel and Arielle Zeitchick – have impressed in rehearsals, Bone-Gleason said. Not only is the cast playing a real-life character but they’re taking on a role of a character in Hamlet.

“Some of it is slightly paraphrased Shakespeare, but it is using Shakespeare’s text and really diving into these characters, which has been such a treat to do with all of them because you don’t get to do this kind of work in community theater often,” Bone-Gleason said. “They’re doing Shakespeare and community theater, which is often not done, especially Hamlet, and (they’re) doing an original work and original music that hasn’t been done a million times in every other community theater.”

Cohen said that the Arc Stages audience will get the entire story of Hamlet, but the show goes to another level besides just another recounting of the classic. It made sense to do something that many theatergoers are familiar with while also providing some intrigue and fun.

Tony Hamilton and Carol Berkow, part of the cast of Arc Stages’ latest production “Enter Hamlet.” There will be four performances this weekend.

“It’s sort of a different evening then they thought they were getting into when they left their homes,” Cohen said.

For fans of Shakespeare – and Bone-Gleason counts herself among the devotees – the production should not offend any of them, she said.

“If you love Shakespeare, there’s nothing not to love because it is happening in this Shakespeare story to an audience that knows the Shakespeare text, has some paraphrased text, and in a really beautiful way, of putting it into people’s mouths in a way that makes it really amazing to see in a different way than just watching the plot of Hamlet, of course,’ Bone-Gleason said.

The production also continues Arc Stages’ tradition of finding and presenting new and exciting works for local audiences. There always seems to be a new way to offer audiences a fresh perspective in the theater.

“We definitely like to try new things, doing new works when we can,” Cohen said. “Still, it has something new to offer or a different way in looking at it.”

Performances of “Enter Hamlet are scheduled for this Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and matinee and evening showings on Sunday at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $28 for adults and $22 for seniors and students.

Arc Stages is located at 147 Wheeler Ave. in Pleasantville. For tickets or more information, visit or call 914-747-6206.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.