Oscar Isaac has been set to play Hamlet (in a Sam Gold-directed production of Shakespeare’s story of Danish royal familial atrocities) for a while, after some false starts and the declaration of a move from the Theatre for a New Audience to the Public Theater. Finally, The Public has officially announced the plans for the Isaac-starring production. Said plans happen to also include Keegan-Michael Key.
In a press release, the Public has announced that the production will begin previews on June 20, and run through September 3. The cast is not yet complete, but the actors who’ve joined thus far are Isaac (in the titular role), Key (as Horatio, Hamlet‘s bestie/confidant and the one main character who doesn’t get killed in the play’s final blood bath), Fun Home‘s Roberta Colindrez as Rosencrantz, veteran theater actor Peter Friedman as Polonius, Gayle Rankin (who’s about to co-star in Jenji Kohan’s Netflix wrestling comedy series, G.L.O.W.) as Ophelia and Second Gravedigger, Peter and the Starcatcher actor Matthew Saldívar as Guildenstern, and Boardwalk Empire‘s Anatol Yusuf as Laertes. The Public refers to it as an “electrifyingly intimate production”; Sam Gold is no stranger to exceedingly intimate takes on Shakespeare, as was seen in his production of Othello at the New York Theatre Workshop.
Gold’s Hamlet was originally supposed to be performed at Brooklyn’s Theater for a New Audience, but those plans deteriorated, as the New York Times reported last year, with Gold (who also formerly directed Fun Home) citing “artistic differences” with the theater and announcing plans to move the play to the Public Theater, after tickets had already been sold at the former. (Both Gold and Isaac have affiliations with the Public; Gold’s Fun Home premiered there, and Isaac having performed twice in their Shakespeare in the Park series.)
Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of the Public, said in a statement:
Oscar Isaac starred in the first show I produced at the Delacorte, Two Gents in the summer of 2005. His Romeo two years later was more proof of his brilliance. Sam Gold’s production of Fun Home was one of the most extraordinary directorial feats I’ve ever produced. The prospect of the two of them collaborating on what is arguably the greatest play ever written is joyous.