Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead… in Rhinebeck

Brett Owen, Michael DaTorre and Steven Cohen in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. (photo by Ben Covert)

To paraphrase Shelley: If spring comes, can summer Shakespeare festivals be far behind? Cold nights and melting snowdrifts tell us that it’s too soon for outdoor theatricals, but the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck always likes to get a jump on the season with a spring series in its own rural counterpart of the Globe Theatre.

The Center’s 2017 Spring Shakespeare Festival kicks off this weekend with the Rhinebeck Theatre Society’s production of Tom Stoppard’s Beckettian black-comedy spin on Hamlet, the Tony Award-winning Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. These two minor characters from the Bard’s timeless tragedy banter with philosophical ramblings questioning fate, death and madness, wondering how it all pertains to them. They interact with not only the major characters of Hamlet, but also the slightly sardonic troupe of players who, in the end, perform the play-within-a-play to “catch the conscience of the king” – in addition to giving Rosencrantz and Guildenstern a glimpse of their own unlucky fates.


The main cast members include Brett Owen as Guildenstern, Steven Cohen as Rosencrantz and Michael DaTorre as the Player. Robyn Sweetnum Smith directs. The play will be presented in classic Elizabethan costume.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead runs from March 31 through April 9, with performances beginning at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays plus 3 p.m. Sunday matinées. Tickets cost $24 general admission, $22 for seniors and children. If not already sold out, $20 rush tickets are available at the door. For reservations, call (845) 876-3080 or visit The Center for Performing Arts is located at 661 Route 308, three-and-a-half miles east of downtown Rhinebeck.

There is one comment

  1. Jeffrey Young

    Like all exceptionally talented actors, Steven Cohen trades in truth, depth, and presence. It’s easy to lose yourself (and sense of time) as he gives his voice to the character but more than that it is the workings of his deep-set, tender, and soulful eyes that tells the real story. Whether those eyes are off in the middle-distance, beaming straight at you, or curved downward in a kind of bemused state, they “show” everything an audience needs to know.

    He is a true credit to community theatre and seeing more of him would be a delight. I’m sure, if he ever made it out to Hollywood, he could work effectively in many roles (think Mandy Patinkin) and would be scooped up quickly by a top agent.

    Bravo Bravissimo!

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