Disco-Style Adaptation of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" at Cal Lutheran April 20 through 30

‘Hamlet’ takes a disco turn in production   

Cal Lutheran professor wrote musical adaptation

The California Lutheran University Theatre Arts Department will present an original disco-style adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in April.

The Mainstage Production of “Hamlet, Disco Dane of Denmark” will be performed at 8 p.m. April 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29. A 2 p.m. matinee will be presented on April 30. All performances are in the Black Box Studio Theatre on the Thousand Oaks campus. The run time is one hour and 10 minutes.

Written and directed by theater arts professor Ken Gardner of Thousand Oaks, the play is set in Club Elsinore, the hottest disco in the Big Apple, in 1978. It contains original songs as well as parodies of classic disco songs.

Originally performed at Cal Lutheran in 2004, the play has since undergone rewrites, including the revision of three songs and addition of one new tune. Singer Michael Falcone, a Cal Lutheran alumnus from Newbury Park who played the original Hamlet, returns to play the role of his dead father, King of the Disco Floor.

In the play, the King of the Disco Floor roams the club at night as a ghost and appears on the club video screen. Sad collegian Hamlet leaves Denmark University for New York City to get to the bottom of the death of his father. The opening video montage of Hamlet hitchhiking to the Big Apple will include cameo appearances, including one by Cal Lutheran President Chris Kimball.

Jordan Erickson, a theater arts major from Thousand Oaks, will play Hamlet. Other cast members are Carrie Bower, a biochemistry major from Brea; theater arts major Chris Clyne and theater arts/political science major Peter Johnson of Camarillo; Bridget DeMaria, a theater arts/communication major from Los Alamitos; theater arts major Janelle Detina of Chicago; theater arts majors Will Haddock and Gaby Reublin of Thousand Oaks; and biology major Ruth Smitherman of Roy, Washington.

Alumnus Seth Kamenow, who designs sets for the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center in his hometown, transformed the entire Black Box Theatre into a disco. Liz Murphy, a theater arts major from Thousand Oaks, devised the lighting and Christopher Baldwin Reynolds, a theater arts major from Moreno Valley, designed the video and sound. Faculty member Noelle Raffy created the costumes, complete with bell bottoms and other disco regalia, and faculty member Josh Clabaugh is the technical director. Ron DiBuccio, a member of the band 3 Strange Daze, helped with musical composition. Glenn Jordan, an Emmy Award-winning composer and former member of Sha Na Na, created and recorded the musical accompaniment.

The theater is located at 141 Memorial Parkway. Admission is $10. Tickets may be purchased at CalLutheran.edu/theatre-arts. They may also be available at the door. For more information, call 805-493-3452.