Stage Door News

Toronto: Casting complete for “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern” coming March 2024

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Playwright Tom Stoppard burst onto the scene in 1966 with his absurdist comedic masterpiece Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. It was an instant hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was quickly staged at the Old Vic in London and then on Broadway, where it won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1968. The play is now considered a modern classic and a favourite of actors to perform.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is getting a major revival in Canada in the new theatre season. Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan, whose portrayals of Merry and Pippin, respectively, in Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings film trilogy made them international stars, reunite to star as the title characters in this new production that will premiere at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, January 30 to February 25, 2024, and then travel to Toronto and play at the CAA Theatre, March 5 to 24, 2024.

Directed by Neptune Theatre artistic director Jeremy Webb, the production will also star some of Canada’s most acclaimed actors: Michael Blake (The Player), Walter Borden (Polonius), Pasha Ebrahimi (Hamlet), Raquel Duffy (Tragedian, Gertrude), Drew Douris-O'Hara (Tragedian, Alfred), Jacob Sampson (Tragedian, Laertes), Mallory Amirault (Tragedian, Ambassador), Santiago Guzman (Tragedian, Horatio), Helen Belay (Tragedian, Ophelia), Jonathan Ellul (Tragedian, Claudius), and Erin Tancock (Tragedian, Fortinbras).

"Casting Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan for this play is an incredibly exciting development for Neptune Theatre. Our challenge was to assemble a cast that could support and do justice to Tom Stoppard's brilliant script,” says director Jeremy Webb. “With the announcement of this exceptional ensemble of 11 actors, I can confidently say that we've accomplished that. Their immense talent will bring a lot of dynamic energy to the show."

“I love doing live theatre. The rehearsal room is one of the greatest places in the world to be fully immersed in the creative process,” says Billy Boyd. “Especially with an amazing play like this one and to have the chance to spend the day with so many creative minds, the cast, and the director. I’m very excited!”

“Live theatre is for me, the greatest and scariest experience an actor can have, and I’m a big fan of scary experiences as they are the best for promoting personal growth.” says Dominic Monaghan.

The creative team is comprised of Kaelen MacDonald (Costume Designer), Leigh Ann Vardy (Lighting Designer), Andrew Cull (Set Designer), Angela Gasparetto (Movement Director), Deanna Choi (Sound Designer & Original Music Composer), Karen Bassett (Fight Director), Robin Munro (Stage Manager), Anna Spencer (Assistant Stage Manager), and Rachel Dawn Woods (Assistant Stage Manager).

About The Play:

The story of Hamlet is reimagined in this brilliant comedy that thrusts two minor characters to the forefront.

Prince Hamlet has been exiled to England by his treacherous uncle Claudius, who has murdered his brother (Hamlet's father) and crowned himself king. On his way to England in the company of his school friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet discovers they are carrying a letter from King Claudius that commands that Hamlet be put to death when he arrives in England. Hamlet rewrites the letter to command that instead, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern be put to death. He then escapes back to Denmark.

The bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are trapped in this absurdist universe where their lives are left to chance with the flip of a coin.

Can our hapless protagonists triumph in a battle of wits, escape their fate, and make sense of a senseless world?

Photo: Dominic Monaghan (Rosencrantz) and Billy Boyd (Guildenstern). © 2023 Shanley Kellis.