A&E | Northwest Herald

McHenry County talents to help bring ‘I Hate Hamlet’ comedy to the stage

Rikki Lee Travolta

The hit comedy “I Hate Hamlet” will open Friday, Sept. 30, presented by Elgin Theatre Company and directed by Regina Belt-Daniels. Among the other McHenry County talents helping power the production is actor Rikki Lee Travolta of Woodstock.

Travolta will portray Andrew Rally, a famous but not terribly talented TV heartthrob who is cast in the title role of the New York City Shakespeare in the Park production of “Hamlet,” a news release stated.

To aid the television star in the daunting role, the ghost of John Barrymore – regarded by some as the definitive Hamlet – comes back from the dead to coach him. The witty comedy was penned by Paul Rudnick.

A West Coast native, Travolta was first brought to Chicago to headline the comedy “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding,” helping turn it into a national phenomenon. He has numerous film and television credits, including the upcoming Ben Kurstin-helmed film “The Sleight.” He is founding chair of the Huntley Park District’s It’s Showtime Theatre.

“Travolta has a reputation of excellence, and he is a joy to work with,” Belt-Daniels said in the release.

Co-starring in the role of Barrymore is David Gasior of Johnsburg, who possesses all the prerequisites to play the legendary star – great dramatic skills and impeccable comic timing, the release stated.

Trace Gamache of Crystal Lake plays Andrew’s girlfriend Dierdre. The multi-talented Gamache recently was nominated for one of the Lou Awards for her performance as Inspector Goring in last year’s Elgin Theatre Company production of “The Game’s Afoot.”

Rounding out the cast are Alison Thomas Hage of Crystal Lake as Andrew’s agent, Lillian; Karen Mayberry Greuel of Woodstock as real estate agent and amateur psychic Felicia; and Travis Greuel of Woodstock as the Hollywood producer, Gary.

“I am simply honored to be included in a cast with such talented actors,” Travolta said in the release. “This is a show in which there are many chances for each character to shine, and the wonderful actors in this mounting rise to the challenge in every way.”

The original 1991 Broadway production earned a Tony Award nomination for Adam Arkin for originating the role of Gary.

On the Elgin Theatre Company production team are producer Richard Greiger, stage manager Matt Hordyke, fight choreographer Deb Swinford, set construction foreman Steve Connell, scenic painter Barry Norton, costumer Trudie Dreyer and sign language interpreter Andrew Ross. Sunday performances are sign acted for people with hearing impairment.

For tickets, visit www.Elgin-Theatre.org, call 847-741-0532 or email tickets@inil.com.

The theater space is on the eighth floor of Elgin Art Showcase at 164 Division St. in downtown Elgin.

For the safety of other audience members, as well as that of the actors, those attending the production must show proof of vaccination or negative COVID test, and masks must be worn in the audience at all times.

[Note to readers: The show’s director, Regina Belt-Daniels, is a regular theater reviewer for the Northwest Herald.]


WHAT: “I Hate Hamlet”

WHERE: Elgin Arts Showcase, 164 Division St., eighth floor, Elgin

WHEN: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 9

INFORMATION: 847-741-0532, www.Elgin-Theatre.org, tickets@inil.com.