Author: Scarlett S., ’23
In the spring of 1967, the Rice University theater troupe, Rice Players, produced the classic Shakespearen play Hamlet, with Wiessman George Greanias as Fortinbras. Since Fortinbras is the last character to appear onstage in Hamlet, Greanias waited a long time backstage each night of the performance. This gave him time to think… lots of time to think. What was the result of all this thinking? Hello, Hamlet! A Play in Too Many Scenes, a musical parody of Hamlet.
Performed every four years, Hello, Hamlet! is now the longest theater tradition at Rice. Every four years, students adjust the script to reflect the current times, update the songs and throw in some pop culture references to perfect this masterpiece to be performed at Wiess College. The play is so big that even alumni of Wiess College return just to see the musical.
Hello, Hamlet! includes classic characters from Hamlet such as Gertrude, Claudius, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencratz and Guildenstern, Horatio, and, surprise, Hamlet! Several other Shakespearean characters make their cameo’s including Macbeth from Macbeth, Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Soothsayer from Julius Caesar and many more! Even if you are very familiar with the plot of Hamlet, don’t be fooled! Hello, Hamlet! is full of surprises.
Of course, no musical is complete without its own set of songs. Each song in Hello, Hamlet! is a parody of another song. From The Sound of Music’ts “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria” to The Lion King’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” to Kenny Loggins “Footloose,” there are plenty of recognizable tunes.