Tom Stoppard’s Classic Tragicomedy Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead Closes Folger Theatre’s 2014/15 Season

Aaron Posner directs Adam Wesley Brown & Romell Witherspoon in title roles, alongside Ian Merrill Peakes, Andy Prosky, Craig Wallace, Brynn Tucker, and others.

(Washington, DC) – Folger Theatre concludes its highly successful 2014/15 season with Tom Stoppard’s fabulously inventive, existentialist tragicomedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Directed by four-time Helen Hayes Award-winner Aaron Posner (Stoppard’s Arcadia, The Taming of the Shrew at Folger), this modern classic will play at Folger Theatre May 12 to June 21, 2015. Tickets are available for purchase online at or by calling the Folger Box Office at (202) 544-7077.

Winner of four Tony Awards®, including “Best Play,” Stoppard’s feast of wordplay and wit thrusts two of Shakespeare’s most incidental characters into the limelight. Courtiers and close compatriots Rosencrantz and Guildenstern find themselves in Elsinore with the dubious task of identifying what afflicts their childhood friend Hamlet. Can this bewildered duo manage to keep their heads as they engage with a ragtag group of bedraggled players, find themselves on the high seas, and are attacked by a band of pirates?

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is a seminal work of theatrical playfulness,” states Posner. “With his later, more serious and scholarly work, people sometimes forget that early on Mr. Stoppard was a wildly playful, even silly dramatist, toying with the nature of theatrical performance and asking all kinds of serious questions about being in the most delightfully ridiculous situations. The play is a riff on the nature of life and death, while also a linguistic funhouse that bounces with ease from existential angst to pirate attacks, without missing a beat.”

Seattle-born actor Romell Witherspoon will star as Rosencrantz. Witherspoon appeared in Macbeth at the Lucas Theater in Savannah, Georgia, and has since appeared in prominent television series such as The Good Wife, Blue Bloods, and Madam Secretary. Starring as Guildenstern will be Adam Wesley Brown, who has performed in the Broadway smash musical Once, as well as numerous Shakespearean productions at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Old Globe Theatre, The Walden Theatre, among others. A singer/songwriter as well, Brown’s debut album, Live at Bowery Poetry, will be released later this year. Both actors will be making their DC debuts in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Folger favorite and three-time Helen Hayes Award nominee Ian Merrill Peakes will star as The Player. Peakes has starred in a number of acclaimed productions at Folger Theatre, including Henry VIII, Macbeth (directed by Posner and Teller), Measure for Measure, and Othello. In addition, he has garnered Barrymore Awards for his performances in All My Sons, Sideman, and Something Intangible. Having played Rosencrantz in Posner’s 2003 production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at Arden Theatre, Peakes returns to Stoppard as the unscrupulous leader of a ragtag group of travelling players who stumble upon our flummoxed antiheroes.

The outstanding cast also includes Biko Eisen-Martin as Hamlet, Andy Prosky as Polonius,

Kimberly Schraf as Gertrude, Brynn Tucker as Ophelia, and Craig Wallace as Claudius. The production also features Maggie Donnelly, Luis Alberto Gonzalez, Stephen Russell Murray,Jacob Yeh, and Rachel Zampelli.

The creative team includes Paige Hathaway (scenic design), Helen Q. Huang (costume design), Thom Weaver (lighting design), and Eric Shimelonis (music composition and sound design).

“We are pleased to return to the ingenious Tom Stoppard after such a satisfying earlier production of Arcadia, also directed by Aaron Posner,” stated Janet Griffin, Artistic Producer for Folger Theatre. “Effectively fascinating audiences with both difficult and simple truths, Stoppard’s work is highly amusing and thrillingly provocative, while being immensely entertaining.”

Ticketing Information & Performance Dates:            


Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead plays at Folger Theatre from May 12 to June 21, 2015.
Tickets are $35-$75. Lower-priced previews and discounts for students, seniors, military, educators, and groups of ten or more are available and may be purchased at the Folger Theatre Box Office at (202) 544-7077 or online at



Related Programming:     


Pay-What-You-Can performance is on Tuesday, May 12, 7:30pm. Tickets will be available to the public one hour prior to the performance. Cash purchases only.


Folger Theatre’s Brews & Banter Pre-Show Chat will be held on Thursday, May 21 at 6:30pm. Before the show, quench your thirst and join this small group talk with actor Brynn Tucker (Ophelia in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern…). $15, with beer and light fare included.


College Night will be held on Friday, May 22 at 8:00pm. Tickets are $15, with a valid student ID to be presented at the box office.


A Pre-Performance Seminar with Folger Director Michael Witmore will explore the play and take place on Wednesday, May 27 at 6:30pm. Tickets are $15, with light fare included.


Audience members are encouraged to stay and take part in our Post-Show Discussion with the cast on Thursday, June 4. This interactive discussion, led by Folger’s resident dramaturg Michele Osherow, will follow the 7:30pm performance.


Poet Sandra Beasley and members of the Madeira Slam Poetry Team read from their works in response to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead on Friday, June 5 at 6:30pm. Admission is free.


Special performances of Gravedigger’s Tale directed by Robert Richmond (Henry V and Julius Caesar at the Folger) on Friday, June 12 at 6:30pm and Saturday, June 13 at 12:00pm. Helen Hayes Award-winner Louis Butelli stars in this unique, one-person retelling of Hamlet; Free


Folger Shakespeare Library Librarian Daniel DeSimone speaks on the current exhibition on the discovery of longitude in a Folger Friday discussion on Friday, June 19 at 6:30pm. Admission is free.


An exhibition from the National Maritime Museum, London celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Longitude Act, Ships, Clocks, & Stars: The Quest for Longitude uses rare timekeepers, instruments, paintings, and more to tell the story of the quest for longitude. Together, these materials show how clockmaker John Harrison, German astronomer Tobias Mayer, and others played key roles in the ultimately successful quest—and changed the world. Proudly sponsored by United Technologies. On display in Folger’s Great Hall now through August 23, 2015. Visit for details; free.

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