In 2017, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival celebrates 35 years as the Bay Area’s acclaimed provider of free and accessible Shakespeare performances and education programs. For this historic year, SF Shakes will present Hamlet for the first time at Free Shakespeare in the Park. The play, about the questionable succession of King Claudius to the throne of Denmark over his nephew Prince Hamlet, speaks strongly about disenfranchisement, frustration, and the need for action during troubled times. Hamlet is torn between revenging his father’s murder and going along quietly with the new regime, including his mother Queen Gertrude. Finding an ally in the audience, he shares his inner turmoil in a series of soliloquies which have become familiar all over the world – from “Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I” to “To be or not to be” to “How all occasions do inform against me."

Resident Artist Stephen Muterspaugh will direct this production, after co-directing The Taming of the Shrew in 2014 and directing four seasons of Shakespeare On Tour. Bay Area actor and playwright Davern Wright takes on the title role after appearing as Florizel in The Winter’s Tale in 2016. Also returning to the Festival’s mainstage production is Scenic Designer Jay Lasnik, who designed The Winter’s Tale in 2016.


Stephen Muterspaugh Director

Muterspaugh, who served as SF Shakes' Associate Artistic Director from 2014-2017, has been teaching, acting and directing for the Festival since 2010. As a Resident Artist, he has taught Bay Area Shakespeare Camps, Upstart Crows, Advanced Shakespeare Workshop, and Midnight Shakespeare programs, as well as creating the Shakespeare for All Central Valley Residency Program. As a director he has helmed four seasons of Shakespeare on Tour productions, as well as co-directing the 2014 Free Shakespeare in the Park production of The Taming of the Shrew. Regional acting credits include: Cyrano and The Country House (TheatreWorks), Last Night of Ballyhoo and Servant of Two Masters (PCPA), Julius Caesar (Utah Shakespeare Festival), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello (Southwest Shakespeare Company), Charley’s Aunt (Creede Repertory Theatre), A Christmas Carol and Meet Me Incognito (Geva Theatre Center), Lend Me a Tenor (Livermore Shakespeare), King John and The Liar (Marin Shakespeare Company), Three Days of Rain and Harper Regan (Jewel Theatre), and The Winter’s Tale and Macbeth (San Francisco Shakespeare Festival). He is a graduate of PCPA - Pacific Conservatory Theatre and a proud member of Actors’ Equity.


Jay Lasnik Scenic Designer

Jay designed last season's SF Shakes/Los Altos Youth Theatre's co-production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and this season's The Little Princess as well as last summer's Free Shakespeare in the Park production of The Winter's Tale. In 2016 he also designed the SF Mime Troupe’s Schooled, Origins of Love, a multi-show play fest at the University of San Francisco, and Golden Thread’s ReOrient play fest. Other designs include: Big Love (French-American International High School, where he also taught this year), Shirley Valentine (Cinnabar Theatre, Petaluma), Almost, Maine (6th Street Playhouse, Santa Rosa), Wit, Beauty Queen of Leenane, and Anton in Show Business (Palo Alto Players), Pirates of Penzance (Raven Players, Healdsburg),  Noises Off and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Coastal Rep, Half Moon Bay), and Theatre Rhinoceros. Other associations as a props and/or costume crafts designer and/or fabricator include the SF Opera, Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, Berkeley Rep, Teatro Zinzani, CalShakes, The Mountain Play and 42nd Street Moon. www.JayLasnikArt.com FB: Jay Lasnik Art & Design