Michael's Thing

Ophelia
by Stewart Benedict
March 10th 2001

OPHELIA, a new musical at the                 
Wings Theater, 154 Christopher                   
Street in the Village, has                               
exceptionally strong music and                      
lyrics, the former by Jeffrey                          
Weissman, the later by Antonia                    
Tancredi. And they are presented                  
by a cast of nine, all with                               
strong voices, unusually good                        
for an OOB production, backed by               
an orchestra of six, especially                         
here for a production at Wings                       
and especially talented under
the direction of Jan Rosenberg.                      
Thus this portion of the                          
production, under the direction                      
of Nancy Hancock is most                            
impressive and such voices as
those of Lynette Knapp as
Ophelia, Chan Harris as Hamlet,
Cherilyn Bacon as Gertrude
and John Dewar as Claudius point
up this excellence of the music and
lyrics and thus serve as an
added plus.
The book is another matter. I
attended OPHELIA with a former
journalistic colleague who has
had plays performed OOB and
constantly teaches college
writing. She has never taught
HAMLET of W. Shakespeare and
did not object to the changes in the
plot and characters except to
say she found the Ophelia in
this version a little too modern
to fit in with the rest.
We both found the writing admirable.
A former college English
teacher, I brought too much
baggage from the Shakespeare
tragedy to be entirely at ease
with certain aspects of this
treatment. I am a true believer
in the Freudian interpretation
of the character of Prince
Hamlet and so was jarred by his
having impregnated Ophelia.
Further, in the original
Polonius is a pompous,
sententious windbag, while here
he is strong, if not very
forceful. Finally, the
personality of Ophelia is
more post-Lib 2000 AD than
late Medieval or early
Renaissance, so her suicide
seems off.







By Stewart Benedict

Michael’s Thing
March 10th, 2001
But keep an eye peeled for
those names: you will surely
hear from Jeffrey Weissman
and Antonia Tancredi again,
and so you should. They are
genuine talents.
OPHELIA, a new musical at the                 
Wings Theater, 154 Christopher                   
Street in the Village, has                               
exceptionally strong music and                      
lyrics, the former by Jeffrey                          
Weissman, the later by Antonia                    
Tancredi. And they are presented                  
by a cast of nine, all with                               
strong voices, unusually good                        
for an OOB production, backed by               
an orchestra of six, especially                         
here for a production at Wings                       
and especially talented under
the direction of Jan Rosenberg.                      
Thus this portion of the                          
production, under the direction                      
of Nancy Hancock is most                            
impressive and such voices as
those of Lynette Knapp as
Ophelia, Chan Harris as Hamlet,
Cherilyn Bacon as Gertrude
and John Dewar as Claudius point
up this excellence of the music and
lyrics and thus serve as an
added plus.
We both found the writing admirable
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