Playwright to adapt Updike’s Gertrude and Claudius reported that playwright Mark St. Germain is adapting John Updike’s “prequel” to Shakespeare’s Hamlet for the stage. Orlando Shakespeare Theater has commissioned the project, and a staged reading of the Gertrude and Claudius play “will be featured at the Theater’s annual play festival, PlayFest 2017 presented by Harriett’s Charitable Trust, and is scheduled to receive a world premiere in 2019 as part of Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s 30th Season.”

The BWW Newsdesk article reports that Orlando Shakespeare Theater artistic director Jim Helsinger has wanted to produce a stage version of Updike’s bestselling novel “since he read the book upon its initial release in 2001.”

“‘Hamlet is Shakespeare’s most famous and popular play, and the idea that we can dive deeper into its legendary cast of characters is really exciting,’ said Helsinger. ‘Updike’s narrative fills out the backstory of the love affair between Gertrude and Claudius perfectly and we could not think of a better playwright to adapt it for us than Mark St. Germain,” whose projects are often based on historical fiction or fact. One of his previous literary projects was Scott and Hem in the Garden of Allah, a 2013 play that explores a night F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway spend together at the Garden of Allah apartments in Los Angeles.

Visit for more information on the Orlando Shakespeare Theater.

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