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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

by Tom Stoppard
Directed by Charles Newell,
Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director

Mar 29, 2024 — Apr 28, 2024


★★★ “[Charles] Newell is a superb director…it has been my honor to intersect with one of the American theater’s most restless spirits and keenest minds.” Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

★★★ “Newell’s garotte-tight pacing keeps ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’ moving with furious intent from start to finish. And in reclaiming the lives of two largely disregarded characters, the production opens up a marvelous alternate universe to ‘Hamlet’ and all that it explores.” —Sun-Times

Everyone dies, but not everyone’s death is pre-ordained by Shakespeare. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead puts the spotlight on two of Shakespeare’s minor characters as they wrestle with fundamental, pressing questions of identity, loss, fate, friendship, and the absurdity of existence. As they hurtle towards their imminent demise, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern unlock what it means to be truly alive. 

After directing The Hard Problem, Arcadia, Travesties, and The Invention of Love at Court and Rock ‘n’ Roll at Goodman Theatre, Director Charles Newell turns his expert eye to Tom Stoppard once more. His deconstructed interpretation of one of Stoppard’s earliest and best-known works propels the story forward with newfound immediacy. And, in so doing, Newell unveils the emotional in the existential, and urges us to reconsider what we know about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet, and perhaps even Tom Stoppard himself.

Run Time: Approximately 95 minutes

Digital Program

Accessible Performances:

  • April 20, 2024 at 2:00pm (Touch Tour/Audio Description/ASL Interpretation)
    • Touch Tour at 12:30pm
  • April 21, 2024 at 2:00pm (Open Captioning)

Sponsored by

Michael C. Litt

Photo of Lorenzo Rush Jr., Kenesha Kristine Reed, Rob Lindley, Amir Abdullah, Nate Burger, Charence Higgins, Blake Hamilton Currie, and Erik Hellman by Michael Brosilow. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. Accessibility equipment loaned by Cultural Access Collaborative with special thanks to the Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Artistic Team




Articles and Interviews

Faith, Logic, and Misunderstanding

The ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD dramaturgy team grapple with Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and how they interact with their world.

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