Curtain Call's 'Hamlet' coming to Sterling Farms complex

“Hamlet” is Shakespeare’s longest play, but the focus of an outdoor community theater production coming to Stamford is on brevity.

Still, despite the trims to the book, audiences attending the Curtain Call’s Shakespeare on the Green presentation running Thursday, July 12, through Sunday, July 22, can count on hearing all the classic lines, including “Brevity is the soul of wit,” in a traditional staging of the Bard’s timeless tale of murder and revenge.

Kyle Runestad, who is returning to Curtain Call for his fourth year as director, “made some very judicious cuts,” Lou Ursone, executive director, said in a phone interview.

“My initial suggestion was, you know, ‘just cut every other page and as long as you say, “To be, or not to be ...,” people will be happy,’ ” Ursone said, chuckling. “ “To thine own self be true,” if that’s in there, people will recognize it and they’ll be happy,’ but no, he’s actually done a very good cut and we’re very happy with it.”

This 15th annual free, outdoor Shakespeare production at Sterling Farms complex marks a shift to more serious Bard fare for Curtain Call.

“We try to mix it up and audiences, I think, certainly prefer the comedies,” Ursone said, “but we have a responsibility to do the histories and the tragedies.”

Last year, the troupe staged its first history with “Julius Caesar,” and had produced a couple of comedies before that, so Ursone said the time was right to tackle its first staging of “Hamlet.”

“It was time to turn the tables a little bit and go back to the tragedies and next to ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ ‘Hamlet’ is certainly the best known piece of literature probably in the world, and especially in the Shakespeare canon,” he said.

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Sterling Farms Complex, 1349 Newfield Ave., Stamford. Thursday-Sunday, July 12-15; and Friday-Sunday, July 20-22, 7:30 p.m., with area opening for seating at 6. 203-329-8207,

In the lead role is Joey Sanzaro, with whom Curtain Call audiences might be familiar from the company’s productions of “Jesus Christ Superstar” as Judas and “Ragtime” as Mother’s Younger Brother.

“He’s got probably one of the largest roles you’ll ever get to play,” Ursone said of the Prince of Denmark character. “To say he isn’t a little bit daunted by it would be lying and he’s honest about it, but he’s in great shape and doing a terrific job with it.”

Nestled among the pine trees of the Sterling Farms complex, the setting offers a unique experience to enjoy Shakespeare’s works, Ursone said, with productions mounted on Curtain Call’s own version of the Globe Theatre stage, designed by associate artistic director, Peter Barbieri, Jr.,

“It’s really a lovely, comfortable setting,” Ursone said. “When the sun goes down, you can see the sunset over the stage in the distance.”

Ursone said the free peformance — there are corporate sponsors and individual donors, although onsite donations of $20 adults and $10 children and seniors are welcomed — makes for an ideal night out, despite the play’s dark themes.

“It’s a great family event, even though it’s a heavy tragedy,” he said. “So feel free to bring families to introduce them to the joys of live theater if they’ve never been.”