New York | 3h 20m | Already closed

Hamlet (Classic Stage Company)

From 9 critic and 121 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Clever, Ambitious, Entertaining

About the show

Peter Sarsgaard stars in a Classic Stage Company production that explores one of William Shakespeare's most profound works. More…

"To be, or not to be? That is the question." Generation after generation of great actors have gone on to give their own unique and personal answer to Hamlet's most famous query. Actor Peter Sarsgaard reunites with director Austin Pendleton for a new contemporary take on this timeless classic.

3h 20m | Already closed | Classic Stage Company (East Village)

Theatre Reviews Limited

"Classic Stage Company’s “Hamlet” might just be the definitive “Hamlet” for the twenty-first century. Staged with shimmering creativity, the iconic Shakespearian tragedy bristles with a contemporary edge firmly rooted in tradition...under Austin Pendleton’s transformative direction, it transcends Elizabethan revenge tragedy and with surgical precision cuts deeply into Hamlet’s ennui and his alienation from life. This is a “Hamlet” not to be missed." Full Review


"Excellent new production...Clarity reigns in this simple and effective staging. This is by no means an action-packed "Hamlet." A general lethargy pervades, but it is never boring. In fact, we can't look away. This is a testament to Pendleton's surefooted vision of a house on the brink of demise.". Full Review


"An atmosphere of fearlessness hangs over the new production of Shakespeare’s "Hamlet" at Classic Stage Company. Star Peter Sarsgaard and director Austin Pendleton take a naturalistic approach that proves a good fit for the relatively loose, sometimes almost improvisatory flavor of the play...I had to think about it for a while. I’ve decided it worked." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"There is a new Hamlet in town, and Peter Sarsgaard has his back, giving this poetic youth of the ages a crisp, nuanced, and strikingly modern voice. This Hamlet is fresh faced...His iambic pentameter is a bit splayed out like a chicken born with legs akimbo, but it works, making Hamlet familiar, not so foreign, not so distant and entirely digestible...go see it, because of its very modern take and accessibility. And because Peter Sarsgaard's unique Hamlet is one you won't want to miss." Full Review

The New York Times

"The concept behind this stylish-looking modern-dress production directed by Austin Pendleton essentially presents the action as a long dramatic hangover after the wedding celebrations for Claudius and Gertrude...Unfortunately, by the end of this respectable but sluggish production, which runs over three hours, you may feel as you do after attending one of those overblown weddings that seem to go on for days, and sometimes do. In other words, dazed and ready for bed." Full Review

New York Post

"The least you can say about Peter Sarsgaard’s performance as Shakespeare’s vengeful prince is that it’s fully committed — in every sense of the word. The Hamlet he portrays in Austin Pendleton’s modern-dress production isn’t so much melancholy as mentally unbalanced and likely delusional...he projects a fretful, anxious energy — Hamlet’s coke habit probably doesn’t help...But the show as a whole is less coherent than Sarsgaard’s interpretation, and deflates when he’s offstage." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"Now, at last, a Hamlet for our own era: emoji Hamlet...Peter Sarsgaard’s dynamic, but ultimately wearying Dane never met a state of mind he couldn’t adopt and then abandon. His prince is sad and happy, sane and crazy...Everyone knows Hamlet by now, which is lucky, as it would be very difficult to parse if you didn’t come in with some sense of the plot...Even amid the swordfights and the poisonings and martial conquest, something was tiresome in the state of Denmark." Full Review

New York Daily News

"Something’s rotten in Denmark — and it’s the Classic Stage Company’s anemic and dour version of “Hamlet.”...The acting throughout is as pale and monochromatic as the white floral canopy hovering over guests...Polonius is overdressed and bored in a morning coat, as though he was expecting a snazzier affair. Audiences at “Hamlet” will relate." Full Review


"The less said about this current production of Hamlet, the better...Sarsgaard, whether by his own purpose or pushed by the director, plays Hamlet as dim of wit and halting of speech. There’s no depth of feeling between him and Horatio, let alone his mom or Ophelia. It’s all so languorous and sloppy that by the time the stage is littered with bodies — silence, finally! — we can only welcome Fortinbras with a quick salute — and a quicker exit." Full Review

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Absorbing, Delightful

See it if you want to see strong performances by the entire cast.

Don't see it if you don't want to see an abridged version of Hamlet.

Absorbing, Resonant, Riveting, Masterful, Intelligent

See it if you dig Shakespeare. It is his seminal piece of literature and worth seeing just for the "To be or not to be" monologue.

Don't see it if If you don't understand Shakespeare. If you get confused or focused on the language used you should try it anyway though.

Clever, Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if See at the Globe in London; by far the best of the bard. Hamlet is such an intriguing character, literally took my breath away

Don't see it if At least try it out once. Shakespearean speech might not be your "thing" but Hamlet certainly will be!

Great acting, Epic, Great writing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you've never seen Hamlet.

Don't see it if you're not a fan of Shakespeare.

Confusing, Epic, Intense, Profound, Ambitious

See it if you like shakespeare and great actors

Don't see it if you don't dig the bard

Ambitious, Dizzying, Edgy, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see a strong directorial vision applied to "Hamlet" or you wish to see a tour de force performance by Oscar Isaac as the Dane.

Don't see it if You don't like to see a director mess with Hamlet as typically staged.

Ambitious, Slow, Confusing

See it if you love Hamlet and want to see an interesting (yet slightly confusing) modernized staging in an intimate space.

Don't see it if you have high hopes for Hamlet (the character) as this one does not live up to expectations.

Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating, Insipid, Slow

See it if Don't see it. It was one of the worst Hamlets I've ever seen.

Don't see it if You like Shakespeare. It was slow and didn't do justice...

Thought-provoking, Profound, Must see, Masterful, Entertaining

See it if You like to see true artistry.

Don't see it if You don't understand art.

Profound, Dramatic, Raw, Human, Intense

See it if If you love to experience real theatre and the feeling of it, find a good production of Hamlet. It is one of Shakespeare's finest.

Don't see it if If you like uplifting, melodramatic, and cheery shows, this is not your "scene".

Absorbing, Clever, Excruciating, Great staging, Great writing

See it if You can see it to OSF with the modern interpretation

Don't see it if You don't like Shakespeare

Must see, Masterful, Intelligent, Riveting

See it if you've read the play and you love Shakespeare!

Don't see it if you do not enjoy Shakespeare

Thought-provoking, Resonant, Must see, Great writing

See it if See it no matter what

Don't see it if Doesn't matter

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Intense

See it if Everyone sshould see the version with Benedict Cumberbatch. He is an incredible actor and the set is gorgeous.

Don't see it if Really, even if you don't like Shakespeare you'll like it.

Epic, Riveting, Romantic, Masterful, Intense

See it if Shakespeare's greatest masterpiece is a must see for anyone that has ever loved to be in a packed theatre.

Don't see it if Don't see it if you have low patience. This show is sometimes four hours long depending on how edited the script is.

Great writing, Great acting, Epic

See it if always see Hamlet!

Don't see it if If you have seen it like, 16 times, you are exempt.

Clever, Profound, Thought-provoking, Intense, Intelligent

See it if You know what it feels like to be lost and morally disoriented in a superficial world.

Don't see it if Shakespeare isn't your thing.


See it if you love Shakespeare

Don't see it if you don't

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound

See it if Loved

Don't see it if You can't listen.

Ambitious, Great acting, Exquisite, Must see

See it if HAMLET at the Barbican (soon showing on film in theaters) was exquisite. See it if you appreciate fine acting, stunning sets, and excellence

Don't see it if You don't like Shakespeare.

Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Masterful, Must see

See it if Like Benedict Cumberbatch

Don't see it if Not a fun of Shakespearean works

Absorbing, Original, Must see, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You love Benedict Cumberbatch and Shakespeare

Don't see it if Modern interpretations

Absorbing, Epic, Great acting, Masterful, Resonant

See it if you have read hamlet, if you're going through a troubling time, if you love the idea of revenge and sin.

Don't see it if you hate long plays, you have trouble paying attention, you can't keep up with shakespeare.

Absorbing, Great acting, Exquisite

See it if Uniquely engaging theatre!

Don't see it if You don't want to be artistically challenged; you hate Shakespeare1

Absorbing, Slow, Intelligent, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if You like Shakespeare's work, especially his best writings.

Don't see it if You are not a fan of Shakespeare.