m a s t e r a r t s . o r g

William Shakespeare's HAMLET

Master Arts Theatre brings one of Shakespeare's most well known works to the stage.  Young prince Hamlet believes that his father, the King of Denmark, was killed and replaced by his uncle Claudius.  In order to discover the truth and avenge his father, Hamlet will feign madness, contemplate life and death, test his love and friendships and more.  

April 27 - May 6, 2023

Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:00 pm

Saturday afternoons at 2:00 pm

Director: Ang Schwartz

Assistant Director: Tyler Suttner

THE CAST (in alphabetical order)

Barnardo/Gravedigger's Companion . . . Kahrynn Aaliyah

Marcellus . . . Kelli Burns

Voltemand/Ambassador/Player Queen . . . Lisa Chevalia

Lucianus/Captain/Doctor . . . Wesley DeWind

Francisco/Player/Sailor/Soldier . . . MJ Farris

Queen Gertrude . . . Susie Finkbeiner

Horation . . . Miranda Hickman

Polonius . . . David Landrum

Reynaldo/Osric . . . Chiara Nicholas

Fortinbras/Cornelius/Player . . . Eric Ruano

Ghost/First Player . . . Steven Schwall

Gravedigger . . . Norm Scoles

Rosencrantz . . . Allison Tousley

Hamlet . . . Jon Wilson

Ophelia . . . Shaye Wilson

Laertes . . . Sam Wilson

King Claudius . . . Tim Van Bruggen

Guildenstern . . . Molly VanderWest

Stage Whispers


Kahrynn Aaliyah (Barnardo/Gravedigger's Assistant)

Kahrynn was last seen on stage here at Master Arts in THE CRUCIBLE and LIFE DERAILED. Kahrynn is Lansing born and currently based in West Michigan.  They have been acting non-stop for the past 14 years . . . it's safe to say they have a passion for the arts!  They would like to thank their friends who have helped them get to rehearsals and so much more.  "Enjoy the show!"

Kelli Burns (Marcellus)

Kelli has been serving in the Master Arts office as our Box Office & Production Coordinator for a little over a year.  Most recently, Kelli assistant directed A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and appeared on stage in GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER and LIFE DERAILED.   "Even if Shakespeare isn't your cup of tea, I hope you can enjoy this production.  Everyone has worked so hard on it."

Lisa Chevalia (Voltemand/Player Queen/Ambassador)

Lisa has done several shows with Master Arts, most recently appearing as Ann Putnam and Sarah Goode in THE CRUCIBLE and Lady Bramble in ENCHANTED APRIL.  She has also appeared on stage with Caledonia Community Players and Heritage Theatre.  She currently serves at treasurer on the MAT Board of Directors.  "Tell your friends and family to come to the show!  Hopefully we can put on more Shakespeare plays in the future! 🙂"

Wesley DeWind (Lucianus/Captain/Doctor)

This is Wesley's first time on the Master Arts stage, having previously played Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream and the Stage Manager in Our Town at Libertas Christian High School.  "Dream big! With commitment and endurance, the world has near endless possibilities."

MJ Farris (Francisco/Player/Sailor)

MJ got her start on the MAT stage with last summer's Youth production, THE MAGICIAN'S NEPHEW and has been involved with every production since in some capacity.  MJ has enjoyed being in this production and looking at the story of HAMLET through a different lens. "I can't really describe it, but this production has really changed my relationship with the Lord.  I think it's strengthened my relationship with Him, especially while facing misfortune at home.  Keep doing what you love! It's gotten me through so much, acting, because it's what I truly, truly love.  I just hope this tale of tragedy leaves you not with sorow, but something to reflect on.  Tragedy can strike anytime.  Combat it by doing what you love."

Susie Finkbeiner (Gertrude)

This is Susie's first time stepping onto the Master Arts stage, but has appeared in several productions in the past, including Fiddler on the Roof, Rodger and Hammerstein's Cinderella, The Sound of Music, Pirates of Penzance and many more. Susie is an author with several books through Baker Publishing. "Because I'm a super nerd (especially about all things Shakespeare), I've enjoyed the deep dive into characterization that the directors have encouraged.  This focus has given each scene complexity and nuance that I'm confident The Bard would be proud of.  I've also been stunned by the talent of my cast mates.  What a thrill to be among so many capable people!  But most of all, I've loved spending time with all of these wonderful people.  They have made me, a MAT first timer, feel so welcomed, so appreciated, and they have encouraged me at every turn.  I'm both grateful and delighted."  You can find out about Susie's books at www.susiefinkbeiner.com.

Miranda Hickman (Horatio)

This is Miranda's first appearance onstage at Master Arts after moving to the area last year, but has already made themselves a valuable volunteer behind the scenes helping with costumes, props and as an accompanist at our 2022 banquet.  Miranda appeared most recently with StageGR's production of Tarzan as Terk. "The Shakespeare! The treason! The drama! Not to mention the talent of this cast!  I'm overjoyed to be a part of it and am grateful for the incredible experience and opportunity."

David W. Landrum (Polonius)

This is David's first time onstage at MAT, but you may have seen him playing a variety of instruments for past musicals here!  David also wrote the book for the musical WHEN CALLS THE HEART that was performed here in 2019.  "I enjoy music, reading and scholarship.  I taught literature at Cornerstone University and Grand Valley State University for many years."

Chiara Nicholas (Osric)

This is Chiara's first appearance on the Master Arts stage, but hopefully not the last!  But Chiara is certainly not a stranger to performing, having appeared in productions of Anne of Green Gables, Moon Over Buffalo, Anything Goes and many more.  Chiara is an aspiring playwright and works at Digital Limelight Media.   "I haven't done theatre in several years and it's been a lot of fun getting back into it!  I'm a playwright and it really helps my creative process being involved on & off stage."

Eric Ruano (Fortinbras/Cornelius/Player)

Welcome, Eric, to the Master Arts Theatre stage!  While this is Eric's first MAT production, Grand Rapids audiences will recognize him from Tarzan and Honk! with Stage GR. He is the proud owner of a small business called Integrity Massage Therapy LLC, which provides at-home mobile massage therapy services in the Grand Rapids and surrounding area. Check out his website at integritymtllc.com. "Thank you to my wife Kayla for all her support throughout my time working on this production of Hamlet."

Norm Scoles (Gravedigger)

This is Norm's first time on the Master Arts stage, but has appeared in productions of Holy War as Lord Willbewill, Legacy of the Bats as the Professor, and Little House on the Prairie as Mr. Edwards. "I enjoy being in a play that has stood the test of time."

Steven Schwall (Ghost/First Player)

Steven last appeared onstage at Master Arts in THE MAN OF LA MANCHA, but has appeared in multiple shows at various theaters over the past 60 years.  Steven is a licensed stage combat and intimacy director, and has choreographed fights for several productions on stage and film, including this production and last seasons THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME.

Ang Schwartz (director)

Ang is thrilled to assist in bringing this unique production of Shakespeare’s HAMLET to the Grand Rapids area! They have worked onstage and behind the scenes in West Michigan over the last decade, expanding their talents in directing, costuming, hair & makeup design and acting. They have served as a production designer, hair & makeup designer and director on shows at Master Arts Theatre, and have served with Samber Productions and Homeschool Performing Arts. Ang’s favorite stage appearances include THE BEAMS ARE CREAKING, JOHN: HIS STORY and GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER at Master Arts, Singin' in the Rain with HPA Alumni, and Frederick with Samber Productions. Their other artistic endeavors have included performing with interactive traveling troupes and directing Youth Theatre at Master Arts, writing short stories and plays, and cosplay. Ang is passionate about exemplifying the Spirit of Jesus, social justice, and disability advocacy in the arts, and they will always be excited to discuss favorite musicals and characters with you!

Allison Tousley (Rosencrantz)

Allison has been seen most recently in The Rocky Horror Picture Show with Betka-Pope Productions, Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder with Caledonia Community Players, and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME here at Master Arts.  They have enjoyed returning to Shakespeare and finding the moments in a well known character to make their own. "This above all: to thine own self be true."

Tim Van Bruggen (Claudius)

Tim currently serves as the Executive Director of Master Arts.  As such, he has been involved in several productions both on and off stage.  He is a playwright, director, actor and voice artist.  Some of his favorite productions here at Master Arts have been directing LAST TRAIN TO NIBROC, writing and directing THE SINGER, and acting in FATHER BROWN, THE BEAMS ARE CREAKING, and COTTON PATCH GOSPEL.  He has also appeared on stage with Samber Productions, Heritage Theatre, Actors Theatre, Holland Civic Theater and many more.  Tim wishes to thank his friend Jon Wilson for casting the dream together for this show so many years ago, Ang Schwartz for allowing him to inhabit the role of Claudius for this production, members of Tim's Brain Trust (you know who you are!) for their prayers and support through the past few months, and the many family and friends who have contributed to my life and success through the years.  "I hope the spiritual struggle both Claudius and Hamlet go through is evident on stage.  But please know that Claudius gets it wrong . . . God always has enough mercy and grace for you, no matter what you've done or had to endure.  You can trust Him to love you and carry you through.  To all my creative friends . . . Let us be poets in perilous times!"

Molly VanderWest (Guildenstern)

Molly is a familiar face to audiences here at Master Arts and on various stages around the Grand Rapids area, having performed at Shadblow Theatre, Caledonia Community Players, University Wits, StageGR and here.  She has enjoyed being able to work on a production with her mom, Kiersten.  "The cast and crew has worked so hard to bring you a unique production of this classic show and to make it understandable for everyone.  I think everyone should have the chance to fully appreciate and enjoy Shakespeare.  Hopefully, you think we've succeeded! 🙂"

Jon Wilson (Hamlet)

Jon has been a regular fixture, both onstage and off, here at Master Arts for more than 7 years, appearing as Quasimodo in THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, Jesus in COTTON PATCH GOSPEL, The Madman in THE SINGER and many more.  He has enjoyed the opportunity to play this legendary and great role from one of the greatest writers of all time, and play some incredible scenes with his wife, brother and great good friends. "I hope that amidst the intrigue, angst, and melodrama, you can identify and recognize this portrait of broken, hurting humans, but also see how even in the most evil of circumstances, God's grace shines through and covers every sin.  No matter how black the situation, He is always in control. Soli Deo Gloria."

Sam Wilson (Laertes)

Sam was most recently seen in OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME here at Master Arts, but he has also appeared on many other stages through the Grand Rapids area.  He has enjoyed getting the chance to act with so many of his closest friends in such weighty scenes in this production. "The ducks at the park are free, you can just take one and no one will stop you."

Shaye Wilson (Ophelia)

Shaye has been seen onstage at Master Arts in THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and THE SINGER, and during her high school years with Homeschool Performing Arts.  Her first book of poetry, 'Me and God Locked in a Room and Only One of Us has the Key,' was published in 2022. "One of the most heartbreaking things about the tragedy of Hamlet is that so much of the pain experienced by the characters was completely avoidable.  If only Claudius hadn't given in to his worst desires, of only Hamlet hadn't answered the cry of fate, the death and madness that plagues Elsinore would not have happened.  We can call this a sad story, or we can recognize that this is also the world we live in, and each of us has a choice to give up our desires and cry out to something greater than fate. I hope you enjoy our production of this honest story!"

The Music                    


Listen to the Pre-show and Intermission music with playlists on Apple Music and Spotify!


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