"O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention;
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene."
The Life of Henry V (1.1-4)
by Wm Shakespeare
My first real recollection of seeing a stage production is that of the late Edward Earle playing Wm Shakespeare's Hamlet at the Bucks County Playhouse in 1969. An eighth grade class field trip from the parochial school across the river in Lambertville, New Jersey had taken me to the Playhouse that afternoon. I remember sitting in that darkened theater during the matinee performance. The picture in my mind's eye is of Mr. Earle reclining against a low stool downstage right - alone - dressed completely in black - in his best Barrymore-esque pose. I've wanted to act in Shakespeare ever since.
It's been my great honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to portray some of the great Shakespearean roles with some very fine acting companies in this region.
I'd be remiss if I didn't thank several people who have been critical to my success in pursuit of opportunities to act in Shakespeare's dramatic works. First, to Frank Erath of Shakespeare`70, who picked me out of an audition call in 1990 to perform in my first theatrical production since high school and whose support over the years has enabled me to get an annual dose of Shakespeare "on the boards", whether those boards be under the stars or safe from the slings and arrows of outrageous weather. Secondly to Cheryl Doyle, who saw in me the potential to handle "the Bard's biggies", and whose insight, trust, guidance and openness has allowed me to perform in a dream list of Shakespearean classics. And finally, to my beautiful wife and the co-star of many of my favorite shows, Carol Thompson. Without her intelligence, wit, trust and love both onstage and off, my many on-stage accomplishments would not have been possible.
George Hartpence as Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice"