In the Spotlife: Lenne Klingaman of 'Hamlet'

Lenne Klingaman. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen

Lenne Klingaman played Juliet in the DCPA Theatre Company’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and two roles in the world premiere of the time-traveling ‘Appoggiatura.’ Now she is one of the few female actors to take on Hamlet, for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.

Hamlet in the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s ‘Hamlet,’ through Aug. 6. She also will be playing Hamlet in the upcoming Tom Stoppard play, ‘Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead.’

  • Hometown: Minneapolis
  • Home now: Brooklyn
  • College: BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz, MFA from the University of Washington
  • Lenne Klingaman What have you done for us lately? I played Sylvie and Young Helen in the DCPA Theatre Company’s Appoggiatura.
  • What’s next? I can’t tell you yet, but it is going to be FUN!
  • What’s your handle? @lenne03 on Instagram, @lennek on Twitter
  • Website:
  • Twitter-sized bio: Lenne Klingaman is a performer of stage/screen/mic and mirror. Onstage, she has built a plane, acted on trapeze, rope and silk – in a cape and high-heeled boots. Her album The Heart is the Hunter is on iTunes and Apple Music
  • The role that changed your life: Playing Juliet. Every time. She and Shakespeare were my first theatrical loves and playing her four different times over a span of 10 years  was the best acting lesson I could ever ask for. She taught me not to be precious, to keep asking questions, never give up, that there is always another way, and to always look for strength in characters, even when they’re at their weakest.
  • Harriet WalterIdeal scene partner: Mark Rylance. I want to know where those ideas come from. So perfectly simple and complex all at once. Or Harriet Walter. I am obsessed with her book Brutus and Other Heroines that my Hamlet director Carolyn Howarth lent me in preparing to play Hamlet. I just want to have wine with Walter after rehearsal to chat all things feminism in theater. She knows my soul. 
  • Our full interview with Lenne Klingaman on playing Hamlet

  • In short, what is Hamlet all about? Mortality and what we are put here on this planet to do. Fortune, and how you handle it.
  • Tell us about the challenge of playing a female Hamlet: I love my character with my whole heart. All the flaws, all the joy, all the wit, all the desire, all the intellect, all the heart, all the love. Love drives this human. Love for her father, for her family that’s been broken apart, for her mother, as conflicted as that is, for her friends … and so when they wrong her, the pit of despair and pain runs so deep, not much can stop her. The push and pull of this character is a fascinating thing to witness and enact. Her intellect, mixed with her deep drive to act, to do something, whether it be exacting revenge or finding out the truth, is luscious to sink my teeth into. Every night I am confronted by having to do Hamlet’s “Rogue and Peasant Slave” speech, followed immediately by “To Be or Not to Be.”  This juxtaposition is the very heart of the character. We could talk about placement of “To Be” for a while, but I will say the positioning of it at Act 3, Scene 1, out of all the three folio/quarto options, makes the most sense to me. I don’t think the speech is about killing oneself. It is about action. About what it means to truly live, which goes hand-in-hand with dying, the ultimate consequence of living.
  • More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • Lenne KlingamanWhat do you hope audiences get out of seeing your show? Oh, I hope people hear the text anew. That they fall in love with it in new ways. That they feel like a new and different life has been breathed into it – but was always there. I hope young girls see me sword fight, spit, kick things, love, swear, cry, and shout, and want to do all of that, too. (Maybe not the stabbing part.) I hope men see it and want to play Hamlet with some new ideas in mind. I hope people see a kingdom that is falling apart. Because ultimately, that is what Hamlet is fighting – corruption of the spirit, of the soul, of the kingdom. (And there is so much spying in this play. Everyone is a spy!)
  • What don’t we know about you? I love puzzles. I am currently obsessed with Two Dots and Sudoku. I also believe in past lives. (I am just going to leave that one hanging.) “Alexander returneth to dust. The dust is earth, of earth we make loam, and why of that loam, where to he was converted, might they not stop a beer barrel.” Exactly, Shakespeare. (Or maybe he was just encouraging us to recycle…?).
  • What do you want to get off your chest? I am thinking a lot about the human existence right now. (Can’t imagine why.) I think we are so busy defining and refining the divisions between us that we forget how powerfully unique each and every one of us is. If we stopped finding labels and parties to identify with, and rather spoke from our own experiences and our beliefs and our hearts, we might actually see that we are far more united than divided. We might finally accept the intense fluidity that comes with human existence. It is all about multiplicity, identifying it within our own self, and thus training our brains to comprehend it outside of us.
  • Read Lenne Klingaman’s interview in the New York Times

    Lenne Klingaman. Photo by Jennifer M. KoskinenAva Kostia as Laertes, left, duels to the death with Lenne Klingaman as Hamlet for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

    Hamlet: Ticket information

    • Written by William Shakespeare
    • Directed by Carolyn Howarth
    • Through Aug. 13
    • University Theatre, University of Colorado campus MAP IT
    • Tickets $23-$39
    • For tickets, call 303-492-8008 or go to
    • Note: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead plays July 21-Aug. 13

    Remaining Hamlet performance schedule:
    • Sunday, June 18, 6:30 p.m.
    • Friday, July 14, 7:30 p.m.
    • Sunday, July 23, 1 p.m.
    • Wednesday, July 26, 7:30 p.m.
    • Sunday, July 30, 1 p.m. 
    • Wednesday, Aug. 2, 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, Aug. 5., 7:30 p.m.
    • Sunday, July 6, 1 p.m.

    Cast list:

    Gary Wright: Claudius
    Michael Bouchard: Rosencrantz
    Kristofer Buxton: Osric/Tragedian
    Elise Collins: Fortinbras/Tragedian
    Sam Gregory: The Player/Ghost
    Lenne Klingaman: Hamlet
    Ava Kostia: Laertes
    Rodney Lizcano: Polonius/Gravedigger
    Jihad Milhem: Horatio
    Emelie O’Hara: Ophelia
    Sean Scrutchins: Guildenstern
    Cindy Spitko: Voltemand/Tragedian
    Austin Terrell: Cornelius/Tragedian
    Mare Trevathan: Gertrude
    Blake Williams: Marcellus/Tragedian Carolyn Howarth: Director
    Paul Behrhorst: Stage Manager
    Whitney Brady: Assistant Lighting and Scenic Designer
    Jason Ducat: Sound Designer
    Hugh Hanson: Costume Designer
    Stephen C. Jones: Scenic Designer, Lighting Designer
    Darion Ramos: Assistant Stage Manager

    More ‘In the Spotlife’ profiles:

    Meet Lauren Bahlman of Wide-Eyed West’s theMumblings
    Meet Jack Barton of BDT Stage’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    Meet the ensemble of Buntport Theater’s The Crud
    Meet Mark Collins of And Toto Too’s Lost Creatures
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks’ Constellations
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse’s God of Carnage
    Meet Kelsey Didion of Curious Theatre’s Constellations
    Meet Denise Freestone of OpenStage’s August: Osage County
    Meet Ethelyn Friend of ________________, An Opera
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center’s Tartuffe
    Meet Emily K. Harrison of She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange
    Meet John Hauser of Curious Theatre’s Hand to God
    Meet Tim Howard of Backstage Breckenridge’s The Producers
    Meet Haley Hunsaker of Funky Little Theatre Company’s Extremities
    Meet Jim Hunt of Buntport’s The Zeus Problem
    Meet Jeff Jesmer of Spotlight Theatre’s The Crucible
    Meet Wayne Kennedy of BDT Stage’s Mid-Life 2
    Meet Carla Kaiser Kotrc of Miners Alley Playhouse’s A Skull in Connemara
    Meet Heather Lacy of the Aurora Fox’s Priscilla Queen of the Desert
    Meet Seth Maisel of Town Hall Arts Center’s The Firestorm
    Meet Tim McCracken of Local Theatre’s The Firestorm
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