Rich Howells

NEPA SCENE PODCAST: Recreating Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ with the New Vintage Ensemble

NEPA SCENE PODCAST: Recreating Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ with the New Vintage Ensemble
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Professionally recorded every Monday at The Stude in TwentyFiveEight Studios in Scranton and released exclusively on every Tuesday, the NEPA Scene Podcast is a free supplement to the website, expanding on the arts and entertainment stories covered on the site and going beyond them to discuss other news and entertainment topics.

Each week, the unedited and uncensored podcast features Rich Howells, NEPA Scene founder and editor; Mark Dennebaum, president and owner of TwentyFiveEight Studios; and Lauren Quirolgico, commercial and content strategist at Lavelle Strategy Group and editor at TwentyFiveEight. Every episode streams on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and

In Episode 45, to be, or not to be, is not the question, but we have plenty of other queries for the New Vintage Ensemble! The Scranton theatre group is putting on William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” at the Scranton Cultural Center Jan. 8-16, so we chat with director Casey Thomas and supervising producer and ensemble actress Mandy Pennington about how and why they got involved with this production; rewriting and modernizing the script; finding a good skull; casting and why the actors were chosen for their respective roles, including Conor O’Brien as Hamlet; the challenges of introducing Shakespeare to some and recreating his work in a fresh way for others; the striking promotional images for the show; working with the SCC and union members; how they first caught the acting bug; making movies with big stars in California; learning to love and appreciate Shakespeare; and how “Last Action Hero” relates to all this.

In The Last Word segment, we talk about the Weekender, a local arts and entertainment publication that created a social media firestorm and made local and national news for insulting military veterans with an unfunny and poorly written article that should never have been published. We discuss how their downward spiral of empty shock value and clickbait content over the last year and a half has led to this point and give them some advice to get back on track.

“Hamlet” runs Friday, Jan. 8 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 9 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Jan. 16 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Shopland Hall at the Scranton Cultural Center (420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton). Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the Fidelity Bank Box Office at the Scranton Cultural Center in person, by calling 570-344-1111, or via all applicable Ticketmaster outlets, including

Read more about the show here.

Listen on iTunes.

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Listen on Stitcher.

Watch the first 72 minutes of the show on YouTube:

And just for fun, here’s a few minutes of banter about hurdy-gurdies before the show gets going:

Photo by Mark Dennebaum/TwentyFiveEight Studios