A Shakespearean tale takes a novel twist in the classic work when actress Gigi Watson performs the title role in “Hamlet,” the final production of Gloucester Stage Company’s 40th anniversary season.

The play, which runs from Oct. 25 through Nov. 17, is directed by Christopher V. Edwards, artistic director of Actors’ Shakespeare Project. 

“Hamlet is a show about where we live with our personal moral compass. It lends itself to various types of people, ages of people, genders of people, races and cultures of people to look at the play through their own lens,” he said. “In the Gloucester Stage production, we will be looking at Hamlet as a woman, and we’re looking at how that changes the dynamics of the relationships between people.”

Edwards, also an actor, fight choreographer and educator, noted that this play has many layers.

“We’re interested in how young people today are dealing with this issue of feeling disenfranchised and not quite sure how they want to define themselves and how they want the world to define them and whether they want to be defined,” he said.

Hamlet’s story begins when she meets her father’s ghost, revealing that her uncle Claudius murdered her father and has taken her mother for his queen.

“Hamlet then begins her journey of revenge while struggling with self-doubt and facing challenges from all sides,” according to the synopsis.

The cast features Gloucester Stage newcomers Shawn K. Jain as Claudius, Charlotte Kinder as Ophelia, Olivia Miller as Gertude and Zachary Zamsky as Laertes, and a returning actor, Thomas Grenon as Polonius. 

Watson’s credits include plays at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, SpeakEasy Stage, Boston Playwrights Theatre, Brown Box Theatre Project, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Theater Company and ArtsEmerson/SITI Company. This winter, Watson will play Portia in “The Merchant of Venice” with Actors’ Shakespeare Project. Watson played the role of Ophelia in the Brown Box summer Shakespeare production of “Hamlet.” She also played Lady MacDuff in “Macbeth” and Kate in “The Taming of the Shrew” with Brown Box.

The pay-what-you-wish performance is Saturday, Oct. 26, at 2 p.m. The Cape Ann Nights discounts for residents are Friday, Oct. 25, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 27, at 2 p.m.  

For tickets and more information, visit www.gloucesterstage.com.

Teens to play in fall coffeehouse

Two Gloucester High School bands will perform at a Fall Coffeehouse on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of Gloucester High School at 32 Leslie O Johnson Road. 

The event features the Docksiders and the new Lab Ensemble, performing an array of music by Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, James Taylor, Gordon Goodwin and many others. 

Admission is $5. 

Locals’ heroism at sea remembered  

The Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library will host New York Times bestselling author Michael Tougias on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 2 to 4 p.m., when he presents the true story of Gloucester heroes during the Blizzard of 1978. 

He will give a narrated slide presentation about the pilot boat Can Do, with five men on board who set out from Gloucester to assist a Coast Guard vessel. The men faced 40-foot seas and winds blowing more than 100 mph. 

The author will incorporate samplings of the actual audio tapes, which span a 10-hour period during the men’s fight for survival. The award-winning book he wrote was titled “Tens Hours Until Dawn: A True Story of Heroism and Tragedy Aboard the Can Do.” 

This special event, at 2 Dale Ave. in Gloucester, is free. A book signing with the author will follow the presentation.

A middle reader adaptation of “Ten Hours” has been published by Henry Holt/MacMillan and is titled “Into the Blizzard.” Tougias also wrote “Overboard,” “Fatal Forecast,” “So Close To Home,” “A Storm Too Soon,” “Rescue of the Bounty” and “The Finest Hours,” which was made into a Disney movie. 

For more information, visit www.sawyerfreelibrary.org.

Launch of Musicians Unleashed series

After a successful series last season, Cape Ann Symphony once again presents its Musicians Unleashed series, which features concerts in intimate settings.

The first concert is Sunday, Oct. 27, at 2 p.m. at First Church of Ipswich, 1 Meetinghouse Green. Admission includes free cider and doughnuts to celebrate autumn.

The program includes works by Borodin, Dvorak, Ligeti and Tchaikovsky. Musicians scheduled to perform are violinists Susanne Powers and Oksana Gorokhovskiy, violist Anna Stromer, and cellist Dorothy Braker. 

These concerts are fundraisers, and musicians volunteer their time to perform. This season, there will be four concerts in small venues featuring Cape Ann Symphony musicians. Dates are Sunday, Jan. 19, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Gloucester; Sunday, Feb. 16, at Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport; and Sunday, April 26, at Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church.

Admission is $35 for adults and $15 for youths. For tickets and more information, visit www.capeannsymphony.org

Essex ClamFest shells out fun

The 37th Essex ClamFest takes place Saturday, Oct. 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Shepard Memorial Park, 24 Martin St., Essex.

The festival features a variety of activities, including maker and vendor booths, live entertainment, and food. The chowder-tasting competition is a main attraction.

For more information, visit www.visitessexma.com.

O’Carolan channeled in concert

Anglo-Celtic music with an “antique twist” comes to Annisquam Village Church, 820 Washington St., Gloucester, on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m., when the O’Carolan Etcetera Ensemble performs in concert.

The group brings to life the legacy of Turlough O’Carolan, a blind itinerant harper in the time of Bach. O’Carolan was known for collecting and performing beloved tunes from the Irish countryside. The trio combines this music with English dance tunes; Irish and Scottish airs, jigs and reels; and even French melodies on the medieval hurdy-gurdy.

The ensemble features Cindy McIntire on flute and hurdy-gurdy, Adrienne Howard on violin, and Dick Luecke on guitar. Kathleen Adams joins in with the church’s Adams harpsichord for this performance. 

The concert benefits the recently refurbished historic church, known for its resonant acoustics. A reception follows. Admission at the door is $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students, or order online through Brown Paper Tickets.

For more information, call 978-281-0376.

Book launch on Rocky Neck

Gloucester author Ramani Rangan will have a book launch party for “Gathering Moments in Time: Adventures of a Timeless Traveler” on Sunday, Oct. 27, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, 6 Wonson St., Gloucester.  

The book is described as a memoir of a British-born East Indian, spanning from 1941 war-torn London to current times. It includes tales of theater, travel, adventures and mystical experiences in Europe, the Caribbean, New Mexico and India. Ramani chronicles how he overcomes the obstacles of poverty, prejudice, violence and the loss of his sister at a young age. The book includes paintings by the author and artist. 

There will be a short multimedia presentation, book signing, refreshments and live music. Ramani will share reflections and encourage conversation.

For more information, visit www.rockyneckartcolony.org

Around Cape Ann is a column devoted to events happening on Cape Ann and artists from Cape Ann performing elsewhere. If you would like to submit an item, contact reporter Gail McCarthy at 978-675-2706 or gmccarthy@gloucestertimes.com, at least two weeks in advance.

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