Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

By Tom Stoppard

Directed by David M. Jenkins

Sep. 13 – Oct 8, 2023

Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center for the Performing Arts

Single tickets start at $40.

Preview tickets start at $25.

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Curtain Time Changes

All evening performances are now at 7:30pm and matinees are at 2pm.


BroadwayWorld Nominated

Creative Loafing

Jobsite Jobby

What It's About

The world’s funniest play about the greatest play ever written!

Before winning an Oscar as a writer of Shakespeare in Love, Tom Stoppard delivered another ingenious comic retelling involving the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon. In 1967 he dove into the world’s most famous play, Hamlet, and hilariously retold it from the point of view of two bumbling support players. The entire world is a stage, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern play their part, finding themselves unwitting pawns in history’s greatest tragedy.

A bonus for Tampa Bay area theater fans: this production uses the cast of our record-destroying production of Hamlet to give a fresh perspective on this comic masterpiece!

This contemporary classic of the theater was the winner of both the Tony and NY Drama Critics Circle awards when it premiered. Simply: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are the college chums of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and this is the story of what “really” happened behind the scenes. What were they doing there in Elsinore anyway? The Players come and go; Hamlet comes through reading words, words, words; foul deeds are done; Hamlet is sent abroad, escapes death; and in turn Rosencrantz and Guildenstern find their only true exit.

(L-R) Katherine Yacko and Nicole Jeannine Smith in Jobsite's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. (Photo: Stage Photography of Tampa (SPOT))
(L-R) Katherine Yacko and Nicole Jeannine Smith in Jobsite's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. (Photo: Stage Photography of Tampa (SPOT))
(L-R) Katherine Yacko, Jack Holloway and Nicole Jeannine Smith in Jobsite's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. (Photo: James Zambon Photography)
(L-R) Katherine Yacko, Jack Holloway and Nicole Jeannine Smith in Jobsite's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. (Photo: James Zambon Photography)

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead has also drawn many parallels to another play – Samuel Beckett’s absurdist Waiting for Godot, particularly in the main characters’ feelings of lack of purpose and incomprehension of their situation.

In 1991, the play was turned into a film featuring Tim Roth and Gary Oldman as the title characters and Richard Dreyfuss as the Lead Player. The film won a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

Stoppard says of his play that “Quite a lot of solemn and scholarly stuff has been written about it…” but insists, “…whatever else it is, is a comedy. My intention was comic, and if the play had not turned out funny I would have considered that I had failed.”

This is a most remarkable and thrilling play. In one bound Mr. Stoppard is asking to be considered as among the finest English-speaking writers of our stage, for this is a work of fascinating distinction. – New York Times

This captivating blend of solemn soul-searching and slapstick comedy results in a night that spans the spectrum of human emotion, keeping the audience laughing throughout much of the play. – Washington Post

About The Playwright

Tom Stoppard is the author of over two dozen plays and numerous screenplays. Stoppard is considered to be a master of comic invention, visual humor, and remarkably witty wordplay. He uses his considerable skills to investigate philosophical questions in an extremely entertaining manner. In 2007 Stoppard won a Tony Award for his play Coast of Utopia and was also knighted in his home of England.

(L-R) David M. Jenkins and Shawn Paonessa in Jobsite's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. (Photo: Brian Smallheer.)

Production History

Jobsite first produced Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, directed by Katrina Stevenson, Apr. 3 – 27, 2008, when it earned Creative Loafing awards for Best Play of the Bay, a 2008 Top 10 Production and Top 10 Plays of the Decade.

Critic Reviews

dizzying linguistic pyrotechnics ... a vaudeville, with lots of broad physical humor which the accomplished cast carries off with aplomb. The packed audience eats [it] up … – Creative Loafing

some of the finest performers in the Bay area … David M. Jenkins has done it again, by producing yet another run away hit. Always on the cutting edge of live theater, Jobsite proves yet again why people come out in droves to follow their performances season after season … Jobsite opens their 25th Anniversary Season with a show-stopping bang! – BroadwayWorld

They’re Laurel and Hardy in Waiting For Godot ... Stoppard is adamant that he wrote R&G Are Dead as a comedy, and while it’s rich with pseudo-existential conversation, in the end that’s a bunch of sound and fury ... but there is a point to it all. – St. Pete Catalyst

2008 Critic Reviews

The current Jobsite production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is the best version of the play I've ever seen ... every problem the play has is brilliantly solved by director Katrina Stevenson and her four main actors... – Creative Loafing

Stoppard's existential play... needs a steady hand to ground it long enough for audiences to enjoy the frivolity, and Jobsite's cast and crew did just that. – Tampa Tribune

It's fun, fast-paced and relentlessly clever ... Jenkins and Paonessa [have] never been better than they are here under Katrina Stevenson's direction ... If their performances weren't so strong, Paul J. Potenza might steal the show with his manic and crusty turn as the Player... – St. Petersburg Times


Cast & Crew

  • David M. Jenkins – Director


  • Ned Averill-Snell – Claudius / Tragedian
  • Giles Davies – Hamlet / Tragedian
  • Roxanne Fay – Gertrude/Alfred
  • Jack Holloway – The Player
  • Katrina Stevenson – Ophelia / Horatio
  • Nicole Jeannine Smith – Guildenstern
  • Hugh Timoney – Polonius / Tragedian
  • Katherine Yacko – Rosencrantz

2008 Cast & Crew

  • Katrina Stevenson – Director
  • Jennifer Longmuir – Stage Manager


  • Jason Evans – Polonius / Tragedian
  • Jaime Giangrande-Holcom – Ophelia / Horatio
  • Kari Goetz – Gertrude / Alfred
  • David M. Jenkins – Rosencrantz
  • Matt Lunsford – Hamlet / Tragedian
  • Michael C. McGreevy – Claudius / Tragedian
  • Shawn Paonessa – Guildenstern
  • Paul J. Potenza – The Player


  • Karla Hartley – Lighting Designer
  • Spencer Meyers – Costume Designer
  • Brian M. Smallheer – Scenic Designer

Patron Reviews

an exceptional show – Chris W.

Excellent acting as we’ve come to expect and enjoy! – Peter Terzian

[There are] poignant parts and several laugh-out-loud moments … The cast pulled off a balancing act in switching between silliness and intensity, and I was quite impressed by everyone’s performances … This is definitely one of the best theatre groups in the Tampa Bay area and anytime they have a production it’s sure to be good. – Laura E.

Great performance this afternoon! – @grammybja

2008 Patron Reviews

Stellar cast. Amazing script. Congratulations, Katrina. This is a hit! – David Valdez

I think all involved should be very proud and pleased with this production. I saw R & G on the same stage waaaaaay back in the days of B.O.B. (theatrical palindrome), which is when I first fell for the show, and this production has only served to deepen my love affair. Beautiful set, Brian, beautifully lit, Karla (my original tragedian), and all actors beautifully garbed, Spencer. Kudos to all cast members who commit so fully and intelligently and often ridiculously (Matt, I’m talking to you) to this language-dense piece of modern theatre poetry. Katrina and crew, thanks for bringing a favorite to the stage and serving it well done. – Leah LoSchiavo

The actors’ superb timing makes this play soar! David and Shawn have an incredible nuanced partnership. Paul’s marching music has got to be one of the most intriguing choices I’ve seen. Go see this play for the acting and maybe walk away with some philosophy under your belt. – Chris R.

[David] and Shawn have an excellent dynamic. The whole show is very well done. I admit I particularly enjoyed watching Lunsford clucking like a chicken and sniffing and licking the set. What a visual paradox! I am sure you will have a great run! Congratulations! – Emilia Sargent

Great job! I can’t remember what I had for breakfast. What a gift you have to remember that much dialog and keep that repartee going … A friend thought you deserved a standing ovation, which didn’t happen. You guys to need to take an encore curtain call, I think. – Deborah Kobritz

Very classy production of a sophisticated play. Clever, funny, thoughtful. Thank you for bringing Stoppard to town. Do it again. – Susan O.

(L-R) Katherine Yacko, Jack Holloway and Nicole Jeannine Smith in Jobsite's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. (Photo: Stage Photography of Tampa (SPOT))

Curtain Time Changes!

All evening performances are now at 7:30pm and matinees are at 2pm.

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