By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Growing up on Long Island, Danielle Henrici said she knew she wanted to be an actor when she saw a performance of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)”.
“I loved it so much I went back and I saw it five more times,” she said, “including taking all my girlfriends back at my birthday party.”
Flash forward to a decade ago, Henrici — then known by her maiden name, Newell — had moved to Cooperstown and established The Glimmer Globe Theatre while working at The Smithy. She was teaching acting classes and had staged a Shakespeare workshop when a Cooperstown native with acting chops and training, Michael Henrici, signed up.
“Michael signed up for the Shakespeare workshop, not because he needed it, but because he wanted to meet me,” she said.
The rest was not just personal history, but dramatic history, too. Finding a local actor who already knew the Bard gave her confidence she could produce the show in Cooperstown, she said. The show became one of the first mainstage Glimmer Globe productions and it proved to be so popular, the company
brought it back for four more seasons.
“Who doesn’t love a show that makes you laugh until you cry,” she said.
Henrici directed that show, but she said she always wondered if she could play one of the characters, too.
Flash forward to the coronavirus pandemic era. As co-artistic directors of Glimmer Globe, now working with Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum, the Henricis have been the theater couple in
Cooperstown for a decade.
Their troop has grown into a community of friends who they have trained, directed and gathered several times of year for big-cast professional theater that doesn’t exist in many places. Since they are both classically trained, their productions are summer stock level shows, including summer performances at the Fenimore’s Lucy B. Hamilton Amphitheater.
Their family, likewise, has swelled, with the births of two dramatically named children, Dashiell, 5, and Vivienne Celeste, 2, who have each already made their stage debuts in the yearly performances of “A Christmas Carol.”
However, as all performers have, the Henricis and their troop have struggled with the shutdown, and they have relied on video performances and creative ingenuity to keep the community semi-engaged.
As the first half of 2021 brought vaccines and the possibility of a post-pandemic life, the performing arts world planned summer 2021 with an eye on COVID restrictions. A three-person play that harkened back to Glimmer Globe’s roots seemed perfect.
And what better time for a woman to go for it with alternative casting, too, Henrici said she asked herself.
“The thing is, it is Shakespeare,” she said. “It is not like it wasn’t done with men playing women for hundreds of years.”
“Having two actors under the same roof helped with the COVID protocol, too,” Michael said.
The play, written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, follows three actors in their quest to prove they can perform Shakespeare, crunching 37 plays, and many sonnets as well, into a play of less than two hours. It is considered a PG-13 show, with some crude Shakespearian humor for the groundlings.
The Henricis will be joined on stage by Jason Francey, a Utica College administrator with a degree in theater. They both said he is a discovery, albeit one typical of their time in Upstate theater, as they continue to find a world of locals who share their passions and match their skills on stage.
The original plan had been to stage the show on the Fenimore lawn, with special stage and lawn seating to allow social distancing. However, with COVID restrictions being lifted in July, the show will return to the amphitheater.
“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” debuts Wednesday, July 14, and runs through Wednesday, Aug. 18. Performances are 7 p.m., Wednesdays, Thursdays and select Fridays. Limited tickets are available at Eventbrite.com and must be reserved in advance.
Editor’s Note: Greg Klein has acted in several Glimmer Globe productions. He has cast the Henricis in the pilot he is filming this winter.