Actors' Theatre of Columbus will kick off its 33rd season with a classic Shakespeare production followed by its annual tent dinner.
The German Village-based troupe will perform Hamlet at 8 p.m. May 22 in the Schiller Park amphitheater.
It will be performed Thursdays through Sundays through June 22.
It marks a special milestone for artistic director John S. Kuhn, who, when he was hired into his current position 11 years ago, directed Hamlet for the first time for Actors' Theatre.
He will co-direct the current production with Nick Baldasare, who at the time was a member of the cast.
Because Hamlet has some many facets, it appeals to a wide swath of people, Kuhn said.
"I think part of it is that it has universal themes," he said.
"It deals with revenge. It deals with loss.
"And, so the nature of those things is very accessible, very universal, understandable," Kuhn said.
"And the way it plays out the story has fun, exciting moments."
All shows at the amphitheater will be held at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays and are free and open to the public.
The theater company's annual fundraiser, the tent dinner, will be held May 23 at the amphitheater.
In previous years it was held on opening night, but patrons said they'd prefer it be moved to the Friday after the first show, Kuhn said.
Tickets are $75 each and are available through theactorstheatre.org/2014-tent-dinner.
With the theme The Play's the Thing, the evening will include dinner catered by the Explorers Club and acting scenes from Repartee, a group associated with Actors Theatre.
Jill D'Antignac, director of development for Actors' Theatre, said the goal is to attract 150 people to the dinner.
"It's unique," she said. "And they're looking for something that puts a different bend on things.
"That's what I want people to understand: It's a major fundraiser, but we try to make it a really fun experience for everybody."
Hamlet will be followed by the Barber of Seville, to be performed June 26-July 27 in the park.
Another Shakespeare play, the Merry Wives of Windsor, slated for July 31-Aug.21, will round out the season on the amphitheater stage.
The troupe will remain busy this year, with performances planned at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays June 6-28 at Easton Town Center and the Hound of Baskervilles at 7:30 p.m. Fridays through Sundays Sept. 5-14 on the Columbus Commons downtown.
"We're trying to get out and reach as many people as possible," Kuhn said.
He said fans of all types should enjoy the season's diverse repertoire.
"We're always looking for a wide range of themes," he said.
"We've got tragedies. We've got some really fine comedies," Kuhn said.
'So we're just looking for something for everybody."