Audience members and students at Interlochen Center for the Arts are excited to welcome back one of their own.
Their summer Shakespeare festival is in its second running week and one of their leads has come all the way from the Broadway stage.
Written in 1603, ‘Othello’ is the tragic Shakespearean tale of the Ottoman and Venetian war.
It’s a story that been told through film but is known for its stage adaptions.
Although, for Tony award winning performer, Sydney James Harcourt, ‘Othello’ is uncharted territory.
“I’ve not only never done a play, I’ve never done Shakespeare,” says Harcourt.
Harcourt is appearing as the title role in Interlochen Center for the Art’s Shakespeare Festival production of ‘Othello.’
But this interpretation takes a more casual approach.
“It is so wonderful to be able to say Shakespeare in a just conversational tone. I fetch my life and being from men of oil seeds and my marriage may speak on bonneted to such a proud fortune as this as I have reached,” Harcourt says. “I can make it sound like something not unattainable and so that’s what I think doing it in camo up here on a base level brings, you know, to the person experiencing Shakespeare maybe for the first time”
Harcourt is no stranger to Interlochen’s grounds, he studied on this very campus.
“I left here I was a classical voice major. I sort of felt like the training I had received here had really pushed me way up the professional like ladder already. And I kind of felt like, you know what? I need to be in New York. And so I left,” says Harcourt.
Since leaving, he’s gotten to work on countless tv shows and films, but is most known for his work on the Broadway stage.
Working on productions like ‘American Idiot’, ‘Lion King’, and most notably-as an original cast member of the show ‘Hamilton’.
Harcourt says, “You never know what show is gonna hit….So to have this come along, and feel like it just matched your skill set and your interests and then be so good. It creeps up on you. It’s still creeping up on me and I think everyone in the way that pieces of art that become like the fabric of being an American have the ability to do.”
Every day he’s witness to its impact.
“I was playing Aaron Burr. And had Somebody stop me, like across the street as I was like, getting to my apartment, and it was a father and he’s with this kid and he was like, Hey, I know you’re, you know, between shows or whatever, but I would be his favorite, you know, person in this show, and he just would really love to have your autograph,” says Harcourt. “Here’s this little white boy with blue eyes, who wants to talk to me and take a picture with me. He saw me and saw himself and that is the point. Like people, Americans seeing other Americans and seeing themselves we need more of that.”
His education and the roots that he’s laid down here in Interlochen have propelled him across the country to perform in so many impactful shows that have weaseled their way into the heart of theater lovers.
The best part of this is that he gets to perform right here on this stage.
Harcourt says, “There is no end of opportunities for me up here artistically. And, personally. So, and I’m also a guest artist, teaching at this school and working with people in this show. That I had coached and watched for the last four years. That is amazing for me. Like to I wish I had that when I was here. That was the thing that I thought was missing was where’s that voice to tell me what happens when I leave here?”
Now Harcourt is ready to watch his students take the reins.
“I’m with Interlochen for good. I thought those years of my life were over. I used to as an artist in New York look back and think Man, everyone art was just like, fun and beautiful and everyone was so excited and like there weren’t all these other things that would make it harder. And I got it back,” says Harcourt.
Interlochen’s production of Othello opened July 1st and audience members still have the chance to see Harcourt clad in camo this weekend, July 8th and 9th at 8 p.m.
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