It isn't every day that Santino Fontana, a 2004 grad of the University of Minnesota–Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program, talks to a skull. But come spring, he’ll be doing just that, and more, as the youngest-ever Hamlet on the Guthrie Theater stage.
Fontana was selected for the role following auditions by more than 150 actors during a national search led by Guthrie Theater artistic director Joe Dowling.
“It is without question one of the pinnacle roles for an actor,” says Dowling . “I was determined to cast someone who could bring all the insecurities of youth to the role. At 23 years old, Santino will bring us a Hamlet for his generation.”
In the B.F.A. program, a partnership between the College of Liberal Arts and the Guthrie Theater, small companies of actors, selected in national auditions, follow a four-year core of intensive theatre courses taught within a CLA curriculum.
Fontana first appeared on the Guthrie stage (with classmate Leah Curney ’04) in Six Degrees of Separation. Following his graduation, he appeared in As You Like It, A Christmas Carol, and Death of a Salesman, which toured to the Dublin Theater Festival. He also has appeared in Love's Labors Lost and On the Verge at the Chautauqua Theater Company, and in La Traviata at Washington East Opera.
Acting is only one of his many talents. Santino recently served as assistant director for Dowling's production of His Girl Friday by John Guare, starring Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance. In 2000, he a was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, leading to a performance at the Kennedy Center. He also has composed original scores for five plays and was a recent guest soloist at Joe's Pub in New York. He was recognized at the National Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival as Outstanding Male Vocalist.