Stage Writes

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The 19-Year Detour That Took Keegan-Michael Key from Comedy Central to 'Hamlet'

The actor-comedian, best-known for MADtv and Key & Peele, joins Oscar Isaac in the sold-out Public Theater production.

Keegan-Michael Key










Keegan-Michael Key (Marc J. Franklin)

Keegan-Michael Key is at last doing the one thing he’d always set out to do: Shakespeare. This summer, Key takes on the role of Horatio in Sam Gold’s anticipated vision for Hamlet at the Public Theater, starring Oscar Isaac in the title role. He serves as the devoutly loyal confidant to Shakespeare’s troubled prince—an unexpected pivot for an actor who has built a career on sketch comedy. (Key can also currently be seen on Season 3 of USA's Playing House.)

Except that 19 years ago, Key—who is one half of the popular Comedy Central series Key & Peele—was a young grad student with a “laser-focused” ambition: to perform the classics. “My plan was to do Shakespeare festivals for the rest of my life and work in regional theatres,” says Key. “I was 100 percent sure.”

Click here for the full article published on July 3, 2017 by Olivia Clement of