Stargazing

Kevin Spacey slips into KC to see Nathan Darrow in Shakespeare festival’s ‘Hamlet’

Shakespeare fans had no idea the president of the United States was in Southmoreland Park on Saturday night. Kevin Spacey, who plays the president on “House of Cards,” came to town to see his friend Nathan Darrow in “Hamlet.”
Shakespeare fans had no idea the president of the United States was in Southmoreland Park on Saturday night. Kevin Spacey, who plays the president on “House of Cards,” came to town to see his friend Nathan Darrow in “Hamlet.” AP file photo

The “president of the United States” slipped into town over the weekend to see “Hamlet” at Southmoreland Park.

Patrons of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival were shocked to learn – after the fact – that actor Kevin Spacey was in the audience at the Saturday night performance of “Hamlet.”

Spacey spilled the beans with a tweet on Monday.

“A beautiful performance of Hamlet Sat. night! Happy I got to see my good friend Nathan Darrow perform live!” he tweeted.

He added the link to the festival’s website for “tickets,” but performances are free.

Spacey portrays nefarious President Frank Underwood on the Netflix hit show “House of Cards.” Darrow, a Kansas City native, played the president’s loyal bodyguard Meechum.

Only a handful of people knew Spacey was coming to town.

Darrow, it turns out, wasn’t one of them. Spacey’s attendance was a surprise to Darrow, too, said Sidonie Garrett, the festival’s executive artistic director.

“Nathan did not know he was coming,” Garrett said Tuesday.

She said she had just a few days’ notice that Spacey, who had just hosted the Tony Awards the weekend before on June 11, was coming to Kansas City.

She called it a “great thrill” to have him there, describing the fellow thespian as warm and kind, “just as you would want anyone you have respect for ... to be.”

And wouldn’t you know? The show had to be stopped at intermission because of storms.

The festival posted a thank-you to Spacey on its Facebook page Monday after his tweet.

Shakespeare fans were disappointed that Spacey came and went largely undetected, like A-listers often do.

But luckier folks saw Spacey, also a jazz fan and singer, later Saturday night at the Green Lady Lounge on Grand Boulevard.

The dark, intimate setting of the jazz club made it easy for Spacey to enjoy the Stephen Martin Quartet largely unnoticed.

To be seen, or not to be seen? Guess we know the answer to that.

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