Additional casting has been announced for the critically heralded all-male Shakespeare’s Globe repertory productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III on Broadway this fall. The productions, which delighted audiences and broke all box office records in London’s West End earlier this year, will open Sunday, November 10 at the Belasco Theatre (111 West 44th Street), with previews beginning October 15.
Twelfth Night and Richard III, which are directed by Tim Carroll, designed by Jenny Tiramani and with music by Claire van Kampen, will play a limited engagement for 16 weeks.
Two-time Tony Award®-winner Mark Rylance (Jerusalem, Boeing-Boeing) stars as the suddenly love struck noblewoman Olivia in Twelfth Night and as the ruthless and conniving title monarch in Richard III. Twelfth Night and Richard III offer the first opportunity for Broadway audiences to see Mark Rylance performing Shakespeare, for which he has earned such accolades as “our greatest living actor” (The Independent) and “the most exciting stage actor of his generation” (The Times). From his early performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company to his 10 years as the first Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe (1995-2005), UK critics and audiences have celebrated Rylance for his fresh, hilarious and inventive performances in Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, Two Gentlemen of Verona and As You Like It, among others.
Much loved playwright, screenwriter, actor, writer, poet, journalist, comedian, television personality and national treasure Stephen Fry makes his Broadway acting debut as Malvolio in Twelfth Night. Tony Award®-nominee and Drama Desk Award-winner Samuel Barnett (The History Boys) appears as Viola in Twelfth Night and Queen Elizabeth in Richard III.
Joining Rylance, Fry and Barnett will be many members of the acclaimed Shakespeare’s Globe and West End casts, including Liam Brennan (Orsino in Twelfth Night and Clarence and Lord Mayor in Richard III), Paul Chahidi (a 2013 Olivier Award nominee for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Maria in Twelfth Night and Hastings and Tyrell in Richard III), John Paul Connolly (Antonio in Twelfth Night and 1st Murderer, Cardinal, Ratcliff and Halberdier in Richard III), Peter Hamilton Dyer (Feste in Twelfth Night and Brakenbury and Catesby in Richard III), Colin Hurley (Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night and King Edward IV and Stanley in Richard III) and Jethro Skinner (Fabian in Twelfth Night and 2nd Murderer, Messenger and Halberdier in Richard III). Angus Wright joins the Broadway company, returning to the role of Sir Andrew Aguecheek which he played in Shakespeare’s Globe’s earlier staging of Twelfth Night and as Duke of Buckingham in Richard III. Terry McGinty, another veteran of Shakespeare’s Globe’s earlier staging of Twelfth Night, also joins the Broadway company as the Sea Captain and Priest in Twelfth Night and Scrivener, Rivers and Blunt in Richard III. Additional casting will be announced soon.
The producers are pleased to announce that at every performance, 250 seats will be set aside to be sold for $25. These seats will include the balcony, as well as selected seats in the orchestra, mezzanine, boxes and Globe-style on-stage seating, bookable in advance. Over 20,000 $25 tickets will be made available throughout the run.
Twelfth Night and Richard III are both presented with an extraordinary all-male company playing both male and female roles, as the plays were originally staged in Shakespeare’s day. The productions are filled with music, played live by seven musicians on traditional Elizabethan instruments in a gallery above the stage, and are lit almost exclusively by the glow of 100 on-stage candles, adding to the intimate and authentic atmosphere. Entering the theatre, audiences will also witness the pre-show ritual of actors dressing and preparing their make-up on stage, adding to the unique and immersive theatrical experience.
“These productions show how laugh-out-loud funny, thrillingly theatrical and immediate Shakespeare plays can be,” the producers commented. “To see Mark Rylance, who is one of the world’s greatest, most accomplished and acclaimed stage actors, and the remarkable Shakespeare’s Globe company in these two uniquely staged extraordinary productions is an unforgettable experience. It is important to us that the opportunity is accessible to all audiences, across the house, so we are thrilled to be able to offer 250 seats at $25 for every performance, bookable in advance, throughout the engagement.”
The plays, which will mark the Broadway debut for London’s world-famous Shakespeare’s Globe, will be staged in repertory, with six performances of Twelfth Night and two performances of Richard III a week (post opening), with the opportunity to see the two productions in one day on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Outrageous high comedy ensues as the pangs of unrequited love affect the unforgettable characters of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. While the lovelorn Duke Orsino plots to win the heart of the mourning Olivia (Mark Rylance), an alliance of servants and hangers-on scheme against the high handedness of Olivia’s steward, the pompous Malvolio (Stephen Fry). When Orsino engages the cross-dressed Viola (Samuel Barnett), who has disguised herself as a young man under the name Cesario, to plead with Olivia on his behalf, a bittersweet and hilarious chain of events follows.
Richard Duke of Gloucester (Mark Rylance) is determined that he should wear the crown of England. He has already dispatched one king and that king’s son; now all that stands in his way are two credulous brothers and two helpless nephews – the Princes in the Tower. And woe betide those – the women he wrongs, the henchmen he betrays – who dare to raise a voice against him. Monstrous, but theatrically electric, Richard is Shakespeare’s most charismatic, self-delighting villain, reveling at every moment in his homicidal, hypocritical journey to absolute power.
Founded by the pioneering American actor and director Sam Wanamaker, Shakespeare’s Globe is a vibrant organization and reconstructed open-air theatre on the banks of the River Thames dedicated to the exploration of Shakespearean, Elizabethan, Jacobean, and contemporary theatre. Through an ambitious and lively theatre season, a dynamic and varied education program and a rich and interesting exhibition, the Globe has become a significant part of the national and international theatre landscape. Under the Globe’s first artistic director, Mark Rylance, and now its second, Dominic Dromgoole, the theatre has worked its way through Shakespeare’s canon, providing a huge wealth of insight into each play when it is produced afresh within the architecture for which Shakespeare originally wrote. The Globe has always been an international story, having been built by an American; welcoming international audiences into its oak embrace throughout its life and taking its work back out into the world including many theatre tours and workshops in the US. In January 2014, Shakespeare’s Globe will present the first season of plays in its newly constructed Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – a Jacobean archetype of an early indoor theatre, completely unique amongst London venues and enabling Shakespeare’s Globe to present theatre productions all year round.