JERUSALEM (BROADWAY)

THE NEW YORK TIMES, Ben Brantley:

“A PERFORMANCE FOR THE AGES! We theatergoers are starved for a sense of the mythic, for performances we can talk about with glassy-eyed rapture in the years to come. Butterworth, Rickson and Rylance have provided us with that opportunity. Except in this case the mythic is no mere myth. JERUSALEM IS MAGNIFICENT! Rylance’s seismic performance threatens to level the Music Box Theater. Rylance captures to a degree I imagine no other contemporary actor can Johnny’s vast, vital, Falstaffian appetite for pleasure, for independence, for life itself. Jerusalem is a great frame-busting play.”

“One of the indispensable things that art does is find grandeur in unexpected places. Shakespeare saw it in a fat, craven gourmand named Falstaff; Butterworth and Rylance have located it in another hedonist and fabulist. One of the last of the titans, a man who taps our lust for life lived large and excessively, without social restraints. He incarnates the spirit of a mythic England that may never have been but that everyone, on some level, longs for.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES, Charles Isherwood:

“Mark Rylance has had an extraordinary season on Broadway. His performance in JERUSALEM is AMAZING. He is this larger-than-life Falstaffian figure who really dominates the stage. YOU SHOULD NOT MISS JERUSALEM, IT’S THAT SPECIAL OF A PERFORMANCE!”

THE NEW YORK TIMES, Patrick Healy

Mark Rylance “is the tragically Falstaffian heart of Mr. Butterworth’s three-hour elegy to old England...His work in “Jerusalem” was praised with virtually every superlative imaginable by theater critics in London, where Mr. Rylance, at 51, is frequently described as the best stage actor of his generation.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Mark Kennedy:

“Mark Rylance triumphs again on Broadway...Played by an utterly riveting Mark Rylance, Byron is that nonconformist weirdo out on the edge of town who seems to lure disaffected young people with all-night raves, booze and crazy stories.”

THE DAILY NEWS, Joe Dziemianowicz

“English dramatist Jez Butterworth cannily borrows the name "Jerusalem" for the sprawling and mostly engaging drama that opened last night, his Broadway debut. The hero — make that antihero — Johnny (Rooster) Byron, is a rural renegade and drug dealer who's facing his own extinction. He's played by an outstanding Mark Rylance, who carries the show on his broad shoulders. Butterworth has an expert ally in director Ian Rickson, who staged the play at its 2009 premiere at London's Royal Court. The production at the Music Box is bold and high-spirited and boasts terrific acting. The evocative leafy set comes complete with live chickens, a turtle and a sad little goldfish.”

NEW YORK POST, Elisabeth Vincentelli

“Before the show even opened on Broadway last night, Mark Rylance's performance in "Jerusalem" was generating a big buzz. We've come to expect greatness from this actor -- he was superlative in "Boeing-Boeing" and "La Bete" -- and once again he delivers. But then, the role of Johnny "Rooster" Byron calls for big guns. Rooster was engineered to generate glowing reviews and award nominations. There's no denying the writing's lyrical power, and Ian Rickson's London production -- now mixing a few American actors with the British ones -- has a punch-in-the-gut virtuosity.”

THE HUFFINGTON POST, Michael Giltz 

“Is there a better, more versatile stage actor alive than Mark Rylance? Comedy, drama, tragedy -- he handles it all with aplomb, often in the same breath. Jez Butterworth's new drama Jerusalem gives Rylance a number of hilarious, gripping monologues and he makes the most of them, beguiling and charming and dazzling us with Falstaffian ease. You wouldn't want to miss Rylance in anything and certainly not in a solid new play that has been praised to high heaven in the UK. It almost singlehandedly turned the Royal Court Theatre into the hottest place in town (Pultizer Prize winner Clybourne Park, anyone?) and it's easy to see why, especially with Rylance at its heart.”

“For Rooster is not just a gypsy-like wanderer who embraces life. He's also England personified, the wild animalistic raw England that has been tamed but still burns at the heart of this once world-conquering Empire. Rooster will spellbind you with a story that begins with the casual comment that he met the guy who built Stonehenge and slowly, deliriously has you listening with open-mouthed pleasure at being taken for a ride while he mentions 80 foot tall giants (who can't always be trusted) and the golden drum they gave him that he can pound on and call for their aid whenever he's in trouble. When Ginger tries yet again to call Rooster on his whopping lies and wonders where exactly this golden drum he's bragging about might be, Rooster trumps him by casually saying he's sitting on it, only to have Ginger leap up and everyone gasp when a rug is removed and there indeed is a drum of impressive size. Yes, it will be pounded on and yes, you'll wonder if maybe Rooster was telling the truth after all.”

VARIETY, Marilyn Stasio

“In Jez Butterworth's rustic comedy about a good-time dope dealer holding out against the forces of gentrification overtaking the English countryside, Rylance looks likely to attract the same heaps of praise he scored in the original London production of the play. RYLANCE'S DELICIOUSLY SUBVERSIVE PERFORMANCE triggers both barrels OF BUTTERWORTH'S FUNNY IF DISCONCERTING PLAY -- the accessible story about the wild man who lives in the woods and attracts all the "outcasts," "undesirables," and rebellious teens in the village to his drunken parties, as well as the mythic subtext about old nature gods who don't take kindly to being uprooted from their sacred grounds.”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, Lisa Schwarzbaum

“The way Butterworth (Mojo, Parlour Song) tells it, Ian Rickson stages it, and Rylance owns it, the news is reported with a furious intelligence and exasperated tenderness that transcends the boundaries of its English content. The Broadway theatergoer leaves the show — a bubbling, never-dragging three hours that climaxes with drumbeats to summon the dead — blinking with wonderment. Both the playwright and the production find resonance in the raves and rants of an ornery sot and his relationship to the succeeding generations of kids who use him and drop him. And much credit goes to Rylance, one of the most magnetic, fearlessly physical actors on stage today. John Gallagher, Jr., star of Broadway's Spring Awakening and American Idiot (with which Jerusalem shares a milieu of drugs, destruction, and feelings its own characters can't fully understand) leaps with typically coiled energy into the role of Lee, perhaps the most heartbreaking of all Johnny's young hangers-on. With a next-day ticket for Australia in his pocket, swaggering Lee insists he's happy to be blowing pokey old Flintock for good. But underneath that bravado lies lonely fear, and a sadness at leaving the deadbeat mates he loves on his way to ''other countries.'' In Jerusalem, Johnny ''Rooster'' Byron is his own English Idiot. But even as the play around him triggers goosebumps, Johnny also embodies what Blake meant when he vowed, ''I will not case from Mental Fight/Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand:/Till we have built Jerusalem,/In England's green and pleasant land.''

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, David Rooney

“It seems significant that the program for Jerusalem lists no understudy for Mark Rylance, because watching his astonishing performance as Johnny “Rooster” Byron makes it impossible to imagine anyone else ever inhabiting the role. “