News Column

Shakespeare to Light Up Broadway

June 16, 2013



So, what is it with this guy Shakespeare? He seems to be really popular.

In the just-concluded Broadway season, his "Macbeth" was revived - - with a twist. One actor, Alan Cumming, played all the roles.

And in the first half of the 2013-14 Broadway year, the Elizabethan/Jacobean playwright will be doing even better.

The radiant young actress Condola Rashad, currently in "The Trip to Bountiful," will play opposite film actor Orlando Bloom in "Romeo and Juliet."

The enduring conflict between the young lovers' families will be accented by having the Montagues played by white actors and the Capulets by black ones. Previews begin Aug. 24, with a Sept. 19 opening at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

British actor Mark Rylance, who has picked up Tony Awards two of the three times he's been on Broadway (for "Boeing-Boeing" and "Jerusalem"), is returning in two of Shakespeare's plays, which he'll perform in repertory with the Shakespeare's Globe company.

The productions will be presented the old-fashioned way, with all- male casts.

Rylance will play the lead in the history play "Richard III," and, for something completely different, the noblewoman Olivia in the comedy "Twelfth Night." Previews begin Oct. 15, with a Nov. 10 opening at the Belasco Theatre.

And "Macbeth" will make a quick return, this time with Ethan Hawke in the title role, in a more traditional production. Previews begin Oct. 24, with a Nov. 21 opening at the Vivian Beaumont Theater.

Revivals of all kinds will be quite the thing this fall.

"The Glass Menagerie," Tennessee Williams' haunting memory play, will be back, with Cherry Jones playing the mother of Williams' alter ego, Tom, who'll be portrayed by Zachary Quinto. Previews begin Sept. 5; the opening is Sept. 26, at the Booth Theatre.

Harold Pinter's "Betrayal," a story of a love triangle, told end to beginning, will be revived again, with Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, and direction by Mike Nichols. Previews begin Oct. 1; opening night is Nov. 3, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

Two more celebrated British actors who'll be doubling up in repertory are Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart.

They'll perform together in Samuel Beckett's absurdist classic "Waiting for Godot" and Pinter's equally challenging "No Man's Land." Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley round out the plays' casts. Previews begin Oct. 26; opening is Nov. 24, at the Cort Theatre.

A production of "The Winslow Boy," Terence Rattigan's 1946 drama about a 14-year-old cadet's dismissal from the Royal Naval College for stealing, and the cause celebre the incident becomes, will star Roger Rees and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Previews begin late September; opens Oct. 17, at the American Airlines Theatre.

Billy Crystal will be reviving himself, returning with "700 Sundays," his one-man, autobiographical show that was a big hit in 2004. Previews begin Nov. 5; opening is Nov. 13, at the Imperial Theatre.

Although revivals are dominant at this early point, there will be new shows on Broadway, too.

"Big Fish," a musical with Norbert Leo Butz, is based on the 2003 Tim Burton film about the son of a teller of tall tales who strives to find out who his father really was. Previews begin Sept. 5; opens Oct. 6, at the Neil Simon Theatre.

Mary Louise Parker will star in "The Snow Geese," a play by Sharr White about an American family, during World War I, that's forced to face basic changes in its existence. Previews begin Oct. 1; opens Oct. 24, at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

"A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" is a musical based on the same novel as the classic 1949 British black-comedy film "Kind Hearts and Coronets." Jefferson Mays plays eight members of a noble English family (roles portrayed in the film by Alec Guinness) who are murdered one by one by a distant relative who covets the family's dukedom. Previews begin Oct. 22; opens Nov. 17 at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

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