Two-time Tony winner Mark Rylance will play Shakespeare on Broadway for the first time when his acclaimed West End productions of Twelfth Night (with Rylance as Olivia) and Richard III (with Rylance in the title role) open on Broadway this fall. The all-male productions will begin performances on October 15 at the Belasco Theatre and open on November 10 for a 16-week limited engagement, directed by Tim Carroll.
Actor and playwright Stephen Fry will make his Broadway debut as Malvolio in Twelfth Night, while Tony nominee Samuel Barnett (The History Boys) will appear as Viola in Twelfth Night and Queen Elizabeth in Richard III. Full casting for the productions will be announced in the coming weeks.
Shakespeare’s Richard III is the story of Richard Duke of Gloucester, who will stop at nothing to become the King of England. Twelfth Night centers on Viola, a girl who passes herself off as a page to get work after being shipwrecked in the kingdom of Illyria. Lady Olivia falls in love with Viola, not knowing that she is a woman in disguise.
The plays will be staged in repertory, with six performances of Twelfth Night and two performances of Richard III a week. Both shows will be performed on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The productions are designed by Jenny Tiramani and feature music by Claire van Kampen.
According to the production announcement, seven musicians will play traditional Elizabethan instruments in a gallery above the stage, lit almost exclusively by the glow of 100 onstage candles. Audiences will also witness the pre-show ritual of actors dressing and applying their makeup on stage, "adding to the unique and immersive theatrical experience."
Rylance won Tony Awards for Jerusalem and Boeing-Boeing and has appeared on Broadway in La Bête. He served as the artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe from 1996 to 2006, where he played the title roles in Henry V and Hamlet, among other star turns. His film and TV roles include The Other Boleyn Girl, Prospero’s Books, Angels and Insects and Leonardo.