Harking back to Shakespeare's era, when women were barred from the stage, the all-male cast of the Bard's Twelfth Night begins performances October 15 at the Belasco Theatre. The Broadway debut of Shakespeare's Globe productions, the show stars two-time Tony winner Mark Rylance as Olivia and will officially open on November 10.
The play tells the story of Olivia's household, where two campaigns are being quietly waged—one by the lovesick lord Orsino against the heart of the indifferent Olivia; the other by an alliance of servants and hangers-on against the high-handedness of her steward, the pompous Malvolio. When Orsino engages the cross-dressed Viola to plead with Olivia on his behalf, a bittersweet chain of events follows.
The production features live music played on traditional Elizabethan instruments with the stage lit almost exclusively by the glow of 100 candles. Audiences will witness the pre-show ritual of actors dressing and preparing their makeup on stage.
Directed by Tim Carroll, in addition to Rylance, principal cast members include Stephen Fry, Samuel Barnett, Liam Brennan, Paul Chahidi, John Paul Connolly, Peter Hamilton Dyer, Colin Hurley and Jethro Skinner.
*Twelfth Night is playing in repertory with Richard III.