Can you love a fool? Can you love a player? Can you love Tom Bateman and Lucy Briggs-Owen as the lead roles of Will Shakespeare and Viola De Lesseps in the West End's Shakespeare in Love? Of course, you can! Adapted by Tony winner Lee Hall and directed by Olivier winner Declan Donnellan, the previously announced production will begin previews at London's Noel Coward Theatre on July 2. Opening night is set for July 23. Additional casting will be announced soon.
Bateman’s stage credits include The Duchess of Malfi, Much Ado About Nothing, The Lion in Winter and Lizzie Siddal. He's appeared on TV in Da Vinci’s Demons and The Tunnel. Briggs-Owen’s stage credits include Boris Godunuv, The Orphan of Zhao, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cardenio, The City Madam, Noises Off, The Way of the World, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Private Lives, The Importance of Being Earnest and Fortune’s Fool.
Set in London during the late 16th century, Shakespeare in Love centers on young playwright William Shakespeare, who is struggling with his latest work Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter. A great fan of Shakespeare's plays is young, wealthy Viola who is about to be married to the cold-hearted Lord Wessex, but constantly dreams of becoming an actress. Women were not allowed to act on stage at that time, but, dressed up as a boy, Viola successfully auditions for the part of Romeo. Soon she and William are caught in a forbidden romance that provides rich inspiration for his play.
The movie, penned by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard and directed by John Madden, Shakespeare in Love won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Original Score, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress for Gwyneth Paltrow and Best Supporting Actress for Judi Dench. The film also starred Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush and Tom Wilkinson.