By Tom Millwood
Producers Sonia Friedman, Shakespeare’s Globe and Paula Marie Black have announced that three-time Tony Award winner and Oscar winner Mark Rylance will return to Broadway in a transfer of the West End hit Farinelli and the King. The Shakespeare’s Globe production will begin previews at the Belasco Theatre on December 5, 2017, before an official opening on December 17 and a strictly limited engagement through to March 25, 2018.
Farinelli and the King is a new play with music, written and composed by Rylance’s wife Claire van Kampen, directed by John Dove and designed by Jonathan Fensom.
Synopsis: “King Philippe V of Spain, plagued by insomnia, lies awake in his chamber. The Queen, desperate for a cure, hears of Farinelli – a castrato with a voice so divine it has the power to captivate all who hear it. Philippe is astonished when Farinelli sings, and begs him to stay. But will Farinelli, one of the greatest celebrities of his time, choose a life of solitude over fame and fortune in the opera houses of Europe?”
Joining Mark Rylance (as King Philippe V of Spain) will be his London co-stars Sam Crane (as Farinelli), Huss Garbiya (as Doctor José Cervi), Colin Hurley (as Metastasio) and Edward Peel (as De La Cuadra), with additional casting to be announced at a later date.
The production will also feature Grammy Award-winning countertenor Iestyn Davies as the singing voice of Farinelli. Mr. Davies will share the singing duties with another artisit, who will also be announced at a later date.
Farinelli and the King staged its world premiere at Shakespeare’s Globe’s Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, opening to excellent reviews in February 2015. It later transferred to the Duke of York’s Theatre in Autumn 2015, becoming a sell-out hit and picking up six Olivier Award nominations.
Mark Rylance previously appeared on Broadway in his Tony-winning performances of ‘Boeing-Boeing’ (2008), ‘Jerusalem’ (2011) and ‘Twelfth Night’ (2014). The latter played in repetory with ‘Richard III,’ for which he also earned a Tony nomination for playing the title role. He also starred as Valere in the 2010 production of ‘La Bête.’ He last appeared in NYC at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse in his self-penned absurdist comedy ‘Nice Fish’ in 2016. On screen, he won an Oscar and a BAFTA for “Bridge of Spies” in 2016. Other notable screen credits include his Golden Globe, BAFTA and Emmy-nominated work as Thomas Cromwell in “Wolf Hall,” as well as “The BFG,” “Bing,” “Anonymous,” “The Other Boleyn Girl,” “The Government Inspector,” “Richard II,” “Intimacy” and the upcoming “Dunkirk.”