I saw the Twelfth Night’s companion yesterday, Richard III. I had no idea what it was about except that it was about a king that murdered people. 

As with Twelfth Night, the company acted through the three hour drama exquisitely.  Mark Rylance stole the show again, duh, followed by the lovely Samuel Barnett (at least in my opinion). 

I preferred Twelfth Night to Richard III, but I think that’s only because I was more familiar with that story.

Both pieces are beautiful examples of Shakespeare’s texts when they’re performed with integrity and as they’d been performed when they were originally written. And I’m incredibly glad I saw them both. 

If there was an award called the “Most Awesome Shakespeare Company” the cast of Twelfth Night and Richard III would most definitely win it. Broadway has been inundated with Shakespeare this season, but these might be the best.

I can only speak for Twelfth Night currently (I went to see it last night and I’ll see Richard III in two weeks) but it was pretty fantastic. But you know what I really need to do before I go see shows? Research. I knew the show I was going to see (I love Shakespeare, studied his work in London in 2007, and I’ve seen Twelfth Night before) but I had no idea that they were performing all of these classically, as in men were playing all roles, including women. This took a second to get used to (who’s playing a woman? who’s playing a woman that’s disguised as a man? etc.) but it was lovely as soon as I figured out who was who. 

Who was fabulous? Everyone. Mark Rylance as Olivia, of course. Rylance conquers every role he’s given and he was brilliant here too. I loved seeing Stephen Fry as Malvolio, he’s so hysterical. Samuel Barnett, of The History Boys fame, was also perfection as Viola. 

The set was perfect – very much like The Globe in London. The musicians were fantastic. The audience absolutely loved the show too. People who I would never think would be into Shakespeare were walking out saying how amazing it was and that made me smile.

I can’t wait to see Richard III (a piece I’ve never actually seen onstage before) in a couple of weeks. It should be of equal brilliance.

My credit card hates me after this weekend. There’s so much Shakespeare on Broadway this season and also two fantastic actors playing in two very absurd comedies. 

Well, I picked up the (super) cheap seats to see Mark Rylance (among others) rock some Shakespeare in January and then my credit came out again to buy (again, cheap!) tickets with a friend to see Waiting for Godot. Patrick Stewart won’t disappoint, and I’m pretty sure, from what I hear, that Ian McKellen won’t either.

In my life there are certain things worth paying for: great theatre and Green Day concerts (among other things). These fall into the former and I couldn’t be more excited.

Brush Up Your Shakespeare: Four Productions Play Broadway Simultaneously – Playbill.com

So this article was published on Playbill a few days ago and I got so excited. I knew they were was a LOT of Shakespeare on Broadway nowadays, and I love the bard, so that’s A-OK by me.

I like to see anything Mark Rylance is in (because he’s amazing) so I’m making Twelfth Night the next to cross off my list. 

Brush Up Your Shakespeare: Four Productions Play Broadway Simultaneously – Playbill.com

Mark Rylance might be the greatest actor to grace a Broadway stage in a long time.  It appears as though he can handle any kind of material and play a plethora of roles with ease.  In the fall he was the sloppy, socially and conversationally awkward Valere in La Bete.  This spring he is Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron the modern day English Pied Piper with a substance problem in Jerusalem.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s nominated for both roles at the Tony Awards this year.  Before seeing Jerusalem, I would highly recommend reading the directors note in the Playbill as well as reading up on the myth of the Pied Piper.  I unfortunately did neither though I still managed to enjoy it.

Jerusalem, inspired by the famous English song of the same name about finding a Utopian civilization, is about Johnny and his, for lack of a better term, mignons who are assorted teenagers and slightly older adolescents from the nearby town.  

The entire cast is fantastic, though of course all pale in the shadow of Rylance.  The set is a simple trailer, and some trash scattered on fake grass and there isn’t much lighting to speak of.  Dare I say that the fantastically talented John Gallagher Jr. has been pigeon-holed in his career?  He played one of the kids from town, Lee, who is leaving soon to go to Australia to “see what else is out there,” and the like.  Does that sound like any of the other characters he’s played?  I’m pretty sure it’s like all of them, but he still does a fantastic job and though it took me a bit to get used to his accent, once it settled it it was quite good.  A personal favorite of mine was MacKenzie Crook who played Ginger, another one of the kids although he’s slightly older than the rest.  He was funny and endearing and I felt bad for him more than once.  Aiden Eyrick, who plays Johnny’s son Marky, is probably the most underused character on Broadway, and quite an expensive prop he is.  He adds a bit to Johnny’s character and we learn what he’s left behind to live in the woods, but nothing much would have been lost if we never saw his son.  Looking at it as a producer, it’s a really, really expensive role (two kids to split the role, child wrangler, tutor, etc).  He is certainly cute though.

Jerusalem is filled with comedic moments and a few sad ones, there’s even some blood too.  In Jerusalem, there’s something for everyone.  

Jerusalem is playing at the Music Box Theatre through July 24th.  Click here for more information.

(photo via)