The acclaimed London production of the Simon Russell Beale's Hamlet concludes its five-stop U.S. tour when it begins a four-day stand at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 30. This acclaimed Dane began its Yankee adventure in Boston, then made for the colder climes of Minneapolis before playing double dates in the Sun Belt, speaking the speech in both Phoenix and Tucson.
The BAM engagement will play the Howard Gilman Opera House in the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The distinguished cast of Hamlet also features Cathryn Bradshaw (as Ophelia), Sara Kestelman (Gertrude) and Peter McEnery (Claudius). John Caird directs
New York theatregoers who felt slighted by the original Boston Minneapolis-Arizona trajectory of the U.S. tour breathed a sigh of relief when a BAM engagement was announced several weeks back. The Academy has recently become a veritable House of Hamlet. Last month, Peter Brook's version of the tragedy, featuring Adrian Lester, played a sold-out run at BAM's Harvey Theatre.
Caird worked with Beale with great success in 1999 on Money and Candide, both at the Royal National Theatre in London. The latter won an Olivier for Best Musical Production and earned Beale another Olivier for Best Actor in a Musical.
Beale's Hamlet played the RNT's Lyttelton Theatre in late summer and fall of 2000. Prior to that run, the production ran a week at the Hamlet Summer Festival in Elsinore, Denmark, on Aug. 14. There, it was performed in the open-air courtyard of Kronborg Castle, the very place where Shakespeare chose to set the play. By performing Hamlet at Elsinore, Beale followed in the footsteps of John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier (who played the role there in 1937). Beale's previous Shakespeare roles include Iago in Othello for the National, and Richard III (title role), Thersites in Troilus and Cressida and Ariel in The Tempest for the RSC. His other work for the National includes Summerfolk, Battle Royal and Volpone.
—By Robert Simonson