The acclaimed London production of the Simon Russell Beale Hamlet will conclude the second-to-last leg of a five-stop U.S. tour when it ends its May 22-27 run at the Arizona Theatre Company's Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix, AZ. The John Caird-directed production began the American jaunt in Boston, ended a run at the Guthrie Theatre on May 13 and then played Tucson May 16-20.
The Brooklyn Academy of Music will be Beale and Caird's final stop, May 30-June 2. When the Hamlet tour was first announced last spring, New York City wasn't a part of it. However, a few weeks later, the praised London staging won a berth at BAM, thus giving the Brooklyn institution two Hamlets in the space of two months. The first was Peter Brooks' spare Paris-born version, which played the Harvey Theatre. Beale will exact his slow revenge on the stage of the Opera House.
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. The distinguished cast of Hamlet also features Cathryn Bradshaw (as Ophelia), Sara Kestelman (Gertrude) and Peter McEnery (Claudius).
—By Robert Simonson