The British actor Derek Jacobi has received the 1998 Hamburg Shakespeare Prize. The award carries a $23,000 cash prize from the Alfred Toepfer Foundation. Jacobi will receive the money later this month. Jacobi is well know for his Shakespearean roles, having played Hamlet, Richard II and Richard III on stage in Britain. On the American stage, he won a Tony Award in 1985 for his performance in Much Ado About Nothing. He is perhaps best known in the U.S., however, for another Shakespearean turn, delivering the "O for a Muse of fire" speech as the Chorus in Kenneth Branagh's film of Henry V.
Jacobi's other credits include the title role in the PBS series "I, Claudius" and Broadway turns in Breaking The Code, Cyrano de Bergerac and The Suicide. His next American stage appearance will be in a revival of Robert Bolt's 1962 Tony Award-winning Best Play, A Man for All Seasons, which is readying a 1999 national tour that could wind up on Broadway. The London production will open at Washington DC's Kennedy Center in April 1999.
-- By Robert Simonson