The acclaimed London production of the Simon Russell Beale Hamlet will begin its five-stop U.S. tour in Boston on April 11. The production, directed by John Caird, will play at the Wilbur Theatre through April 22, before moving on to Minneapolis, Tucson, Phoenix and Brooklyn.
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). 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 New York engagement was announced several weeks back. Hamlet will play five performances May 30-June 2 at the Howard Gilman Opera House in the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
The itinerary goes as follows:
• May 2-13: Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis
• May 16-20: Temple of Music and Art, Arizona Theatre Company, Tucson
• May 22-27: Herberger Theater Center, Arizona Theatre Company, Phoenix
• May 30-June 2, the Brooklyn Academy of Music
Tickets for the Boston run are $25-$75. For more information, call (617) 931-2787.
—By Robert Simonson