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The London production of playwright and composer Claire van Kampen’s Farinelli and the King will arrive on Broadway December 5 at the Belasco Theatre (111 W. 44th Street) prior to a December 17 opening night. Sonia Friedman, Shakespeare’s Globe, and Paula Marie Black produce the limited engagement that will continue through March 25, 2018.
Inspired by the true story of the Italian castrato opera singer, the play includes many of the Handel arias that were first sung by Farinelli in the 1730s. Music will be played live on Baroque instruments in a gallery above the stage.
John Dove directs the production. Rylance will be featured alongside his original London cast members Sam Crane as Farinelli, Huss Garbiya, as Doctor José Cervi, Colin Hurley as Metastasio, and Edward Peel as De La Cuadra. The production also stars Grammy Award-winning countertenor Iestyn Davies as the singing voice of Farinelli. Davies will share the singing role of Farinelli with another artist to be announced.
Farinelli and the King will also offer several rows of onstage seating. Theatregoers who choose the onstage seating will have an up-close and intimate experience. Over 200 seats a performance will be set aside to be sold for $32. These $32 tickets will include seating on all levels of the theatre, including the onstage seating, bookable in advance. Over 25,000 $32 tickets will be made available throughout the run. An on-sale date for onstage seating will be announced at a later date.
The production will be designed by Jonathan Fensom, with musical arrangements by van Kampen.
Here’s how it’s billed: “King Philippe V of Spain (Rylance), plagued by insomnia, lies awake in his chamber. The Queen, desperate for a cure, hears of Farinelli—a castrato with a voice so divine it has the power to captivate all who hear it. Philippe is astonished when Farinelli sings, and begs him to stay. But will Farinelli, one of the greatest celebrities of his time, choose a life of solitude over fame and fortune in the opera houses of Europe?”
Farinelli and the King premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2015 before transferring to a sold-out engagement in the West End in fall 2015, where it was the highest grossing-show in the history of the Duke of York’s Theatre and received six Olivier Award nominations.
Check out photos from the London production below: