Benedict Cumberbatch will return to the London stage next year to play the mopey prince of Denmark in a new production of Shakespeare's "Hamlet," which will run at the Barbican theater. The casting was confirmed Wednesday and will be the "Sherlock" actor's first big stage role since he appeared in the National Theatre's production of "Frankenstein" in 2011.
"Hamlet" will be directed by Lyndsey Turner and is expected to open in August 2015. The production had been rumored to be in the works for months, with British tabloids like the Daily Mail publishing unconfirmed reports of the Cumberbatch news last fall.
Sonia Friedman, the London and Broadway theater producer, will be producing "Hamlet" in London. She recently brought to Broadway the repertory productions of "Richard III" and "Twelfth Night," starring Mark Rylance, from Shakespeare's Globe.
No other casting has been announced for the new "Hamlet." Cumberbatch, 37, joins a long list of British actors to play the prince of Denmark on stage. In recent years, that illustrious list has included Jude Law, David Tennant and Ralph Fiennes.
Three years ago, Cumberbatch co-starred with Jonny Lee Miller in "Frankenstein" at the National. The Danny Boyle-directed production was notable for having its two stars alternate in the roles of Dr. Frankenstein and the creature.
Cumberbatch has acted extensively in British theater, including a 2005 production of "Hedda Gabler" at the Almeida Theatre and a 2010 production of Terence Rattigan's "After the Dance" at the National.