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Mark Rylance to bring 'Twelfth Night' and 'Richard III' to Broadway

Mark Rylance to bring 'Twelfth Night' and 'Richard III' to Broadway
Mark Rylance as Olivia, right, and Stephen Fry as Malvolio during a performance of William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." (Geraint Lewis/Boneau/Bryan-Brown)

Broadway will get a concentrated dose of comedy and tragedy this fall – brought on by acclaimed British actor Mark Rylance.

The two-time Tony winner – formerly artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe in London – will star in Globe productions of “Twelfth Night” and “Richard III, which will rotate in repertory for a 16-week engagement at New York’s Belasco Theatre, said producers Sonia Friedman and Scott Landis.

The productions first opened at the Globe last summer and later transferred to the West End; Rylance received rave reviews for his leading roles as "Twelfth Night's" lovesick, wealthy countess Olivia and the titular, scheming Richard III. British actor-author Stephen Fry will make his Broadway acting debut opposite Rylance, playing Malvolio, in "Twelfth Night." Tim Carroll, who directed the London productions, will direct on Broadway as well.

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The double bill marks the first time that productions from Shakespeare's Globe will be performed on Broadway. They'll be staged in the most traditional Shakespearean way, with an all-male cast, live musicians on traditional Elizabethan instruments and copious, scattered candlelight; the actors will change into their costumes and get their makeup on onstage, before the show, as they would have in Shakespearean times.

Shakespeare's Globe is known for affordable tickets; and producers have said they will make more than 20,000 tickets priced at $25 each available throughout the Broadway run.

Rylance is a seasoned Shakespearean actor, formerly with the Royal Shakespeare Company; he has also won Tonys for roles on Broadway in 2008’s “Boeing-Boeing” and 2011’s “Jerusalem.” But he has never actually performed Shakespeare on Broadway.

The double bill opens Nov. 10.  Previews begin October 15.

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