Kenneth Branagh to Make New York Stage Debut in 'Macbeth'

9:34 AM PST 08/20/2013 by David Rooney
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Kenneth Branagh

Also starring Alex Kingston as Lady Macbeth, the production segues from its acclaimed premiere at the Manchester International Festival to the Park Avenue Armory next June.

NEW YORK – No dramatic text carries greater superstitious baggage in the theater than William Shakespeare's Scottish play, but suddenly Macbeth is all over New York stages.

Following Alan Cumming's radical one-man rethink on the classic tragedy on Broadway in the spring, and with Ethan Hawke due to tackle the title role in another Broadway staging for Lincoln Center Theater in the fall, Kenneth Branagh has now joined the fray as the power-mad murderous Scot.

STORY: Alan Cumming Brings 'Macbeth' to Broadway

Co-directed by Branagh and Rob Ashford, this latest Macbeth premiered at the Manchester International Festival, where it was mounted to great acclaim in July in a deconsecrated Romanesque church.

The production, which also stars Alex Kingston (ER) as Lady Macbeth, will be staged in the 55,000-square-foot Drill Hall of New York's Park Avenue Armory in June 2014.

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"The Armory enables artists to realize site-specific works that demand presentation space beyond limitations found in traditional theaters or museums," said Rebecca Robertson, president and executive producer of Park Avenue Armory, in a statement.

"Utilizing the possibilities of the vast open space is a truly exciting prospect," added Branagh. "I am delighted that we have the chance to recreate Macbeth in this epic setting."

A joint commission of the Park Avenue Armory and Manchester International Festival, the production features set and costume design by Christopher Oram, lighting by Neil Austin, music by Patrick Doyle and sound by Christopher Shutt. Performance dates and additional cast for the U.S. run are to be announced.

While Branagh is one of Britain's most lauded classical actors and has directed or starred in several Shakespeare adaptations for the screen, the Macbeth engagement will mark his New York stage debut.

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