'King Charles III' to Reign on Broadway

Johan Persson
Tim Pigott-Smith in 'King Charles III'

After winning an Olivier Award for best new play on Sunday, Mike Bartlett's London hit starring Tim Pigott-Smith will transfer to New York in the fall.

Fresh from its win for best new play at Sunday's Olivier Awards, Britain's equivalent of the Tonys, Mike Bartlett's provocative contemplation of a shift in the monarchy, King Charles III, is headed to Broadway in the fall.

Lead producers Stuart Thompson and Sonia Friedman on Monday confirmed the move of Rupert Goold's production, which stars the much-acclaimed Tim Pigott-Smith in the title role and features depictions of such real-life figures as Prince William, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton, Camilla Parker-Bowles and the ghost of Princess Diana.

The play will follow this season's transfers of The Audience and the Wolf Hall double-bill, continuing a wave of drama about British royals for which New Yorkers have shown a healthy appetite. 

Read more 'King Charles III': London Theater Review

Billed as a "future history play," King Charles III is a Shakespearean homage written largely in blank verse, which begins with the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and follows the anxious, long-delayed ascension to the throne of Prince Charles. Balancing drama with a witty strain of humor, it reflects on the uncertain role of monarchy in the 21st century and the unwritten rules of democracy.

Reviewing the play in London for The Hollywood ReporterStephen Dalton wrote, "This inspired speculative drama strikes a tone somewhere between affectionate satire and treasonous polemic," going on to call it "dense, rich and surprisingly serious about the business of monarchy."

Read more Olivier Awards: Mark Strong Wins Best Actor, Kevin Spacey Gets Special Honor

The production premiered last spring in a sell-out engagement at the Almeida Theatre, where Goold is artistic director, before transferring to a hit West End run in September.

Previews are scheduled to begin Oct. 10, with the official opening night set for Nov. 1 at the Music Box Theatre, with additional cast to be announced.

Pigott-Smith was last seen on Broadway in a 1999 revival of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, starring opposite Kevin Spacey. Bartlett's 2009 play Cock had a well-received off-Broadway run in 2012. Its companion piece, Bull, also won an Olivier at yesterday's ceremony, for outstanding achievement in an affiliate theater. King Charles III will mark the English playwright's Broadway debut.

comments powered by Disqus