King Philippe V (Mark Rylance) is having a terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-day. Every day of every week. All of them. 24/7. Imported from France to fill a royal vacancy in Spain, Philippe V, grandson of Louis XIV of France, is out of sorts, morose, and well, pretty much off his nut. He is, of course, not the first head of state to have mood swings the size of a small third-world-country,... Read more
Farinelli and the King Tickets
After sold-out London engagements at Shakespeare's Globe's Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and the Duke of York's Theatre in the West End, Oscar and three-time Tony Award winner Mark Rylance returns to Broadway and reprises his acclaimed performance as insomniac King Philippe V of Spain. Written by Rylance's wife Claire van Kampen, who also provides the play's angelic musical arrangements, Farinelli and the King began performances at the Belasco Theatre on December 5, 2017.
Jonathan Fensom's authentic set design merges with the auditorium of the Belasco Theatre beautifully and creates the illusion of a traditional Shakespearean theatre setting, with seating for audience members on stage left and right.
Mark Rylance once again proves himself as one of today's stage greats, with a carefully measured performance as the sick king of our tale, knowing just the right time to draw a laugh from the audience and finely balancing those moments with his outbursts of rage or mistreatment of his queen. If Mr. Rylance's performance wasn't reason enough, Farinelli and the King also features generous samples of music with such soothing vocals from astounding countertenor Iestyn Davies (or James Hall at certain performances). Not only do they provide remedy for Philippe V, but also a welcome, relaxing sound for theatregoers more accustomed to traditional Broadway show tunes.
Farinelli and the King is a pure throwback to English Renaissance theatre, with sprinklings of modern and colorful language, and a sumptuous production that brings a degree of class to the Broadway season.
(Photos by Joan Marcus)
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King Philippe V of Spain, 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?