Mark Rylance in Farinelli and the King

Farinelli and the King begins performances on Broadway

Oscar and 3-time Tony Award winner Mark Rylance returns to Broadway in Farinelli and the King at the Belasco Theatre tonight.

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

The Shakespeare's Globe production of Farinelli and the King, starring Oscar and three-time Tony Award winner Mark Rylance, begins performances at the Belasco Theatre tonight. An official opening is set for December 17, with a strictly limited engagement through to March 25, 2018.

Farinelli and the King is a new play with music, written and composed by Rylance's wife Claire van Kampen. The production is directed by John Dove.

Synopsis: "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?"

Joining Mr. Rylance (reprising his role as King Philippe V of Spain) are his London co-stars Sam Crane (as Farinelli), Huss Garbiya (as Doctor José Cervi), Colin Hurley (as John Rich) and Edward Peel (as De La Cuadra), as well as Melody Grove (as Isabella Farnese) and Lucas Hall (as Jethro). Grammy Award-winning countertenor Iestyn Davies and James Hall alternate as the singing voice of Farinelli, with Eric Jurenas providing cover.

The cast also features Pete Bradbury and Margot White as covers.

The creative team features musical arrangements by Claire van Kampen, music supervision by Bill Barclay, scenic design by Jonathan Fensom, and lighting design by Paul Russell.

Farinelli and the King is produced on Broadway by Sonia Friedman, Shakespeare's Globe and Paula Marie Black.

Farinelli and the King staged its world premiere at Shakespeare's Globe's Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, opening to excellent reviews in February 2015. It later transferred to the Duke of York's Theatre in fall 2015, becoming a sell-out hit and picking up six Olivier Award nominations.

Mark Rylance previously appeared on Broadway in his Tony-winning performances of Boeing-Boeing (2008), Jerusalem (2011) and Twelfth Night (2014). The latter played in repetory with Richard III, for which he also earned a Tony Award nomination for playing the title role. He also starred as Valere in the 2010 production of La Bête. He last appeared in NYC at Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse in his self-penned absurdist comedy Nice Fish in 2016. On screen, he won an Oscar and a BAFTA for "Bridge of Spies" in 2016. Other notable screen credits include his Golden Globe, BAFTA and Emmy Award-nominated work as Thomas Cromwell in "Wolf Hall," as well as "The BFG," "Bing," "Anonymous," "The Other Boleyn Girl," "The Government Inspector," "Richard II," "Intimacy" and "Dunkirk."

Farinelli and the King Tickets are available now for performances through to March 25, 2018.

(Photo by Marc Brenner)

Originally published on

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