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Updated on January 2, 2010



In HAMLET, Shakespeare’s definitive tragedy, the King of Denmark is dead. Consumed with grief, Prince Hamlet (Jude Law) determines to avenge his father’s death with devastating consequences for his family and the kingdom.


Jude Law's Hamlet: a thrilling hit on Broadway. Hamlet comes to Broadway following sold out engagements in London’s West End and at Elsinore Castle in Denmark.

• To Be, or Not To Be ...

That is the question: on morning of October 7, 2009, as the reviews come in for Jude Law's turn as Hamlet in the much-anticipated Broadway turn for the production, which originated in London to acclaim and opened at New York's Broadhurst Theatre Tuesday night. Reaction is decidedly mixed. If Hamlet talks about his mind, you can bet that Mr. Law will point to his forehead; when he mentions the heavens, his arm shoots straight up; "... When Jude Law says his gorge rises, rest assured that he clutches at his stomach. If every actor were like Mr. Law, signed performances for the hard of hearing would be unnecessary," snipes Ben Brantley of The New York Times.

• To See or Not To See ...

Producer Arielle Tepper Madover and the Donmar Warehouse are pleased to announce William Shakespeare’s Hamlet on Broadway, with Jude Law in the title role, directed by Michael Grandage. The production begun performances at the Broadhurst Theatre (235 West 44th Street, NYC) on Saturday, September 12 for a strictly limited run of twelve weeks only. Opening night is Tuesday, October 6. Award-winning actor Jude Law returns to Broadway for the first time since 1995 when he made his Tony Award-nominated debut in Jean Cocteau's Indiscretions (Les Parents Terribles). Michael Grandage, Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse, made his Broadway debut with the Tony Award-winning production of Frost/Nixon. He originally staged Hamlet for the Donmar’s West End season at Wyndham’s Theatre.

Most of the critics agree: Jude Law joins the modern pantheon of spellbinding sweet princes with a performance of rare vulnerability and emotional openness. Henry Hitchings of the Standard reckons: "Detailed and powerful, he brings a rumpled charisma to the classic Hamlet role ..." There is nothing very radical in the production, the critics agree, but then as Michael Billington reminds us, surely the most important thing is that it will trick thousands into watching Shakespeare. "It is heartening to find Wyndham's teeming with young people," he twinkles... And, even if they are drawn by the star power of Jude Law they will get to see a swift, clear, well-staged version of Shakespeare's most exciting play." Which is surely no bad thing – unless you don't like Jude Law, of course."

Comparisons with other Hamlets would be helpful, too, because you need to show you've seen some. Nevertheless, if you're going to leap on to the Jude Law bandwagon, you'll need to bring a bit of erudition with you, and knowledge of Shakespeare play.

In the end, Mr. Law is the reason you've come to the theatre. He will always fascinate you and often thrill you, but seldom move you, for this is not by any means a sentimental production. This very contemporary man is fighting desperately to hold on to some inner integrity, some true sense of self, while the manipulating world around him is intent on turning him into just one more malleable cipher.

The British actor's turn as Shakespeare's tragic prince is the talk of the Great White Way. Seeing Law's performance makes you think that theatre can be a lot more rewarding and memorable than film.


PRESENT SHOW: Hamlet on Broadway: Sept. 12, 2009 - Dec. 06, 2009 The British actor's turn as Shakespeare's tragic prince is the talk of the Great White Way

PAST EVENTS: The many faces of Hamlet 11 Sep 2007: Jude Law will play Shakespeare's troubled Prince of Denmark in a Donmar production at Wyndham's Theatre in London's West End. En route to Manhattan, the production was mounted for a limited engagement at Kronborg Castle, Elsinore, from 25-30 August. Law as Hamlet joined a line of actors who have played the Great Dane at the castle, including Kenneth Branagh in 1988 and Richard Burton in 1954. Meanwhile, Law has a busy (2009) year on screen: he played Dr Watson in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes reboot, and also stared in Heath Ledger's final film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, both due in cinemas later this year.


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    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 8 years ago from South Africa

      Saw the movie of Kenneth Branagh in the role and thought he was magnificent. I guess I won't get to see this Hamlet live, but thanks for giving me this insight into it - a good read.

      Love and peace