What is the best Shakespeare play you've ever seen on Broadway?

mjohnson2 Profile Photo
Broadway Star
Hello all,
So Shakespeare productions have always been a staple of Broadway shows, and there have been many great productions as well as many flops. My question to you is: what is the best production of a Shakespeare show you have ever seen on Broadway? Mine would probably be the revival of HENRY IV from 2003.

Anything regarding shows stated by this account is an attempt to convey opinion and not fact.
Updated On: 8/2/14 at 08:53 PM
willep Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Having not seen too many on Broadway, I would have to go with the recent Richard III with Rylance. I know most people liked his Twelfth Night more, but for me Richard III just blew me away.
BobbyBubbi  Profile Photo
Featured Actor
Richard III with Rylance was the only Shakespeare production I have seen on Broadway. I, too was absolutely mesmerized.
Broadway Star
I haven't seen that many Shakespeare productions on Broadway, but the most recent Twelfth Night with Mark Rylance was definitely my favorite.
SNAFU Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
The Tempest with Patrick Stewart.

Those Blocked: SueStorm. N2N Nate. Good riddence to stupid! Rad-Z, shill begone!
theaterdrew Profile Photo
Romeo and Juliet with Orlando Bloom and Justin Beiber.

Just kidding. It's Twelfth Night, hands down. My second favorite wasn't on Broadway (Chicago Shakes).
South Fl Marc Profile Photo
South Fl Marc
Broadway Legend
If I were to list my top twenty Shakespeare performances I have seen, only two would have come from Broadway (and both of them were imported directly from London: The recent "Twelfth Night" and "Much Ado About Nothing" with Derek Jacobi from the RSC). The others from NYC have come from the Delacorte , Off Broadway or even Off Off Broadway. But for the best Shakespeare productions in this country, go to DC's Shakespeare Theatre.

Now living in DC. I really have to change my name on the board.
Updated On: 8/3/14 at 09:55 AM
Patash Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Christopher Plummer was pretty remarkable in King Lear back a few years ago. As a total production though, I think it's hard to top the recent Twelfth Night with Mark Rylance.

The best Shakespeare production I ever saw was a version of Midsummer Night's Dream at Oregon Shakespeare Festival (they've done at least one poor production of that play since). From the moment a little girl in a bed was raised above the stage as she fell asleep to "dream" the whole thing to the constant slow motion of fairies blowing in and out of the action, to Bottom removing his giant false donkey teeth and putting them under his pillow for Puck (obviously the tooth fairy) to replace it with a nickel -- it was all just brilliant. I still remember the lights going out at the end and when they came back on the entire audience (myself included) was standing and cheering.
AC126748 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
The Rylance productions this past season are the best overall productions I've seen on Broadway. Henry IV was also excellent.

Plummer was extraordinary as Lear, but it was a weak production and almost no other actor was anywhere near his level. Only Brent Carver came close.

Off-Broadway and regionally, I've seen productions that ran the gamut from transcendent to embarrassing.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
Broadway Legend
The Tempest with Patrick Stewart was excellent.

I also liked Dream several years ago. The actors "went to sleep" in pods which were then suspended above the stage. They had to stay in those things through intermission.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
Broadway Legend
Twelfe Night with Rylance, the best comedy. Othello with Jones/Plummer decades ago, the best tragedy. On Broadway.

Best off Broadway - Henry V by New York Classical Theatre, a couple of summers ago.
The Other One
Leading Actor
What wonkit said: Twelfe Night with Rylance, the best comedy. Othello with Jones/Plummer decades ago, the best tragedy. On Broadway.
Both of the Rylance productions, and if I had to pick just one I'd say Twelfth Night.
jnb9872 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Yeah, the recent TWELFTH NIGHT moved the bar at least as far as the last decade is concerned. Didn't get to see HENRY IV but remember hearing the praise and wishing I could get to it.
Words don't deserve that kind of malarkey. They're innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they're no good anymore…I don't think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.
Sutton Ross Profile Photo
Sutton Ross
Broadway Legend
The Tempest.
oncemorewithfeeling2 Profile Photo
Broadway Star
The recent version of Twelfth Night. It changed the way we want Shakespeare on Broadway.
GavestonPS Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I know it wasn't on Broadway, but it was close, and Raul Julia and Meryl Streep in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW at the Delacorte remains one of the best comedies (Shakespearean or otherwise) I have ever seen.
mikem Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Another really excellent Shakespeare production that hasn't been mentioned yet is the recent Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino and Lily Rabe, directed by Daniel Sullivan.

I'm still shaking my head over A Raisin in the Sun winning the Tonys for Best Revival and Best Director over Twelfth Night (or The Glass Menagerie, for that matter).
"What was the name of that cheese that I like?" "you can't run away forever...but there's nothing wrong with getting a good head start" "well I hope and I pray, that maybe someday, you'll walk in the room with my heart"
Broadway: Rylance Twelfth Night, Off-Brodway: McKellen's Lear at BAM/Kevin Spacey's Richard III at BAM. London: Rylance's Hamlet/ Tempest with Vanessa Redgrave

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