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BROADWAY’S MARY STUART IN THE NEWS

BROADWAY’S MARY STUART

IN THE NEWS

 

The Donmar Warehouse production of Friedrich Schiller’s MARY STUART, in a new version by Peter Oswald and directed by Phyllida Lloyd, opened on Sunday, April 19 at the Broadhurst Theatre.  The production stars Janet McTeer as Mary, Queen of Scots and Harriet Walter as Queen Elizabeth I.  The production, which received rave reviews from critics yesterday, has also been making headlines. 

 

Here are some recent stories about the production:

 

New York Times

Battling Divas of History: It’s Acting Folks

By Patrick Healy

Sunday, April 19

 

As Elizabeth I might have said, let us dispense forthwith on the matter of catfights. While Elizabeth and her cousin Mary Stuart are in bloody battle on Broadway this spring in Friedrich Schiller’s “Mary Stuart,” are the actresses in those roles – Harriet Walter and Janet McTeer – actually getting along?

 

It’s hard to tell from an orchestra seat at the Broadhurst Theater, given how viciously the women rip into each other over three hours of re-enacting one of the most famous family feuds in royal history. “Mary Stuart,” which opens Sunday, is one of the relatively rare plays that offer two equally powerhouse roles for actresses, and Elizabeth’s and Mary’s competing desire for attention – from male courtiers, from England, from each other – has many theatergoers assuming that the rivalry must spill over offstage.

 

During a recent visit with these two British veterans of the London stage, it did not escape notice that the dressing room of Ms. McTeer, whose Mary, Queen of Scots, is the heroine of the play, was on the ground floor of the Broadhurst while Ms. Walter’s was one floor below. Yet from the first words of the interview, the bravura onstage hostilities slipped out of mind.

 

“If you’re lucky enough to be offered lovely leading roles, you very rarely get to work with actresses you put on pedestals because you’re usually in competition for the same role,” Ms. McTeer said. “But this was a chance to work with Hattie. I’ve loved her forever; she’s always on a bit of a pedestal.”

 

“Not anymore,” Ms. Walter replied playfully, a wink to the way Mary, in the play and in history, takes on Elizabeth.

 

 

NYTimes.com

A Queen’s Rain

Audio slide show produced by Erik Piepenburg

 

A backstage look at the mechanics of the simulated storm in the play “Mary Stuart.”

 

 

Bergen Record

Story of the ultimate family conflict returns to Broadway

By Robert Feldberg

Sunday, April 19

 

“What are the chances of a 209-year-old German play making it on Broadway?

 

With “Mary Stuart,” you’d have to say it has a shot.

 

Friedrich Schiller’s historical drama, about the battle of wills between England’s Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots against a backdrop of court intrigue, has been revived on Broadway before over the centuries – including a repertory engagement in 1900 – but none of the runs lasted very long.

 

This production, however, arrives bearing glowing reviews and success in London, as well as its two acclaimed British stars, Janet McTeer (Mary) and Harriet Walter (Elizabeth).

 

During a recent joint interview in McTeer’s dressing room at the Broadhurst Theatre, where the play opens today, Walter said she believes one reason for the play’s appeal is its contemporary resonance.

 

“There are endless references to the country’s security,” she said. “It was paramount. Because of fear, people sacrificed their integrity and their liberality.”

 

 

 

Wall Street Journal

From ‘Mamma’ to Mary

After a global box-office smash, a director returns to the stage

By Ellen Gamerman

Friday, April 17

 

“Mary Stuart,” a nearly three-hour drama about the rivalry between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots written by a German playwright more than 200 years ago, does not sound like the most likely follow-up project for the director of the Broadway musical and movie megahit, “Mamma Mia!”

 

But Phyllida Lloyd, whose 2008 summer blockbuster based around music from the Swedish pop group ABBA became the highest-grossing movie worldwide by a female director, is returning to the classical work that she says defines her. “Mary Stuart” opens Sunday at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York.

 

“To me, the standards and the vision and the ambition for ‘Mamma Mia!’ are exactly the same” as for “Mary Stuart,” Ms. Lloyd says. “The goals are the same: to create something that will make a difference.”

 

 

Broadway.com

Q&A with Janet McTeer

By Kathy Henderson

 

One of the many arresting images in the current Broadway production of Mary Stuart is Janet McTeer (as the title character, Mary Queen of Scots) standing center-stage surrounded by six men in modern-day business suits. Although she’s a prisoner, garbed in a plain period dress, and they are royal courtiers, McTeer’s Mary is by far the most powerful person on the stage. “Regal” doesn’t begin to describe the 6′ 1″ British actress, known to Broadway audiences for her Tony Award-winning performance as Nora in the 1997 revival of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Since then, McTeer has nabbed a Best Actress Oscar nomination (for Tumbleweeds, in which she assumed a spot-on Southern accent) and continued winning raves on the London stage for productions ranging from God of Carnage (in the role Marcia Gay Harden is playing on Broadway) to an all-female Taming of the Shrew (as Petruchio). Chatting during previews in her stage-side dressing room at the Broadhurst Theatre, the 47-year-old actress brushed away talk of theatrical awards and spoke generously about the other Broadway shows she’s been devouring since arriving in New York.

What’s it like to do Mary Stuart on Broadway four years after your London run?
It’s going incredibly well. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a cast that is (a) so good and (b) so gorgeous [laughs]. We’ve got new people and new relationships, so it’s a completely different experience.

Elizabeth is a bigger part than Mary. Why did you choose to play the title role?
Two reasons really. They’re both sensational parts, but I thought, “In 10 years’ time I’ll be too old to play Mary, so I might as well do it now.” Also, if you’re lucky enough to be a leading actress, you hardly ever get to work with other actresses you admire. Either you’re playing the Duchess of Malfi or they are. So this was a chance, if I played Mary, to get to work with Harriet [Walter as Elizabeth], one of the actresses I had looked up to for a very long time.

What’s the appeal of Mary Stuart for a modern audience?
It’s more than a historical drama, it’s a mammoth, tense thriller about the politics of being in prison, who’s going to do what to whom, and whether Mary can free herself. Instead of pulling out the differences between Elizabeth and Mary in this production, we’ve tried to pull out the similarities. I start out in short hair and a black frock, and Elizabeth ends up in short hair and a black frock. She starts out glamorous and I end up glamorous-the idea being that although I lose the political power struggle and she wins, personally speaking, I win and she loses. Even though it’s a classical play, it’s very exciting and very modern.

 

 

Playbill

Queen to Queen: Reinventing Schiller’s Mary Stuart

By Ruth Leon

April issue       

Mary Stuart, Friedrich Schiller’s 1800 drama about England’s Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots confounds all those complaints about there being no roles for actresses “of a certain age” (read: over 25). This recent transfer from London’s West End, currently playing at the Broadhurst Theatre, provides two.

They are inhabited by two of Britain’s favorite stage actors, neither of whom seems to have any problem finding suitable roles on either side of the Atlantic: Harriet Walter (Elizabeth) was last on Broadway with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s wildly successful All’s Well That Ends Well in 1983 and received the Evening Standard Best Actress Award in 2005 for this performance in Mary Stuart, and Janet McTeer (Mary) won a Tony Award in 1997 as Best Actress for her Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Both are, by any measure, the real thing, experienced and much-loved performers at the top of their game, and thrilled to be back in New York with a fine supporting cast of American actors in a great play.

 

The Huffington Post

Making Torture Lawful

By Allison Silver

Tuesday, April 21

 

“The argument is being played out in front of us.

 

Dark deeds were done at the leader’s behest, to achieve desirable, even honorable, goals. The nation’s security and stability depend on this, and terrorism and national upheaval averted. So, though unlawful, it all seems necessary. The leader clearly wants it — and is asking agents to do it. Accepting public responsibility, however, is another matter.

 

But this is not about torture and the Bush administration’s use of “enhanced” interrogation methods that were outside of U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions. This is not about the wide array of unlawful actions that the Bush team asserted were vital to save the United States from another Al Qaeda attack.

 

Instead, this is a play, Mary Stuart, written in 1800 by Friedrich Schiller, the German playwright and poet. This riveting drama, which just opened on Broadway to glowing reviews presents a powerful tale: Queen Elizabeth I clearly wants her cousin, Mary Stuart killed, but doesn’t want to be held responsible. She wants it done — without having her fingerprints on it.”

 

 

Opening Night Coverage

Playbill On Opening Night

Broadway.com Opening Night Video Feature

Broadway.com Opening Night Photo Op

Broadway.TV Opening Night Video Feature

BroadwayWorld.com Photo Coverage

TheaterMania Opening Night Photo Coverage

 

 

Tickets for MARY STUART are available through Telecharge at 212-239-6200, through www.telecharge,com or at the Broadhurst Theatre box office (235 West 44th Street).  The production plays a limited run through Sunday, August 16.

 

 

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www.MaryStuartOnBroadway.com

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