Do not be fooled by the photos: Farinelli and The King isn't boring classical theater! There are SO many reasons to love this show.
Here's 5 Of Them:
1. Mark Rylance, Mark Rylance, Mark Rylance. You MUST see him act live on stage once before you die. He's better than you can even imagine. The man coughs and a Tony Award comes out of his mouth! He also won an Oscar for Bridge of Spies and you might recognize him from Dunkirk, but the luminous actor is (back) on Broadway with Farinelli, which transferred from a sold-out run on London's West End, where it received six Olivier nominations (the West End's version of the Tony Awards). Mark is radiant, breathtaking, and delightful as a mad king with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka vibes. This is one of the most generous performances you'll ever see by a living actor. He's, quite simply, perfect.
2. Claire Van Kampen's playwriting. The play is hysterical. Written in modern parlance, there's nothing like 1700s royals warning each other "Don't fuck it up!" Claire's writing is so clear and so easy, which makes this play so incredibly accessible. It's full of whimsy, delight, and exuberance.
3. It's candlelit! In a bold move, the show is lit almost exclusively by candlelight. This results in a hypnotizing and magical experience that blissfully transports you to the Spain of centuries ago. It is theater that feels like taking a warm bubble bath!
Photos: Joan Marcus
4. John Dove's direction. With a lot of the action in the aisles of the orchestra, John's direction breaks the fourth wall and is almost immersive! Even better? He has worked in live music, played onstage on actual baroque instruments. This really boosts the themes of music therapy in the play.
5. Onstage seating and affordable tickets! In an effort to ensure the accessibility of the show, the producers have committed to set aside over 200 seats for every performance that will only cost $32, which includes some of the onstage seats that get you feet (and sometimes inches!) away from one of the greatest actors you'll see in your lifetime.
Farinelli and The King runs through March 25 on Broadway.
Sam saw ~250 shows this year. Here's his Top 10 faves!