“Macbeth” reigns SUPREME on Broadway—you have never seen a “Macbeth” like this! William Shakespeare’s classic tale of a man who murders to become monarch in Scotland is having a rebirth at the Longacre Theatre on West 48th Street. This incarnation of the beloved “Scottish play” has never had its like experienced on any stage. The non-traditional casting, along both racial and gender lines, is simply brilliant. There is something very visceral about the delivery of this play. Your senses are piqued as you experience the fog effects throughout the play, the dramatic sighting of ghosts that haunt the conscience of Macbeth and the nightmare of Lady Macbeth. Shakespeare’s rhythmic, beautiful language flows as if it was everyday speech; the extraordinarily talented ensemble makes it seem easy.
The audience is first introduced to the history of what was happening to Shakespeare and to the world around him at the time he wrote “Macbeth.” Then the play begins, and the story is delivered to perfection. There are many unconventional choices made in the delivery of this tale; I have never seen a “Macbeth” with more originality, more humor and more audience engagement.
This cast is one of the best on Broadway—let me count the ways! Daniel Craig is magnificent as Macbeth. You see the inner struggles and his ambitions and those of his wife placed upon him, ambitions that cause his terrible deeds to snowball. He takes the audience through many emotions, even madness. Ruth Negga is nothing less than perfect as Lady Macbeth. Her diabolical ambitions seize Macbeth, manipulating him and, when the deed is done, causing her downfall. The photo on the Playbill truly depicts what you see on stage, as her evil character is definitely in Macbeth’s head, filling it with words of treason, treachery and murder. She makes it seem that Macbeth’s ambitions to be king are reasonable.
Paul Lazar as Duncan, king of Scotland, is memorable and funny in the role. (Funny seems like a strange way to describe this character, but you’ll see what I mean when you experience his unconventional behavior, especially after his death.) Asia Kate Dillon is a fantastic example of non-traditional, gender-bending casting as they play Malcolm, Duncan’s heir to the throne of Scotland. Grantham Coleman is absolutely incredible as MacDuff, thane of Fife who Macbeth sets his sights on. He brings an intensity on stage that is well felt by the audience. Maria Dizzia is powerful as Lady MacDuff, and one of the three sister witches. Bobbi Mackenie is brilliant as their child and one of the three witch sisters. Phillip James Brannon, another ingenious example of gender-bending casting, plays the third sister witch and Ross. Che Ayende and Eboni Flowers also play witches. Amber Gray, who audiences will know from “Hadestown,” is absolutely stunning as Banquo, a Scottish general. Her delivery of Shakespeare’s words, along with that of the entire cast, comes across as melodic and powerful. Once murdered, her haunting spirit will command your attention. Emeka Guindo delivers Fleance, the son of Banquo very well, Michael Patrick Thornton is entertaining as Lennox, as is Danny Wolohan as Seyton. The entire cast’s performances would do the Bard proud, as would the sterling direction of Sam Gold. Get thee to the theater, to see this phenomenal production!
For more info, visit www.macbethbroadway.com.