Jude Law is hoping to repeat his recent West End triumph in the title role of "Hamlet" when he opens on Broadway tonight. Previews began Sept. 12, and buzz is building about the production. Following the run at the Donmar Warehouse, which ended in mid-August, the "Hamlet" company performed for a week at Elsinore Castle in Denmark. That is the setting for this most famous of William Shakespeare's dramas.
Laurence Olivier starred in a staging of "Hamlet" at this medieval castle in 1937. Olivier went on to direct himself to an Oscar-winning performance in the 1948 film version, which won the best picture award.
The invaluable Internet Broadway Database lists 65 productions of "Hamlet" to play on Broadway, with the first being in 1761 and the most recent being another transfer from London in 1995. For that Almeida Theatre staging, Ralph Fiennes won the Tony Award for lead actor in a play.
Of the other nine productions of "Hamlet" to play on Broadway since the founding of the Tony Awards, only the 1964 version with Richard Burton in the title role earned any nods. Burton lost the lead actor race to Alec Guinness ("Dylan"), while Hume Cronyn won the featured Tony for his work as Polonius.
Jude Law earned a Tony nomination as best featured actor in a play for his only other Broadway appearance, in 1995's "Indiscretions." He lost to John Glover for his performance in the Tony-winning play "Love! Valor! Compassion!"
Law is also a two-time Oscar nominee, losing his 1999 supporting nod for "The Talented Mr. Ripley" to Michael Caine ("The Cider House Rules") and his lead bid in 2003 for "Cold Mountain" to Sean Penn ("Mystic River"). His upcoming Christmas release sees him starring as Dr. Watson opposite Robert Downey Jr. in the title role of "Sherlock Holmes."
Photo credit: Donmar Warehouse