'Shakespeare in Love' to debut on stage in London next summer

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Image Credit: Laurie Sparham

“You see – comedy. Love, and a bit with a dog. That’s what they want”, was said famously by Geoffrey Rush in Shakespeare in Love, the Academy Award winning Best Picture victor for 1998, and now you may get to see all those things live (perhaps the little dog, too!). Producers announced today that the Bard-inspired romance-about a debt-ridden upstart playwright named Will (Joseph Fiennes) and his unlikely muse (Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow) who helps him craft a masterwork-will debut as a play next summer in London, which will be directed and designed by Cheek by Jowl cofounders Declan Donellan and Nick Omerod, respectively, with an adaptation by Tony-winning scribe Lee Hall (Billy Elliot). The hit 1998 film helped cement the stardom of Fiennes, Paltrow, fellow ’98 Oscar winner Judi Dench (as Queen Elizabeth), Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Paltrow’s then-beau Ben Affleck (nearly all of which were or have become Oscar winners). The full cast and crew slate for the London premiere will be announced at a later date.

Producer Sonia Friedman (La Cage aux Folles, The Mountaintop) has this to say about the 2014 production, which would seem to have designs on Broadway if this run is a hit: “Every now and then a story comes along that cries out to be staged. This is one such story. Shakespeare in Love bursts with life and is a moving and hilarious celebration of everything that we love about the inspirational and transformative power of theatre. This project has been several years in development and [Disney's] Tom Schumacher and I are thrilled to be confirming its world premiere in London.”

Will Shakespeare in Love strike a chord with ticketbuyers? Geoffrey Rush’s Philip Henslowe has the answer.  But count on a nice built-in audience, some choice sampling of the Academy Award winning screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, and a bevy of roles actors will be chomping at the bit to play (maybe Mark Rylance as, well…anyone?). Previews will begin at the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End in July 2014. In the meantime, check out the new official website for additional info and dates to be announced.

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