's Theatre Week in Review, Aug. 17-23: Kenneth Branagh's Macbeth Stalks the Armory

Excerpted from New York Times, 23 August 2013
By Robert Simonson

There will be two high-profile productions of 'Macbeth' in New York this season. But there will not be two productions on Broadway.

Director Rob Ashford and actor Kenneth Branagh have found a Gotham home for their staging of William Shakespeare's tragedy, and it's far from Broadway (where the Ethan Hawke Macbeth will indeed play this fall). It will be staged in the old Park Avenue Armory's 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall in June 2014.

The show will be a co-commission of the Armory and Manchester International Festival. The critically acclaimed production was originally mounted in Manchester in July and will be re-imagined for the Armory presentation.

This isn't the first time the Armory has hosted a theatre production. It was the setting for the site-specific mystery play 'Tamara', where attendees wandered from room to room in the cavernous hall, in the late '80s.

Since 2006, when the Park Avenue Conservancy took over management of the 1861 building, it has tried to revitalize the landmark by making it a center for unconventional works in the performing and visual arts, including operas and art installations. Branagh's 'Macbeth' will be one of its most noteworthy catches to date.

"Utilizing the possibilities of the vast open space is a truly exciting prospect," said Branagh in a statement. "I am delighted that we have the chance to recreate Macbeth in this epic setting."

Let's hope he still knows how to project.

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