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The 2013-2014 Broadway Season

Twelfth Night
Shakespeare’s comedy stars Mark Rylance, Stephen Fry, and Samuel Barnett, direct from London’ West End in a Shakespeare’s Globe production presented in the custom of how the Bard’s plays were first staged. Performed in repertory with Richard III.

WebsiteComplete Broadway Credits

Belasco Theatre
Opening Night - November 10 2013
Final Performance - February 16 2014
Twelfth NightMark Rylance (left) and Stephen Fry in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.


Outrageous high comedy ensues as the pangs of unrequited love affect the unforgettable characters of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. While the lovelorn Duke Orsino plots to win the heart of the mourning Olivia (Mark Rylance), an alliance of servants and hangers-on scheme against the high-handedness of Olivia’s steward, the pompous Malvolio (Stephen Fry). When Orsino engages the cross-dressed Viola (Samuel Barnett), who has disguised herself as a young man under the name Cesario, to plead with Olivia on his behalf, a bittersweet and hilarious chain of events follows. Performed in repertory with Richard III, and presented in the custom of how Shakespeare’s plays were first staged, with an all-male company playing male and female roles; actors participating in the pre-show ritual of dressing and preparing their make-up on stage, in front of the audience; music played live on traditional instruments; and lighting created almost exclusively by 100 on-stage candles.


  • The title refers to the twelfth night after Christmas Day, a.k.a. the Eve of the Feast of Epiphany.
  • In Shakespeare’s time this was a day of revelry on which servants often dressed up as their masters, men as women, and so forth—hence the play's gender confusion-driven plot.


Scholars believe William Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night; or, What You Will around 1601–02 as an entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The comedy has been produced on Broadway many times. This production originated in London at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, which is located near the site of a playhouse in which many of Shakespeare’s plays were first staged.


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Revised June 4, 2014


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