Already closed | 2h 30m | Midtown W

Farinelli and the King

From 536 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Great singing, Absorbing, Great staging, Entertaining

About the show

Oscar and three-time Tony winner Mark Rylance returns to Broadway in this new drama about Spain's King Phillippe V's bond with a legendary castrato.  More…

'Farinelli and the King' is inspired by the fascinating true story of Philippe V (Rylance), a Spanish monarch on the brink of madness who finds unexpected solace in the voice of world-renowned castrato, Farinelli. Soon, Farinelli and the King forge a powerful connection, and the celebrated singer must make a difficult choice: return to throngs of adoring fans or perform forever for an audience of one. Like Broadway’s 'Twelfth Night' and 'Richard III,' this contemporary work is presented in the signature style of Shakespeare’s Globe – traditional baroque instruments are performed live in a gallery above the stage; the audience enjoys intimate seating with several rows onstage; and the story is told by candlelight. 'Farinelli and the King' comes to Broadway following sold-out runs at Shakespeare’s Globe and on London’s West End.

2h 30m | Already closed | Belasco Theatre (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (536)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Great singing, Absorbing, Great staging, Entertaining
82
Avg Score

During previews
82
Absorbing, Great singing, Great staging, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a depiction of the curative powers of music. And watching Mark Rylance is always a worthwhile experience.

Don't see it if you don't care for countertenors and object to actors breaking the fourth wall.

Also I missed some of the dialogue from my first row balcony seat. Not Mark... Read more Read less

During previews
82
Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You enjoy Mark Rylance and company in a well acted and beautifully staged play. The singing was ethereal while the candles were enchanting.

Don't see it if You don’t enjoy period plays or the breaking of the fourth wall. It all seems to work though.

During previews
80
Absorbing, Great staging, Beautiful music, Unique, Historical

See it if Unique, true story of mad King Philippe V & the power of music to heal. Beautiful staging & music, unexpected touches of humor & silliness.

Don't see it if 2nd act felt disjointed & ending was abrupt, ambiguous & therefore unsatisfying. I wish Farinelli character was as fleshed out as the King.

During previews
77
Clever, Enchanting, Great staging, Great singing, Intelligent

See it if You love Handel arias done by an ethereal countertenor , staging that is period perfect , and a love of music in general

Don't see it if You are looking for farce or Shakespeare , this is neither

Also The production is stellar , the cast impeccable , the script however i... Read more Read less

During previews
69
Gorgeous setting, Unusual, Play itself is a bit disappointing

See it if You're a Mark Ryalance fan and enjoy period dramas.

Don't see it if You think that a little Mark Rylance goes a long way.

Also I was a huge fan of the Rylance Twelfth Night, and I was hoping for th... Read more Read less

During previews
85
Delightful, Funny, Great singing, Clever

See it if You want to hear Iestyn Davies, a fantastic countertenor, sing. You are intrigued by madness.

Don't see it if You don't like plays? I don't know.

During previews
77
Clever, Great staging, Great singing, Unbalanced

See it if You enjoyed Twelfth Night and Richard III with Marin Rylance but felt there wasn’t enough singing.

Don't see it if You want Act II to be as strong as Act I. You want heavy political or romantic intrigue.

During previews
71
Visually striking, Elegant singing, Banal, Missed opportunities

See it if You are satisfied by a gorgeous look and sound. It is divine.

Don't see it if You cannot tolerate half-baked plays or needless anachronisms.

Also Tells us the most dramatic moments rather than showing them, and Rylan... Read more Read less

During previews
82
Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great staging

See it if How in the 1700s King Phillippe of Spain's mental illness was alleviated by the beauty of music. Mark Rylance & Melody Grove are exception.

Don't see it if You hope the 2nd act will be as strong as the first. You don't like baroque music.

Also Other cast members are also excellent as are the musicians.

During previews
80
Ambitious, Banal, Disappointing, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you want to see a masterful performance, as usual, from Rylance. The setting is absolutely gorgeous, as are the costumes. Great singing.

Don't see it if you expect a great script. This isn't one. The play itself is fairly weak, and the concept of having two men play Farinelli doesn't work.

During previews
90
Great singing, Great acting, Great staging, Enchanting, Quirky

See it if it's visually stunning and hauntingly poetic-unique, strange, profound, and funny. Rylance is a rare treasure, and the music is exquisite.

Don't see it if you don't like Rylance or baroque music. it's half - concert, & if the music doesn't appeal you might feel bored or disengaged.

During previews
89
Absorbing, Ambitious, Exquisite, Funny

See it if Rylance reigns...emotional range is lightening fast. Great music.

Don't see it if you don't like mental illness on display or baroque (ish) music.

During previews
85
Delightful, Entertaining, Exquisite, Great acting, Great staging

See it if Chamber music, candles & Mark Rylance makes this a perfect evening at the theater. In addition, Melody Grove as the queen is nice discovery.

Don't see it if This production will take you back in time from top to bottom. Rylance is such a natural actor. His acting feels effortless and seamless.

During previews
95
Absorbing, Clever, Enchanting, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you can get a ticket. It will do very strongly. Great show! Mark Rylance is not to be missed!

Don't see it if No reason not to. Get out there and see it!

During previews
76
Great staging, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if You're a fan of opera or period history. The music is sublime.

Don't see it if Staged with period accuracy, with no artificial light or sound amplification. Interesting, but tough if you have hearing or vision issues.

During previews
78
Great acting, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You enjoy Rylance's work, and enjoy historical dramas. The use of music is lovely. The visuals of the set, lighting, and costumes are great!

Don't see it if You don't enjoy slow pieces, or if you are looking for exceptionally strong characters. The whole thing felt one-note and slightly snobby.

During previews
86
Rylance is exquisite, play is ok...

See it if You love Rylance, enjoy superb acting in any vehicle or like to discover historical footnotes.

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable seeing a master actor endeavor to carry an uneven vehicle on his talented shoulders.

Also Possible execution spoiler: While the singing was quite beautiful, I f... Read more Read less

During previews
80
Absorbing, Great acting, Great singing, Intelligent, Intense

See it if you like Mark Rylance, opera, plays about royalty suffering from mental illness, and comic bits coexisting alongside dramatic themes.

Don't see it if you don't like opera (there's plenty in Act II), Mark Rylance's idiosyncratic mannerisms, & plays about kings grappling with mental illness.

During previews
81
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense

See it if You like Shakespearean/historical dramas (even though this is a new play)

Don't see it if Candlelight offends you

During previews
50
Disappointing, Great singing, Superficial, Scenery top heavy, Some amateurish acting

See it if an original story line interests you

Don't see it if you expect great acting (except for Rylance who is charming)

During previews
79
Absorbing, Delightful, Riveting, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you enjoy excellent theatre, well-written, produced and performed. Interesting staging and memorable Mark Rylance acting stint. A highlight.

Don't see it if you don't like straight plays with comic bits, and a lot of talk. And if you don't like costumes and historical events and characters.

During previews
79
Disappointing, Great singing, Beautifully staged and lit, Uneven, Excellent rylance

See it if Rylance fans and fans of Baroque music will love it. It’s staged beautifully, sung w/o amplification, and candlelit. Unusual and lovely

Don't see it if Don’t expect a well-written play, despite a great premise. Avoid if you can’t enjoy Baroque countertenor singing.

Also I was disappointed that this wasn’t better written. Most of first act ... Read more Read less

During previews
80
Great acting, Great singing, Slow, Enchanting, Great staging

See it if you are a fan of Mark Rylance and enjoys period piece with beautiful opera singing.

Don't see it if you want to see something more action heavy and more complex plot.

Also The staging is amazing, and beautifully lid with candle lights. The id... Read more Read less

During previews
88
Entertaining, Enchanting

See it if You appreciate a Globe Theater experience with witty dialogue and exquisite singing

Don't see it if You expect a musical

During previews
86
Great singing, Great staging, Intense, Breathtakingly sad

See it if Wonderfully delevoped story about two individuals trying to live there own lives without living others expectations

Don't see it if You are not interested in history or music


December 17th, 2017
"Strangely enchanting...The language of the script doesn’t always flow melodically. But van Kampen has an illuminating appreciation not only for period music but also for the gap between artists and their art...Watching Rylance’s Philippe experience Farinelli’s voice, we hear what he hears. And a...
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December 17th, 2017
"Davies’s singing provides most of the high notes in this otherwise workmanlike play. The nature of the central musical therapy is barely explored; instead, we get contrived court intrigue, low comedy, a rushed quasiromance, and an equally hasty coda, delivered in a steady march of flat-footed ex...
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December 17th, 2017
"It actually feels like there’s a much more interesting play hiding inside this one...Crane is uniformly fretful throughout. Rylance doesn’t really get much of an arc either...When Rylance isn’t onstage or Davies isn’t singing, it’s serious looking-at-your-watch o’clock...Honestly, even Rylance d...
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December 17th, 2017
"If the play is structurally shaky and thematically a tad thin, Dove's exquisite staging yields compensatory rewards...This is a potentially fascinating story...But the drama becomes borderline inert...Once van Kampen has put Philippe and Farinelli together she doesn't really know what to do with...
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