Stephanie Zacharek: To start with, I’m extremely curious about Jude Law in Hamlet.
Scott Brown: I’ve been struggling to work up any interest in Law for years. His performances always feel so Ken-doll smooth that my attention just slides right off. As if he’s encased in Lucite. I mean, did you see Closer? Brrrrr.
S.Z.: But that frostiness might be perfect for Hamlet. And he has such a relaxed, elegant carriage—maybe he’s got Hamlet in his muscles, as well as in his head and heart?
S.B.: I’m more excited about David “Doctor Who” Tennant as Hamlet on PBS next year. Tennant is a nerd heartthrob, the anti-Jude: Heedless derangement is his default, which ought to make for one zany Dane.
S.Z.: Speaking of wack-bird Shakespeare: Peter Sellars is directing Othello at the Public, with John Ortiz and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Ortiz is a lively choice for Othello—he may have just the right amount of seductive, purring smoothness.
S.B.: I’ve always thought of Othello as a sadomasochistic love story between two narcissistic beta males who want to destroy each other, and they have the chemistry to pull that off. The Public seems to be selling this as the first post-Obama Othello …
S.Z.: These days, everything can—and probably will—be called “post-Obama.” But the first post-Obama Finian’s Rainbow? I’d like to see that on a marquee.
S.B.: Can you believe it’s back? On Broadway? I mean, I adore that score, and the 2004 Irish Rep production shimmered. But let’s just lay it out: This is a 1947 musical in which a racist southern senator is “turned black” by leprechaun magic. That’s three demographics (if we include leprechauns) alienated by intermission.
S.Z.: It may well be a new entry in the “Revivals: What were they thinking?” department. Then again, reinvention keeps theater alive. I’m eager to see what Doug Hughes does with George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber’s The Royal Family. Much as I hate saying “They don’t write ’em like that anymore,” in this case they really don’t. Also, I’ve long had a girl-crush on Gina Gershon, and John Stamos is a mischievous, underrated performer, so I can’t wait to see them together in Bye Bye Birdie.
S.B.: Are we “sharing”? Well then: I’m all a-tremble to see Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room (Or the Vibrator Play) at Lincoln Center. I dig Ruhl: her cheek, her speed, and the unfussy way she prioritizes the situational over the psychological. Now she’s writing about the late-nineteenth-century medical practice of inducing “paroxysms” in “hysterical” women, using a magic quivering box. Sounds a bit like porn—the kind no one’s making anymore.