Comedy gets warm welcome in Gotham

After fewer than three weeks of previews at the Music Box Theater, “Jerusalem” made its Broadway debut Thursday to what its director, Ian Rickson, described as a “giving and responsive” crowd.

The Mark Rylance starrer wrapped up a successful West End run last year, and in its American debut the audience applauded early and often, culminating in four curtain calls.

“We weren’t sure exactly how it was going to be received here,” said co-star Mackenzie Crook. “But the reception has actually been more euphoric.”

For what it’s worth, Rickson never had any doubts.

“I was quite confident — in theory — about this piece of English myth set in this unattractive unknown setting in a dialect full of swearing,” he deadpanned. “I always thought it would play very well here because the core myth is very resonant.”

No one seemed to place his finger on what the core myth was, but the genesis of the cacophonous and swear-riddled show began with quiet fireside poetry.

“Mark Rylance was around my fireplace reading poetry and it gave me chills,” scribe Jez Butterworth said. “I decided I had to make something that good.”

So far, the critics seem to believe he has.

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