Director Sam Gold’s Broadway production of “Macbeth,” which stars Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga, was already a tall order for its cast, who had only four weeks of rehearsal before previews began. It was made more difficult by multiple COVID cases, including Craig’s, that caused the production to close for 11 days earlier this month. But on Thursday evening, the cast prevailed, celebrating the show’s opening at the Longacre Theatre on 48th street.
“Like everybody else on Broadway, we’ve just had to sort of step up,” Craig told Variety. “What’s been amazing is that the audiences have been coming, and their confidence is really all that matters. We want to try and give them confidence to come and see the show. Most of us have had COVID now, so we should be good to go.”
On April 14, Gold made headlines when he stepped in for Chicago-based actor Michael Patrick Thornton in the role of Lennox, after Thornton also tested positive for the virus. Gold revealed to Variety that a “genius assistant stage manager” helped him by reading the character’s lines into his ear throughout the preview performance.
“I have such a gorgeous company that supported each other in such a beautiful way, and we all were moved to just keep the show going,” Gold said. “I wanted to be out there to make sure that the audience got to see the work of all those beautiful actors. It was easy with that in mind — I just focused on the cast.”
Negga spoke about her take on the notorious Lady Macbeth, who was most recently tackled by Frances McDormand in Joel Coen’s Oscar-nominated “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” A film star who achieved critical acclaim in 2021’s “Passing,” Negga said she’s “not used to talking about something in the middle of it” because in films “it’s done, you’ve had time to digest it,” while theater is “a moving entity.”
“She’s a very vibrant, loving woman who wants to do something,” Negga said of her character. “[She] feels limited by the nature of power and how that has chosen only some people based on gender, color, class … Power only corrupts when it’s meted out in unfair ways.”
“Macbeth” has a limited run, with a current closing date of July 10. Amber Gray, who garnered a Tony nomination for her role as Persephone in the 2019 best musical “Hadestown,” said she’s learned a “totally different skill set” by taking on the role of Banquo. While she spent more than seven years playing Persephone, “Macbeth” had a much faster turnaround time before its opening night.
“That’s like a whole lesson in just making a choice and committing and hoping for the best,” Gray said. “Even in the last week, the show is getting deeper and deeper by the day, which is awesome. Even a month from now, we’ll have a more marinated, special show.”