Jerusalem – the story so far…
Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2009. Directed by Ian Rickson, the original cast included Mark Rylance, Mackenzie Crook, Alan David, Aimeé-Ffion Edwards, Danny Kirrane, Charlotte Mills, Sarah Moyle, Harvey Robinson and Barry Sloane – all of whom reprise their roles in the present West End production. The play was an immediate hit, dubbed “an invigorating, yelping, defiant portrait of 21st century shires England” (Daily Mail), and confirming Mark Rylance as “one of our finest stage actors” (Evening Standard).
At this point, Mark Rylance had become cemented in theatre-going legend as Johnny “Rooster” Byron, the delightfully riotous Pied Piper of Wiltshire. In 2010, the production, transferred to the heart of London’s West End at the Apollo Theatre, where it was once again a sell-out hit with queues around the block, gleaning more 5-star reviews than any other West-End play in history, as well as two 2010 Olivier Awards. Jez Butterworth’s play was hailed as “wildly original, exceptionally funny,” and Mark Rylance as “the must-see performance of a lifetime” (Mail on Sunday).
In April 2011, the entire production, caravan and all, crossed the Atlantic to New York City’s Music Box Theatre for a 20-week run on Broadway. The play enchanted American audiences, earning rave reviews and numerous awards including Mark Rylance receiving the coveted Tony Award for Best Actor. As The New York Times wrote, “We theatergoers are starved for a sense of the mythic, for performances we can talk about with glassy-eyed rapture in the years to come. Mr. Butterworth, Mr. Rickson and Mr. Rylance have provided us with that opportunity. Except in this case the mythic is no mere myth.”
Returning to London with two new cast members from its Broadway production, Max Baker and Geraldine Hughes, as well as two new British cast members, Johnny Flynn and Sophie McShera, Jerusalem has returned to roost in its original West End home at the Apollo Theatre for a limited 14-week run, ending on the 14 January 2012. London audiences have been given the extraordinary opportunity to catch this magnificent production once again – you won’t want to miss it!
The Jerusalem play text is available from the Apollo Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre shop.