Bernhardt / Hamlet BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus


  • NY 1



  • EW

Opening Night:
September 25, 2018
November 18, 2018

Theater: American Airlines / 227 West 42nd Street, New York, NY, 10036


Mark Twain wrote: “There are five kinds of actresses: bad actresses, fair actresses, good actresses, great actresses. And then there is Sarah Bernhardt.” In 1897, the international stage celebrity set out to tackle her most ambitious role yet: Hamlet. Theresa Rebeck’s new play rollicks with high comedy and human drama, set against the lavish Shakespearean production that could make or break Bernhardt’s career. Janet McTeer, “one of the finest classical actresses of her generation” (The Telegraph), brings the legendary leading lady to life.

  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Bernhardt / Hamlet

    What’s a Woman’s Role? All of ’Em, ‘Bernhardt/Hamlet’ Argues

    Jesse Green

    September 25, 2018: Is it chance or synchronicity that brings “Bernhardt/Hamlet,” a muscular comedy about a woman unbound, to Broadway at this grim transitional moment in gender politics? Either way, Theresa Rebeck’s new play, which opened on Tuesday at the American Airlines Theater, is so clever it uplifts, so timely it hurts. That’s a depressing thing to say about a story set in 1899 in that temple of chauvinism, the French popular theater. Janet McTeer stars as Sarah Bernhardt, then in her mid-50s and aging out of the dying courtesan roles that made her world-famous. As far as Shakespeare is concerned, she is caught in the gap between Ophelia and Gertrude. So why not try Hamlet?

  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF Bernhardt / Hamlet

    Broadway’s Mighty Janet McTeer Brings Legend To Life

    Greg Evans

    September 25, 2018: Whatever combination of passion, narcissism and bravery swirl to form an actor’s decision to tackle Hamlet must merit a spot in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Short of that, we’ll have to rely on the wondrous Janet McTeer’s star turn in Theresa Rebeck’s spirited, funny new play Bernhardt/Hamlet to guide us up theater’s Mount Everest. Opening tonight at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s American Airlines Theatre, Bernhardt/Hamlet is based on a real-life chapter in the life of legendary stage actress Sarah Bernhardt. Rebeck’s play – by turns comedy and drama – goes backstage as “the Divine Sarah” rehearses for her scandalous, much-anticipated debut as the Dane.

  • NY1 REVIEW OF Bernhardt / Hamlet

    Theater Review: 'Bernhardt/Hamlet'

    Roma Torre

    September 25, 2018: Theresa Rebeck is a gutsy playwright. In writing about Sarah Bernhardt's quest to play Hamlet in 1897, she created a nearly impossible challenge for herself, seeking an actress who could live up to Bernhardt's iconic status as the greatest actress alive. Rebeck did get lucky, casting the incomparable Janet McTeer, but while topically resonant, "Bernhardt/Hamlet" is dramatically inert. Mixing fact and fiction, Rebeck taps into our contemporary feminist leanings, detailing Bernhardt's determination to take on the role of Shakespeare's most famous protagonist. 19th Century society wasn't ready for a woman — no matter how great an actress — to play a man.

  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Bernhardt / Hamlet

    Broadway Review: ‘Bernhardt/Hamlet’ Starring Janet McTeer

    Marilyn Stasio

    September 25, 2018: Love the boots! The sexy black ones that Tony winner Janet McTeer (“Sorry For Your Loss,” “Ozark”) dons to play the actress Sarah Bernhardt in the role of Hamlet are mentioned more than once in “Bernhardt/Hamlet,” Theresa Rebeck’s flattering account of that diva’s historic 1899 appearance before a skeptical Parisian audience. In McTeer’s enthralling performance, this is a sexy, proud and very fashionable woman. At 55 years old, the French actress is the toast of the theatrical world, managing her own theater company, playing any role she fancies and having her pick of lovers. At the moment, she’s enamored of the 31-year-old French playwright Edmond Rostand, played with manly vigor and intelligence by Jason Butler Harner. What heights were left for her to scale but Shakespeare’s most enigmatic hero?

  • CHICAGO TRIBUNE REVIEW OF Bernhardt / Hamlet

    Theresa Rebeck's 'Bernhardt/Hamlet' needed to stick with the Dane and the diva

    Chris Jones

    September 25, 2018: Bernhardt’s audacious act on both stage and film — then a work of creative sedition that caused critics and patriarchs to splutter with righteous indignation — is the topic of playwright Theresa Rebeck’s lively, weaponized, often confusing and richly caustic new Broadway play, “Bernhardt/Hamlet,” now by the Roundabout Theatre Company with the remarkable classical actress Janet McTeer in the leading role. When the play sticks to the words that reside on the marquee — that would be “Bernhardt-slash-Hamlet” — the work is a fascinating reminder that before any social change becomes mainstream, someone has to be a pioneer, and that someone often twists painfully in a storm until there’s enough supportive wind beneath her wings. So it went with the French-born Bernhardt, who leveraged her own singular stardom to make her Hamlet possible, reminding us that the previously empowered often are in the best spot to do seditious stuff. But only if, like Bernhardt, they have enough guts.


    Janet McTeer shines in Bernhardt/Hamlet on Broadway

    Leah Greenblatt

    September 25, 2018: It’s enough to know, in other words, that the actress who inhabits her in Bernhardt/Hamlet has serious shoes (or more specifically, suede thigh-high riding boots) to fill. And when Janet McTeer strides in, she feels completely right. Not because the Tony winner and Oscar nominee necessarily resembles her muse: Blond, British, and over 6 feet tall, she hardly could. But at 57, she crackles with the vitality, sensuality, and flytrap wit of a genuinely lived-in diva. And, of course, the vanity: “No one upstages me,” she coos early on, batting away even the idea with a wave of her hand.



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