Copenhagen

Production history

London Premiere – 1998

Copenhagen opened in the National Theatre in London and ran for more than 300 performances, starring David Burke as Niels Bohr, Sara Kestelman as Margrethe Bohr, and Matthew Marsh as Werner Heisenberg. It was directed by Michael Blakemore.

"Copenhagen" transferred to the Duchess Theatre in London's West End, where it ran from 8 February 1999, for more than 750 performances. It had a "second" cast when it opened in the West End, who were responsible for performing at least one of the matinee shows each week. The second cast consisted of David Baron as Niels Bohr, Corinna Marlowe as Margarethe Bohr, and William Brand as Werner Heisenberg, and after six months, they replaced the original cast for the rest of the West End run.

Broadway Opening – April 2000

Continuing under the direction of Michael Blakemore, it opened on Broadway at the Royale Theatre on 11 April and ran for 326 performances. Starring Philip Bosco as Bohr, Michael Cumpsty as Heisenberg and Blair Brown as Margrethe, it went on to win the Tony Award for Best Play, along with two others for Best Featured Actress in a Play (Blair Brown), and Best Direction of a Play (Michael Blakemore). But even for its success, Frayn admitted in an article that "A number of commentators expressed misgivings about the whole enterprise ." Several critics noted that it was heavy with scientific dialogue, a little too heavy for the common audience. Though a writer from Physics World hailed it as “brilliant theatre ,” a Charles Spencer, of the Daily Telegraph, wrote, "I felt that my brain was being stretched to breaking point—well beyond breaking point, in fact."

TV Movie – 2002

The play was adapted as a television movie in 2002, with Daniel Craig as Heisenberg, Stephen Rea as Niels Bohr, and Francesca Annis as Margrethe Bohr. The movie substantially cuts down the script of the play, eliminating several recurring themes, and most of the material that established the community of scientists in Copenhagen. It also abandons the abstract staging of the theatrical version in favour of being set in the city of Copenhagen, in Bohr's old house.

Recent revivals

The play has been revived at:

  • Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, with Tom Mannion as Niels Bohr, Sally Edwards as Margrethe Bohr, and Owen Oakeshott as Werner Heisenberg. It was directed by Tony Cownie.
  • the New Vic Theatre in Staffordshire with John O'Mahony as Niels Bohr, Jamie Hinde as Heisenberg and Deborah Maclaren as Margrethe Bohr. It was directed by James Dacre.
  • The Living Theatre in New York City with Lou Vuolo as Bohr, Mary Ann Hay as Margrethe, and Keith Herron as Heisenberg. It was directed by Anne Pasquale.
  • The Lyceum theatre in Sheffield with Henry Goodman as Niels Bohr, Geoffrey Streatfeild as Werner Heisenberg and Barbara Flynn as Margrethe. It was directed by David Grindley.
  • Rangashankara in Bangalore with Prakash Belawadi as Niels Bohr, Nakul Bhalla as Werner Heisenberg and Sharanya Ramprakash as Margrethe. It was directed by Prakash Belawadi.

Radio – January 2013

Adapted and directed by Emma Harding for BBC Radio 3 starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Werner Heisenberg, Greta Scacchi as Margrethe Bohr and Simon Russell Beale as Niels Bohr.

  • Balch Arena Theater at Tufts University with Artoun Festekjian as Niels Bohr, Maya Grodman as Margrethe Bohr, and Alex Kaufman as Werner Heisenberg. It was directed by Michael Roubey. February 2013

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