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Gaelynn Lea composing original music for new Broadway ‘Macbeth’

left: Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga (Greg Williams, courtesy 'Macbeth'); right: Gaelynn Lea (Paul Vienneau, courtesy the artist)
left: Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga (Greg Williams, courtesy 'Macbeth'); right: Gaelynn Lea (Paul Vienneau, courtesy the artist)

by Jay Gabler

September 29, 2021

Craig. Negga. Lea.

The producers of a new Macbeth on Broadway have tapped the best and brightest stars to fill their stage — and to fill the Lyceum Theatre with music. Duluth's Gaelynn Lea will be composing original music for the production, which will star Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga in the title roles.

The production, which is already billing itself as "the theatrical event of the season," officially opens on April 28, with previews starting a month earlier. Gold is a Tony-winning director known for his skill with Shakespeare; Negga is an Oscar nominee (Loving) making her Broadway debut; and Craig, of course, is about to reprise his role as James Bond in the wildly-anticipated No Time to Die. Barbara Broccoli, a producer of the Bond film series, is also behind the new Macbeth.

"The announcement adds significant star power to Broadway’s first spring since the Covid pandemic shut down the industry in March 2020," writes Deadline. Lea's participation marks the second significant Minnesota connection to a major new Macbeth: filmmaker Joel Coen, who grew up in St. Louis Park and became renowned for his collaborations with brother Ethan, is set to release a movie called The Tragedy of Macbeth that will mark his first movie without his brother.

(Lea's participation will also add to the Zenith City's footprint on the Great White Way: Girl From the North Country, a musical incorporating the songs of Bob Dylan and set in Duluth, returns to the Public Theater on Oct. 13.)

Lea, an artist long beloved by Minnesota music fans, rose to national fame when she won NPR's Tiny Desk Contest in 2016. During the pandemic lockdown, she's kept busy with virtual performances and video interviews. It seems she's been working on some spooky stage music, as well. Macbeth tickets go on sale next month.

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.