Bridgerton's Jonathan Bailey Cast as Richard II on London Stage

Jonathan Bailey takes on a new Shakespearean challenge

by Zain ul Abedin
Bridgerton's Jonathan Bailey Cast as Richard II on London Stage
© Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Jonathan Bailey, whose acting has been recently brought to the mainstream through the show "Bridgerton," will be playing Richard II in a new version of Shakespeare’s play. The show is set to be produced by the prolific Nicholas Hytner and shot at the Bridge Theatre in London.

This reunion is the second time that Bailey and Hytner have worked together after the 'Othello' production at the National Theatre in 2013, in which Bailey took up the role of Cassio. He also played Edgar in King Lear at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2017, along with Ian McKellen.

Currently, at the age of 36, Bailey is set to take on his largest Shakespearean role as Richard II. Certainly, his portrayal of Lord Anthony Bridgerton, coupled with Simone Ashley’s Kate Sharma, has made him a global celebrity.

At the moment, Bailey is working on the shooting of one of the new "Jurassic World" films and getting ready for the press tour of the filming of "Wicked," where he plays the role of Fiyero.

Bailey's Stage Evolution

After the popularity of ‘Bridgerton,’ Bailey appeared in the much-acclaimed television miniseries "Fellow Travellers." In this series, he portrays the character of Timothy Laughlin, a congressional staff in the 50s, and a homos-xual relationship with Hawkins Fuller, played by Matt Bomer.

The staging of Hytner’s "Richard II" will be again in the round (which has been called for this play a cross between around and through), unlike "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" or "Julius Caesar." Hytner told The Guardian that Richard II does not lend itself to the intimacy of immersive theatre.

Hytner further clarified that the main concern of “Richard II” is what one should do with a monarch who is considered incompetent. The play raises the question of how one gets rid of an incompetent but lawful king, and Shakespeare does not provide a clear solution to this question.

On one hand it supports Richard’s right to the throne, while on the other, it asserts that Bolingbroke is the better king. The production will explore the process of transformation of a feudal society on the eve of the modern world.

Another performance is scheduled for February 10 at the Bridge Theatre, and the audience can expect a thought-provoking experience watching this Shakespearean play.