About 18 months ago, former HBO Films chief Colin Callender moved his family back to Manhattan – he’s from the U.K. and spent the better part of three decades working with company head Chris Albrecht. He’d already started Playground LLC, with producing interests in film, television and Broadway. Now he’s got two Tony contenders: Harvey Fierstein’s Casa Valentina, which he co-produced with Fred Zollo and Bob Cole with the Manhattan Theatre Club, and the revival of Hedwig And The Angry Inch, which has affirmed that even — or maybe especially — as a slightly-botched-job transsexual German rock star, Neil Patrick Harris can sell out the house seven times a week at premium prices.
But before the Tony Awards on June 8, he has another venture that literally — well, physically, at least — dwarfs both those shows: Kenneth Branagh’s New York acting debut in the title role of the Scottish play, an import from Manchester, England having a limited run in the vast, demanding expanse of the Park Avenue Armory. What was once a regimental marching hall has been converted to the battlefield opening of the play, which promises to launch Shakespeare’s drama of power, lust and powerlust with a visceral thrill. For Callender, who got his start working at the Royal Court Theatre, it’s like going from sub-atomic particles to Gravity. Or something.