“Twelfth Night” starring Anne Hathaway

Looking back at recent productions, I am struck by the strength — and often the prescience — in the casting. When a movie star had one of the two big female roles, bets were usually hedged with a real stage professional in the other part. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio was a radiant Viola to Pfeiffer’s Olivia. Kyra Sedgwick played Olivia to Hunt’s Viola. And look at this: Oliver Platt was madly lovely as Sir Toby Belch in the Smits/Stiles production, with Christopher Lloyd as a terrific Malvolio, and Kristen Johnston and Zach Braff in smaller comic roles.

Look for Hathaway also to be surrounded by formidable theater actors, including Audra McDonald as Olivia and Raul Esparza as Orsino. In 2006, Hathaway said she was more comfortable onstage than in movies. “I trained to be a theater actress,” she said. “Put me in front of a camera and I’m like ’duh.’ But put me on a stage in front of 2,000 people, I know what I’m doing.” So we’ll see.


Shakespeare in the Park’s “Twelfth Night” starring Anne Hathaway, at the Delacorte Theater, Central Park near West 81st Street, in previews for a June 25 opening, through July 12. Tickets are free on the day of performance, two per person, after 1 p.m. in