Drama Desk nods for Harris’ Macbeth update

Apr 30 2024 | By | Reply More

Four Drama Desk Award noms for Macbeth (an undoing)

Macbeth (an undoing) returns to the Lyceum on Tuesday 14 May 2024 after a successful international tour in which it picked up four nominations from the prestigious Drama Desk Awards from the New York critics.

The Macbeth update, by the Lyceum’s associate artistic director Zinnie Harris, sees one of theatre’s most iconic female characters take centre stage in Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy. This is a Macbeth which centres around the dark ambitions of Lady Macbeth, who stops at nothing to realise power.

Nicole Cooper (Lady Macbeth) and Emmanuella Cole (Lady Macduff) Pic: Ellie Kurttz

The New York critics have now nominated Harris in the Outstanding Adaptation category; Nicole Cooper as Lady Macbeth for Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play; Alex Berry for Outstanding Costume Design of a Play; and Lizzie Powell for Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play.

Many have wondered why Lady Macbeth, who seems so strong before Duncan’s murder, is the one who crumbles so quickly. Harris sets her version in early 20th-century Scotland and it is Adam Best’s Macbeth who is the more traumatised by his crimes, leaving Nicole Cooper’s Lady Macbeth to hold things together.

The production was first staged at the Lyceum in February 2023 and the revival has been on tour since this March. It had a run at the Rose Theatre Kingston, London, before heading out to the States for month long stay at the Theatre for a New Audience in New York, where it closes this Saturday, 4 May 2024.


Harris’ production intertwines the original text with new lines and explores the tension between what has been seen on stage for centuries – an infamous and tragic chain reaction resulting from a lust for power – and a fuller realisation of Lady Macbeth’s character and her inner world. It is an undoing in every sense of the word.

The nominators considered shows that opened during the 2023-2024 New York theatre season, which the Drama Desk determined ended as of April 25, 2024. Productions must run for 21 or more live performances to be considered eligible.

Nicole Cooper as Lady Macbeth in Macbeth (an undoing) Pic: Ellie Kurttz

In keeping with the Drama Desk’s mission, productions on Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway compete against each other in the same categories, so awards are given for “outstanding” artistry, rather than “best” in a category. All performance categories are gender free with twice as many nominees as the former gendered categories and two winners each.

This year’s Drama Desk awards will be held on Monday June 10 2024 in New York. As implied in their name, they are voted on by a panel of theatre critics, journalists and editors.

The original production of Macbeth (an undoing) received four nods in last years Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland. Cooper was nominated for Outstanding Performance, and it had nods for best design, best technical presentation and best overall production. Hugh Simpson’s review is here: ★★★☆☆ Intriguing.


Macbeth (an undoing)
Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street EH3 9AX. Phone booking: 0131 248 4848.
Tue 14 – Sat 25 May 2024
Tue – Sat: 7.30pm; Mats Weds & Sat: 2.30pm.
Tickets and details: Book here.


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