People are Talking about- The summer of Shakespeare
June 2001

Fans have long swooned over Billy Crudup's looks ‑that smile, those eyes‑ understandable, considering his role as a free‑loving rock star in Almost Famous. But this month, after a three‑year stage absence, the actor tackles the New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater's Measure for Measure. So let us, for a moment, focus on Crudup's brain, a feature equally worth perusing. "Shakespeare requires a kind of intelligence," says director Mary Zimmerman, an ability to exist inside the body of the character and of the poem." That's precisely why Crudup plays the puritanical Angelo. "The nuance of his emotions and his intellectual journey is utterly fascinating," says the 32‑year‑old New Yorker, hoping to explore the naïveté behind Angelo's actions. "His problem is his lack of life experience. He's never been in love or overwhelmed by feelings. But things change‑and it's interesting to see that moment when someone grows up.