What Inspired Glenda Jackson’s Gender-Bending Turn in Broadway’s King Lear

Video   What Inspired Glenda Jackson’s Gender-Bending Turn in Broadway’s King Lear
 
The Oscar– and Tony-winning actor talks about her upcoming return to Broadway.

On February 21, Glenda Jackson visited Late Night With Seth Meyers ahead of her latest Broadway show: King Lear. Jackson starred on Broadway last season in Three Tall Women, for which she won a Tony Award. That play marked the actor’s return to the Main Stem after a three-decade hiatus. Just one year later, she returns for a gender-bent production of Shakespeare’s tragedy.

READ: Why Oscar Winner Glenda Jackson Returned to Broadway for Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women

Jackson first played the titular role in a production in London’s West End; that 2016 production had marked her overall return to the theatre, as Jackson had retired from acting to serve in British Parliament. “When I was a Member of Parliament, one of my duties was to visit old people’s homes and daycares and things of that nature, and what was interesting to me ... as we get older, those absolute boundaries of what constitute gender begin to fray,” she told host Meyers. “I thought that was a very interesting aspect of King Lear because he is old—as am I.”

The actor earned an Olivier nomination for her performance. “When I did it in London, we moved from seven shows a week to eight shows a week and the first performance which was our eighth, the entire cast never left the stage, I think because they were waiting for me to die,” said Jackson. The show will play seven performances a week when it begins performances February 28 at the Cort Theatre on Broadway, prior to an official opening April 4. The limited engagement is scheduled through July 7.

Prior to Three Tall Women, Jackson had been Tony-nominated for Marat/Sade, Rose, Strange Interlude, and Macbeth. She has two Oscars for Women in Love (1969) and A Touch of Class (1973).

King Lear, directed by Tony winner Sam Gold, also stars Tony winner Jayne Houdyshell (The Humans), Elizabeth Marvel (Other Desert Cities), Aisling O’Sullivan (Raw), Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones), John Douglas Thompson (Jitney), and Tony nominee Ruth Wilson (The Affair). The production will feature an original score by Philip Glass.

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