Christopher Plummer, having just ended a summer's worth of performances in the title role of Shakespeare's monumental tragedy, King Lear, at the Stratford Festival in Canada, is hoping the production makes it to New York City, he is telling reporters.
Plummer, 72, told the London (Ontario) Free Press that negotiations are underway for Lincoln Center Theater to present a January 2004 staging based on the 2002 Stratford production.
A spokesperson for the prestigious Ontario festival confirmed to Playbill On-Line Plummer's revelation that Lincoln Center was the New York producer with whom "discussions are underway" for "doing King Lear based on the Stratford Festival's 2002 production," but had no further comment beyond the fact that talks are in the preliminary stages and that nothing is a done deal. Lincoln Center, like many theatres exploring new projects, has announced nothing on the subject.
Renowned British director Jonathan Miller directed the 2002 Stratford staging but since a New York production would only be "based on" the Canadian production, it's not yet known who of the Ontario cast or creative team might continue should the New York staging go ahead; speculation has it that a hybrid American and Canadian cast may play Manhattan.
If Lear does happen at Lincoln Center Theater in 2004, it means the famed Manhattan not-for-profit would have a Shakespeare-heavy 2003-04 season: The troupe previously announced Jack O'Brien will direct a Dakin Matthews-penned adaptation of the Bard's Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 for fall 2003, featuring Kevin Kline and Richard Easton. Plummer told The London Free Press he won't play Lear more than eight weeks in New York, and he would do five performances a week.
Plummer, whose days as a young actor were spent at the Tyrone Guthrie-founded Stratford Festival, returned there in maturity to play John Barrymore in Barrymore in 1996. The two-actor play moved to Broadway and won Plummer a Best Actor Tony Award.
Plummer's current project is a brief tour of a holiday concert show, A Royal Christmas, which he co hosts with his "Sound of Music" co-star, Julie Andrews. Readings of famous yule tales, with Plummer and Andrews reading, are part of the show.