Stewart Will Offer Sage Stage Advice in Broadway's A Life in the Theatre

By Kenneth Jones
March 30, 2010

Tony Award nominee Patrick Stewart will play the older actor, Robert, in the upcoming Broadway production of David Mamet's two-character A Life in the Theatre, a spokesman for the production confirmed.



Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Steve Traxler, producers of David Mamet's Race, now on Broadway, will usher in the earlier and warmer Mamet work from 1977, which will make its Broadway debut in the fall at a theatre to be named. (Rehearsals will begin Aug. 23, suggesting a late September launch.)

Stewart is well-known for his work on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and in Broadway's The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, Macbeth and A Christmas Carol. He was Tony Award-nominated for Macbeth.

Stewart played Robert in a well-reviewed 2005 production A Life in the Theatre at London's Apollo Theatre.

Since leaving Broadway in May 2008, Stewart starred in a dual role as Claudius and The Ghost in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamlet, winning an Olivier Award for his performance; as well as opposite Sir Ian McKellen in a sold-out 2009 West End production of Samuel Beckett's tragicomedy Waiting for Godot.

Neil Pepe, artistic director of Atlantic Theater Company, will direct. (Pepe also staged the recent Broadway Speed-the-Plow for Richards, Frankel and Traxler.)

A Life in the Theatre made its world premiere at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago in February 1977 with Mike Nussbaum and Joe Mantegna, directed by Gregory Mosher. The play opened Off-Broadway on Oct. 20, 1977, at the Lucille Lortel Theatre and ran for 288 performances. That production was directed by Gerald Gutierrez and starred Peter Evans and Ellis Rabb.

Here's how the new producers bill the play: "Describing life in the footlights from an actor's point of view, A Life in the Theatre focuses on the relationship between two thespians: Robert, an older, experienced performer; and John, a relative newcomer. Though Robert's guidance is welcomed by John at first, as the play progresses Robert falters as an actor and mentor, and John emerges as a mature actor."

Mamet, the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Glengarry Glen Ross, has also written Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Lakeboat, The Water Engine, The Duck Variations, Reunion, The Blue Hour, The Shawl, Bobby Gould in Hell, Edmond, Romance, November, The Old Neighborhood and the recent adaptation of The Voysey Inheritance, among other plays.

He is a member of Atlantic Theater Company, which he founded in 1985 with William H. Macy.