Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart to Star in U.K. Waiting for Godot

News   Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart to Star in U.K. Waiting for Godot
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart will star as Estragon and Vladimir, respectively, in a new production of Samuel Beckett's 1953 classic Waiting for Godot, which is being staged by Sean Mathias as the first production in his tenure as artistic director of the 2009 Theatre Royal Haymarket Company.

Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart

Mathias follows in the footsteps of Jonathan Kent, who directed three productions there, The Country Wife, The Sea and the musical Marguerite, in 2007-2008.

Godot will tour prior to its arrival at the Haymarket in April, kicking off at Malvern Theatres (March 5-14, 2009), then continuing to Milton Keynes Theatre (March 16-21), Brighton's Theatre Royal (March 23-28), Bath's Theatre Royal (March 30-April 4), Norwich's Theatre Royal (April 6-11), Edinburgh's King's Theatre (April 13-18) and Newcastle's Theatre Royal (April 20-25). It then begins performances at the Haymarket April 30, prior to an official opening May 6, for a strictly limited season that is currently booking to June 28.

McKellen and Stewart first worked together in the original production of Tom Stoppard's Every Good Boy Deserves Favour for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1977 and more recently in the "X-Men" films, as Magneto and Professor X. Each of them has established his own iconic screen persona, as Gandalf in "The Lord of the Rings" (McKellen) and as Jean-Luc Picard in "Star Trek" (Stewart).

McKellen makes his Beckett debut as Estragon. McKellen has previously collaborated with director Mathias, who has directed him in the title role of Uncle Vanya at the National Theatre, the Captain in Strindberg's Dance of Death (West End and Broadway) and as Widow Twankey in two seasons of Aladdin at the Old Vic. Since he started acting in 1961, he has worked nonstop on stage and screen. For the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Companies, McKellen has produced and acted in plays old and new, most recently on the RSC's world tour in the title role of King Lear, alongside playing Sorin in The Seagull. He produced and wrote the screenplay for his film version of "Richard III" and was nominated for an Oscar for "Gods and Monsters" and for Gandalf in "The Lord of the Rings." He recently acted in "Coronation Street" and has just completed ITV's remake of "The Prisoner."

Stewart is currently playing Claudius/Ghost in Hamlet for the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon, and will transfer with it to the Novello Theatre Dec. 3-Jan. 10, 2009. He won an Evening Standard Award, a Critics' Circle Award, a TMA Theatre Award, a Theatregoers' Choice Award nomination, an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination, a Laurence Olivier Award nomination and a Tony Award nomination for playing the title role in Rupert Goold's Chichester Festival Theatre production of Macbeth, which subsequently transferred to the West End and then Broadway. His many other appearances for the RSC include The Tempest and Antony and Cleopatra both in Stratford and at the Novello Theatre. His other London theatre credits include A Life in The Theatre and The Master Builder, and in New York his credits include Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Ride Down Mount Morgan and The Tempest. Stewart performed his acclaimed, award-winning one-man show, A Christmas Carol, both in the West End and on Broadway. His many film and television credits include the "X-Men" films, "Moby Dick," "King of Texas" and "King Lear," as well as his role as Jean-Luc Picard in the "Star Trek" series. He was made an OBE in 2001. Director and writer Mathias most recently directed Triptych at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg and the Southwark Playhouse and Ring Round the Moon for the Playhouse Theatre. Amongst his extensive credits, he has directed Talking Heads for the Theatre Royal Haymarket, A Little Night Music and Antony and Cleopatra for the National Theatre, Suddenly Last Summer for Warehouse Productions at the Comedy Theatre, Shoreditch Madonna at the Soho Theatre as well as Les Parents Terribles for the National (subsequently restaged on Broadway under the title Indiscretions, for which he was Tony-nominated) and Design For Living at the Donmar, for both of which he was awarded the Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Best Director Award. His other Broadway credits include The Elephant Man and Marlene.

Further casting is still to be announced. For this season, the Haymarket Theatre Company will offer a number of top price tickets at £10 for each performance, available on the day of the performance at the box office at 12 noon.

To book tickets contact the box office at 0845 481 1870 or visit www.trh.co.uk. For more details, visit www.waitingforgodottheplay.com.

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