Lincoln Center Aiming King Lear for February 2004

News   Lincoln Center Aiming King Lear for February 2004
Lincoln Center Theater is putting details together for a production of King Lear to start in February 2004 with septuagenarian Christopher Plummer in the title role, a spokesman for the company confirmed.

There is no official announcement of a cast and creative team, but it's expected that renowned British director Jonathan Miller will stage the epic, based on elements of the production he staged starring Plummer at Canada's Stratford Festival in summer 2002.

That staging, per the director's wish, had no design but had the company revel — or in this case, howl and wail and rail against the storm — on a bare stage that brought the text and players to the fore. Stratford celebrated its 50th season last summer, and used Plummer, who cut his teeth with the company decades ago, as the season's jewel in the crown.

Playbill On-Line previously reported in December 2002 that Plummer had told reporters he hoped the staging made the border-cross to New York City. Plummer told the London (Ontario) Free Press that negotiations were underway for Lincoln Center Theater to present an early 2004 staging based on the 2002 Stratford production.

A spokesperson for the prestigious Ontario festival previously 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."

The famed Manhattan not-for-profit will 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. Billy Crudup is now part of the company, as well, a spokesman confirmed Feb. 14. Plummer told The London Free Press in 2002 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 most recent project was a brief tour of a holiday concert show, A Royal Christmas, which he co-hosted with his "Sound of Music" co-star, Julie Andrews. Readings of famous yule tales, with Plummer and Andrews reading, were part of the show.

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