Lincoln Center's King Lear Has Tony Winners Christopher Plummer and Brent Carver, February 2004

News   Lincoln Center's King Lear Has Tony Winners Christopher Plummer and Brent Carver, February 2004
The Lincoln Center Theater staging of King Lear starring Christopher Plummer in the title role will include major Canadian performers, including Tony Award winner Brent Carver as Edgar, in February 2004.

Christopher Plummer stars as King Lear.
Christopher Plummer stars as King Lear.

Jonathan Miller directs the staging with Tony winner Plummer, re-creating work they did for the renowned Stratford Festival in summer 2002. Some cast members from that staging will return to this New York production. The cast at the Vivian Beaumont Theater starting Feb. 11, 2004, will include James Blendick, Domini Blythe, Benedict Campbell, Brent Carver, Ian Deakin, Claire Jullien (as Cordelia), Barry MacGregor, Lucy Peacock, Stephen Russell and Brian Tree, all well-known names in Canada. Carver was Tony-nommed for playing Leo in the musical Parade at Lincoln Center Theater. He won the Tony Award for playing Molina in Kiss of the Spider Woman, the musical.

This will mark Stratford's first major presence in New York City since fall 1998, when the troupe brought Much Ado About Nothing and The Miser to City Center. Stratford regular Brian Bedford is up for a 2003 Tony Award for Roundabout Theatre Company's Tartuffe.

Lincoln Center Theater's production of King Lear will have sets by Ralph Funicello, costumes by Clare Mitchell, lighting by Robert Thomson and original music composed by Berthold Carrière. Opening is March 4, 2004. The run is being billed as a limited engagement, and the performance schedule has not yet been announced. Plummer had previously indicated in published reports that he would not play the strenuous role eight performances a week.

Single tickets will be on sale in early 2004, a spokesman said.

* The staging is produced by Lincoln Center Theater in association with the Stratford Festival of Canada. The 2002 Stratford production, per the director's wish, had minimal 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 in 2002 and used Plummer, who cut his teeth with the company decades ago, as the season's jewel in the crown.

Septuagenarian Christopher Plummer won two Tony Awards for his respective performances as John Barrymore in the drama Barrymore (which also originated at the Stratford Festival) and in the title role in the musical, Cyrano.

Considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest works, King Lear "is a sweeping tragedy of evil and anguish, a stark tale of an old and vain king who foolishly divides his kingdom between his two eldest daughters, who conspire against him, while banishing his youngest daughter who loves him," according to the Stratford Festival release.

Jonathan Miller began his career as a doctor of medicine, and is renowned for his direction of Shakespearean plays, operas and other classics. He also co-authored and appeared with Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Peter Cook in the legendary satirical review Beyond The Fringe. A former artistic director of London's Old Vic, Dr. Miller’s memorable productions include The Merchant of Venice with Sir Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright, The Taming of the Shrew for the RSC, The Tempest with Max Van Sydow, the Broadway and London productions of Long Day's Journey Into Night starring Jack Lemmon, and 11 plays for the BBC's Shakespeare series.

Lincoln Center Theater 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, Richard Easton and Billy Crudup.

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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