Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart will star on Broadway in a limited season repertoire of Harold Pinter's No Man's Land and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, directed by Sean Mathias, in the fall of 2013.
Internationally acclaimed for their performances on stage, screen and television, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart will return to Broadway playing in a rotating schedule of two of the most iconic plays of the 20th Century.
Waiting for Godot played a critically acclaimed, sold-out run in London's West End in 2009. Prior to Broadway, No Man's Land will play an out-of-town engagement this summer.
Designs for the productions include sets and costumes by Stephen Brimson Lewis (twice Tony-nominated for Indiscretions) and lighting by Peter Kaczorowski (a Tony Award winner for Contact and The Producers).
The theatre, performance dates and schedule, additional casting and other members of the creative team will be announced shortly.
Ian McKellen made his Broadway debut in Arbuzov's The Promise in 1967 and won the Tony Award for his performance in Amadeus in 1981. Patrick Stewart first appeared on Broadway in Peter Brook's production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1971 and won the Drama Desk Award for A Christmas Carol in 1992. The two actors have appeared together on stage once before. In 1977 they performed in the premiere of Tom Stoppard's Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. Both actors have received knighthoods for their services to drama and the performing arts.
On the announcement, Ian McKellen said "British actors are used to playing in repertory, whether for The National Theatre or the Royal Shakespeare Company. We enjoy the challenge of variety, and audiences, myself included, enjoy watching a group of actors in contrasting roles. We hope, at least once a week, to give Broadway audiences the chance of seeing Beckett and Pinter on adjacent nights, perhaps even on the same day."
"All my acting life, I have been drawn to the principals and practice of a 'company,' and working with familiar, trusted friends/colleagues," said Patrick Stewart, "whether in British repertory theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, "Star Trek" or X-Men. It's not that strangeness/newness isn't exciting - it is - but when there is a common language and experience, then the unpredictable can happen. So, Ian McKellen, Sean Mathias, Stephen Brimson Lewis, Sam Beckett, Harold Pinter- plus two yet-to-be cast actors - it feels good."
In Harold Pinter's No Man's Land we wonder if two writers, Hirst (Patrick Stewart) and Spooner (Ian McKellen) really know each other, or are they performing an elaborate charade? The ambiguity - and the comedy - intensify with the arrival of two other men. Do all four inhabit a no-man's-land between the present and time remembered, between reality and fantasy? No Man's Land was first produced in 1975 by The National Theatre in London with John Gielgud playing Spooner and Ralph Richardson as Hirst. No Man's Land debuted on Broadway a year later.
Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot follows two consecutive days in the lives of Vladimir (Patrick Stewart) and Estragon (Ian McKellen), who divert themselves by clowning around, joking and arguing, while waiting expectantly and unsuccessfully for the mysterious Godot. Waiting for Godot premiered in Paris in 1953, followed by London in 1955 and eventually opened in New York in 1956.
Director Sean Mathias added "In Waiting For Godot, two men exist in a universe that is both real and imagined - a place where time does not always advance towards a future. And as the two men wait, two outsiders enter to disrupt that universe. In No Man's Land, two men inhabit a land that is neither here nor there - a land where time and memory play unreliable tricks. And as these two men converse, two other men who are both familiar and unfamiliar enter this same land with unnerving effect.