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The royal court has assembled.
An exciting cast mixing Broadway newcomers with veterans has signed on for the upcoming production of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, King Lear, which will mark the return to the New York stage of Glenda Jackson in the title role following her best actress Tony Award win earlier this year for Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women.
In an unconventional casting stroke that continues in the gender-blind vein of Jackson, Ruth Wilson will play not only the beleaguered monarch’s devoted daughter Cordelia, but also the king’s Fool, who accompanies him into the raging storm. The dual role marks Wilson’s first since her headline-making exit from a starring role on Showtime drama The Affair.
Jayne Houdyshell, a 2017 Tony winner for The Humans, will take on the traditionally male role of another loyal figure, the Earl of Gloucester, tragically betrayed by his illegitimate son Edmund.
Playing that villainous latter role will be Pedro Pascal, best known for his work on Game of Thrones and Narcos, while Lear’s scheming daughters Goneril and Regan will be played by House of Cards alum Elizabeth Marvel and Irish actress Aisling O’Sullivan, respectively.
One of New York’s most distinguished stage performers, John Douglas Thompson, will appear as the Earl of Kent, a role he played to considerable acclaim opposite Sam Waterston’s Lear in a 2011 Public Theater production.
Also among the principals will be Sean Carvajal as Edgar, Dion Johnstone as the Duke of Albany, Matthew Maher as Oswald and as the treacherous Duke of Cornwall, the brilliant partially deaf actor Russell Harvard, memorable in his turn as Mr. Wrench on Fargo. Further casting is to be announced.
Jackson — a two-time Oscar and two-time Emmy winner in addition to her long-overdue Tony — first played Lear to enormous acclaim in London in a 2016 production directed by Deborah Warner that marked the revered actress’ triumphant return to the stage after 23 years as a member of British Parliament. However, the Broadway staging will be an all-new production.
Taking on directing duties is Sam Gold, a 2015 Tony winner for the musical Fun Home, who helmed radically stripped-down, modern takes on Shakespeare’s Othello, with Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo, and Hamlet, with Oscar Isaac.
In a further indication that this will be a bold new interpretation of King Lear, Philip Glass will compose an original score for the production, which will have set design by Miriam Buether, costumes by Ann Roth, lighting by Jane Cox and sound by Scott Lehrer.
Scott Rudin is lead producer on the revival, which begins previews Feb. 28 at the Golden Theatre, ahead of an April 4 opening night. The limited engagement is scheduled to run through July 7.
The 2018-19 theater season includes a typically busy Broadway slate for the prolific Rudin. He is lead producer on Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery, with Elaine May, Lucas Hedges, Michael Cera, Joan Allen and David Cromer; and the just-announced premiere of Taylor Mac’s comedy Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, with Nathan Lane and Andrea Martin; as well as teaming with Lincoln Center Theater on Aaron Sorkin’s new stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, headlined by Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch.
He was a producer on the hit revival of The Boys in the Band, which kicked off the current season, starring Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer and Andrew Rannells; and also is on the producing team of the upcoming Broadway transfer of Jez Butterworth’s London smash, The Ferryman.
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