Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart to Star in 'Waiting for Godot' and 'No Man's Land' on Broadway

Ian McKellen Patrick Stewart Split - H 2013
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Ian McKellen Patrick Stewart Split - H 2013

The two theatre veterans will perform both plays in repertory this fall.

Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart will be facing off once again, this time doing double duty on the Broadway boards in Harold Pinter's No Man's Land and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, both directed by Sean Mathias.

The British stage veterans, famous for their roles as Professor X (Stewart) and Magneto (McKellan) in Fox's X-Men films, will be performing both plays in repertory for a limited engagement this fall.

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"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," McKellan said in a statement.

Stewart added, “All my acting life, I have been drawn to the principals and practice of a 'company,' and working with familiar, trusted friends/colleagues, 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 Pinter’s classic No Man’s Land, which was first produced in 1975 at the Old Vic Theatre in London and debuted on Broadway a year later, Stewart will play Hirst opposite McKellen's Spooner, two writers who either know each other or are performing an elaborate charade with one another. In Beckett's Waiting for Godot, which premiered in Paris in 1953 and New York in 1956, Vladimir (Stewart) and Estragon (McKellen) spend two consecutive days clowning around and arguing all while waiting expectantly -- and unsuccessfully -- for the mysterious Godot.

Both actors starred in a sold-out run of Godot in London’s West End in 2009. They will begin rehearsals for their fall run this summer after after filming X-Men: Days of Future Past, directed once again by Bryan Singer. No Man’s Land will play a short out-of-town engagement this summer. 

Last December, McKellen revealed he has "non-life threatening" prostate cancer, which, given the vigorous rehearsal and performance schedule he has taken on, doesn't seem to be a hindrance.

Stephen Brimson Lewis will handle design duties for both productions, including sets and costumes, with lighting by Peter Kaczorowski (a Tony Award winner for Contact and The Producers). 

It's been over a decade since McKellen has seen the Great White Way. His last appearance on Broadway was in a revival of Dance of Death in 2001. Stewart's was more recent, having starred in David Mamet's A Life in the Theatre opposite former Grey's Anatomy star, T.R. Knight, in 2010. 

The theatre, performance dates, schedule and additional casting will be announced at a later date.

Email: Joshua.Stecker@thr.com; Twitter: @joshuastecker