A Life in the Theatre: Patrick Stewart to star

Patrick Stewart is to return to the New York stage starring in the Broadway premiere of David Mamet's A Life in the Theatre in the leading role of 'Robert.' The show marks a return for Stewart, who previously played the role in a 2005 production at London's Apollo Theatre.

Stewart last appeared on Broadway in the title role of Rupert Goold's 2008 modern retelling of 'Macbeth,' for which he earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Play. Since leaving Broadway in May 2008, Stewart starred in a dual role as 'Claudius' and 'The Ghost' in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of 'Hamlet,' winning an Olivier Award for his performance; as well as opposite Sir Ian McKellen in a sold-out 2009 West End production of Samuel Beckett's tragicomedy 'Waiting for Godot.'

Stewart, a highly respected stage actor, is best known for his role as "Captain Picard" in the TV series "Star Trek - The Next Generation."

A Life in the Theatre will be directed by Neil Pepe, who directed the acclaimed revival of Mamet's Speed-The-Plow on Broadway last season.

Describing life in the footlights from an actor's point of view, A Life in the Theatre focuses on the relationship between two thespians: 'Robert,' an older, experienced performer; and 'John,' a relative newcomer. Though Robert's guidance is welcomed by John at first, as the play progresses Robert falters as an actor and mentor, and John emerges as a mature actor.

Mamet was inspired to write A Life in the Theatre by what he had observed backstage as well as by his own experiences in his early career as an actor.

A Life in the Theatre will be produced on Broadway by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Steve Traxler, the lead producers of the current 'Race' and recent production of 'Speed-The-Plow.'

A Life in the Theatre had its London premiere at the West End's Apollo Theatre from 27 Jan - 30 Apr 2005. The show starred Patrick Stewart as (Robert) and Joshua Jackson (John), and was directed by Lindsay Posner.

The London production opened to mixed reviews, but Charles Spencer of the Telegraph wrote "Proves funny, affecting and, by Mamet's macho standards, unexpectedly tender."; Michael Billington of the Guardian said "Perfectly enjoyable"; Benedict Nightingale of The Times praised the production saying "Lasts 85 minutes, but, unlike some pieces that are aeons longer, it packs three plays into its short, enjoyable span."; and Peter Brown of www.londontheatre.co.uk wrote "successfully commands the attention of the audience, and it's enjoyable as well as humorous."

Patrick Stewart as 'Robert' from the 2005 London production

Originally published on

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