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

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Holy Crap is this awesome.

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 this fall.

Directed by Sean Mathias, the pair return to Broadway playing in a rotating schedule. The theatre, performance dates and schedule, additional casting and other members of the creative team will be announced shortly.

Rehearsals for the unprecedented repertory will begin this summer after McKellen and Stewart finish filming the next installment of the ”X-Men” film series in their signature roles of Magneto and Professor Xavier.

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.   

On the announcement, 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 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 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.

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.

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Lance Carter is an actor and the Editor of Daily Actor.

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