Sir Ian McKellen is to return to London’s West End this year as King Lear, in what he has hinted might be his final major Shakespearean role.
The 78 year old stage and cinema veteran has been starring in Jonathan Munby’s production of ‘King Lear’, where it had enjoyed a short, sold-out run in Chichester’s Minerva Theatre at the end of 2017.
Fittingly, the production will run at the Duke of York’s theatre, where McKellen made his award-winning acting West End debut 54 years ago when he starred in ‘A Scent of Flowers’ by James Saunders.
‘King Lear’ will run for 100 performances at the Duke of York’s from July 11th to November 3rd, with tickets available now.
“King Lear again: 100 performances at Duke of York’s in London where I made my West End debut 1964,” McKellen tweeted on Thursday (February 8th). “It’s a small theatre but we shall make it even more intimate by removing half the stalls seats.”
It isn’t the first time that the legendary thespian has played King Lear, which is arguably Shakespeare’s most famous tragic character. Over a decade ago in 2007, McKellen played the part in a production by Sir Trevor Nunn at the New London Theatre – shocking the crowds by appearing completely naked onstage for a key scene. He has also played the roles of Edgar and Kent in other productions of ‘King Lear’.
The full casting of the new run of Munby’s production is set to be announced in due course.
McKellen has enjoyed an illustrious career on stage and screen over more than half a century, during which he has brought to life some of Shakespeare’s most iconic roles including Hamlet, Macbeth, Iago, Richard II and Richard III.