PBS has a special tonight (Friday) on the 50th anniversary of the National Theatre in London. It starts at 9 PM in Los Angeles and the East Coast. (I will be setting the DVR, mind you, as the Olympics have precedence here, as you might imagine.)
Here's what they say on the PBS website --
The National Theatre opened its doors in 1963 with Laurence Olivier as its first director. Eight hundred productions later, the venerable institution celebrates its 50th anniversary with a starry cast of theater legends to applaud the remarkable people and plays that have made the NT one of the most cherished and creative wellspring’s of international theater: from premieres of plays by Tom Stoppard, Peter Shaffer, Harold Pinter, Alan Bennett and David Hare, to outstanding revivals of classic plays and musicals"
...Extracts range from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (with Benedict Cumberbatch) to The History Boys (with playwright Alan Bennett and original stars James Corden and Dominic Cooper), and from Mourning Becomes Electra (with Helen Mirren and Tim Pigott-Smith) to Bedroom Farce (with Maggie Smith’s “Downtown Abbey” co-star Penelope Wilton).
There are musical numbers from A Little Night Music (Judi Dench singing “Send in the Clowns”), My Fair Lady (Alex Jennings as Henry Higgins leading Eliza and Pickering in “The Rain in Spain”), and Guys and Dolls (Clive Rowe bringing down the house with “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat”).
Priceless archival scenes include Noel Coward’s Hay Fever (with Maggie Smith), Amadeus (with Paul Scofield), and Richard III (with Ian McKellen). There are felicitous juxtapositions of then and now, such as Smith’s youthful turn in the Coward play followed by her live-on-stage speech from Farquhar’s The Beaux’ Strategem.
A special treat is Joan Plowright recreating her Saint Joan on the stage of the Old Vic, the home of the original National Theatre – prior to the construction of the present South Bank complex — run by husband Olivier.
The cast of 100 also includes Roger Allam, Simon Russell Beale, Frances de la Tour, Christopher Eccleston, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi, Rory Kinnear, Adrian Lester, Anna Maxwell Martin, Andrew Scott, and many more.
There is a video preview for thems what are interested. Click here for it.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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