Theater

David Tennant’s Turn as Richard II to Broadcast in US Cinemas

Doctor Who star David Tennant is not only putting Ten’s brown trenchcoat this Fall, he’s also busy sporting a crown. The actor is currently starring in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Richard II in Shakespeare’s birthplace of Stratford-Upon-Avon, playing the titular monarch who is overthrown by his cousin Boilingbroke. (If this story sounds familiar, it’s because this play was recently included in Great Performances mini-series The Hollow Crown, though in that instance Ben Whishaw was the one giving the famous speech about sitting on the ground and telling sad stories of the death of kings.)

Early reviews praised Tennant’s “mesmerizing” performance in the lead role, even those that were a bit more iffy on the show overall. Though the most often-remarked upon feature does seem to be the impressive mane of hair extensions Tennant is sporting – a long, flowing sort of hairdo that is definitely different than almost anything you’ve seen the actor with before. (It’s also apparently to help underscore the whole Christ-imagery thing in the play itself, but. Well. Wow. There’s a lot of it.)

Luckily, there’s an alternative available for those of us who don’t have tickets or can’t pop to Statford to see this production (and the amazing hair) for ourselves. The RSC has decided to screen the play in cinemas around the world and it’s probably coming very soon to a town near you. (DC locals see the end of this post for details.)

Celebrate 50 Years of the National Theatre with Every British Actor Ever

Well, not quite. But that’s what it feels like.

Britain’s National Theatre celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – much like several other British greats, including the Rolling Stones and, of course, Doctor Who. For those that don’t know, the NT is one of the UK’s two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company. It presents a varied program, staging everything from Shakespeare and international classic dramas to new and modern works by contemporary playwrights.

Saturday night the BBC ran an all-star gala event in celebration of the British theatrical institution – which has featured many of the UK’s acting greats treading its boards over the years – crossing the half-century mark and it was basically a dream program for anyone who has ever been any sort of fan of British film, television or drama. The celebration featured snippets from some of the NT’s most celebrated plays and musicals from the past fifty years, performed by a wide array of British acting greats. Dame Judi Dench sang Send in the Clowns from Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. Dame Maggie Smith (one of the six members of the original NT company in 1963) performed a scene from The Beaux Strategem. Dame Helen Mirren did a scene from Mourning Becomes Electra. James Corden reprised his role from One Man, Two Guvnors, Alan Bennett performed Richard Griffith’s famous role from The History Boys. Michael Gambon and Sir Derek Jacobi did a scene from Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land together. Joey, the amazing puppet from War Horse, put in an appearance. And that’s not even close to everyone who participated. All in all, you couldn’t ask for a more magical evening.

Watch a video montage of scenes from the gala’s rehearsals and play spot the famous face as you go.

From ‘Doctor Who’ to ‘American Psycho’: What’s After the TARDIS for Matt Smith

It’s official: filming wrapped on the 2013 Doctor Who Christmas special this week, which means that Matt Smith has officially hung up his sonic screwdriver as the Eleventh Doctor. Though we’ll see his Eleven in two more episodes before Smith officially departs, the next time filming on the iconic sci-fi series kicks off, Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi will have taken over the role. So, it’s a bittersweet time for Whovians everywhere as one era ends and another begins.

But, all is not lost – with Smith exiting the TARDIS, that means he’ll have plenty of time for new projects. Who’s grueling filming schedule generally meant that its star didn’t do very much outside of play the Doctor, but now he seems poised to take advantage of his new found stardom. Smith already filmed the movie How to Catch a Monster during the break between the 50th anniversary and Christmas specials, and has now turned to the stage for his next project. He’ll be starring in the upcoming musical (yes, musical) production of American Psycho, which is set to begin in London this December.

Kenneth Branagh to Make New York Stage Debut with His Manchester ‘Macbeth’

Remember how we theater-loving Americans were really jealous when we heard about the special production of Macbeth happening in Manchester over the summer, starring no less than Sir Kenneth Branagh and Doctor Who star Alex Kingston in the lead roles?

Sure, the National Theatre Live program broadcast the production, and many American cinemas will be holding screenings of it through the end of the year. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great program, and one which I wholeheartedly support, and it certainly saves ua all a lot of airfare to London, but at the end of the day there’s still nothing quite like being there in person, right?

Well, it turns out that now we can. Or will be able to next Spring, at any rate. Branagh – who was also the co-director of this particular production – will be bringing his Manchester Festival Macbeth to America in 2014 and (surprise!) making his New York stage debut at the same time. Want details? Read on.

Benedict Cumberbatch in Talks to Do ‘Hamlet’ on the London Stage

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch starring in Hamlet in London? Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well, rumor has it that might be just what’s about to happen. So cross everything.

According to The Daily Mail’s theatrical columnist, Cumberbatch is in “advanced discussions” to return to the West End in the Fall of 2014, this time playing Shakespeare’s tortured Prince of Denmark. This would add the actor’s name to a distinguished list of modern Hamlets in recent years, which have included such stars as Ben Whishaw, David Tennant, Jude Law, Simon Russell Beale, John Simm and more.

Read on for what we know so far.

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