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Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart Star in 'Waiting for Godot,' 'No Man's Land' on Broadway

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Nov 04, 2013 11:27 PM EST | Louise Burton

Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart Star in 'Waiting for Godot,' 'No Man's Land' on Broadway

The two Sirs, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, face off in Harold Pinter's classic play 'No Man's Land' during its pre-Broadway run at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California. (Photo : KevinBerne.com)

Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley are currently starring in two plays on Broadway: Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Harold Pinter's No Man's Land.

The two plays are currently in preview performances at the Cort Theater in New York. Opening night is scheduled for November 24.

The productions, directed by Sean Mathias, look for commonalities between these two classic plays of the 20th century. Pinter's comedy No Man's Land presents two writers, both old men--one prosperous, the other decidedly less so. They continue drinking and talking into the night. It is unclear whether they know each other, or are merely performing an elaborate charade. The ambiguity deepens when two other men arrive.

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Vladimir and Estragon wait by a tree on a lonely road in the absurdist masterpiece Waiting for Godot. The two men pass the time by clowning around, joking and arguing, while waiting expectantly for the mysterious Godot. Instead, two travelers arrive--one at the end of the other's rope.

It is rare for two actors of the stature of Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart to perform together in not one, but two plays in repertory on Broadway. McKellen has regularly been leading man for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Great Britain. Most recently, he played King Lear for the RSC at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He is also well known for his solo show Acting Shakespeare, which toured the U.S.

McKellen has also starred in more than 40 movies. He co-produced, co-scripted and starred in his film adaptation of Richard III in 1996. He played Gandalf in Peter Jackson's movies The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. McKellen was also the villain in The Da Vinci Code and the mutant Magneto in the four X-Men films (with Patrick Stewart, no less).

Stewart is, himself, a veteran of dozens of RSC productions. He recently played Shylock in a 2011 RSC production of The Merchant of Venice, and appeared as Prospero in The Tempest in 2005. Stewart has also appeared in many Broadway productions, including his solo production of A Christmas Carol, in which he played more than 40 characters.

Stewart is perhaps best known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation, both on television and film, and as Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men films.

Billy Crudup has appeared in many Broadway productions and is a familiar presence on film, appearing in Rudderless, The Convincer, Too Big to Fail, Eat Pray Love, Watchmen, Public Enemies, Dedication and Mission Impossible III, among many others.

Shuler Hensley also has many Broadway credits, appearing as Monster in Young Frankenstein, Jud Fry in Oklahoma!, and Javert in Les Miserables, among many others.

This ensemble of four actors will appear in both plays for a limited run until March 2, 2014. For more information, please visit twoplaysinrep.com.

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