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Jacobi Plays Lear, McCrory & McDiarmid at Donmar

Derek Jacobi will this year make good on his promise to tackle King Lear, reuniting with Donmar Warehouse artistic director Michael Grandage on the new production, which will have a limited season at the Donmar from 7 December 2010 (previews from 3 December) to 5 February 2011.

Grandage has previously directed Jacobi in The Tempest and Don Carlos, both of which transferred to the West End following runs at Sheffield Crucible, and last year’s Donmar West End production of Twelfth Night at Wyndham’s, for which Jacobi won an Olivier for his performance as Malvolio. Jacobi’s other recent stage credits include Thea Sharrock’s revival of A Voyage Round My Father, which transferred to Wyndham’s following a run at the Donmar.

King Lear will be designed by Christopher Oram, with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Adam Cork. No further casting has yet been announced.

Ahead of the Shakespeare, two more stellar-cast plays have been added to the Donmar’s 2010 schedule: the late Simon Gray’s The Late Middle Classes starring Helen McCrory, and Dennis Kelly’s new version of the 19th-century German play The Prince of Homburg, starring Ian McDiarmid and Charlie Cox.

Former associate David Leveaux returns to direct The Late Middle Classes, running from 1 June to 17 July 2010 (previews from 27 May). Premiered at Watford Palace in 1999, the play was expected to transfer to the West End at the time, but was infamously beaten to a Shaftesbury Avenue berth by the pop musical Boyband.

In it, Celia is bored to distraction, her husband Charles is obsessed with work, and their son is having his first lessons in music and in life. Helen McCrory – whose previous Donmar credits include Old Times, Twelfth Night, Uncle Vanya, In a Little World of Our Own and How I Learned to Drive - plays Celia.

The Prince of Homburg, written by Heinrich von Kleist in 1809 and first performed in 1821, tells the story of the heroic commander of the Prussian cavalry who dreams of victory, glory and fame, but whose reckless disobedience during a crucial military operations leads to his greatest battle yet.

Charlie Cox (Stardust on screen, The Lover/The Collection on stage) is the Prince opposite Ian McDiarmid (former Almeida associate director whose Donmar acting credits include Be Near Me, John Gabriel Borkman and Henry IV) as the Elector.

The production reunites the creative team behind last year’s Spanish Golden Age revival of Life Is a Dream: director Jonathan Munby, designer Angela Davies, lighting designer Neil Austin, sound designer Christopher Shutt and composer Dominic Haslam. The Prince of Homburg runs from 27 July to 4 September 2010 (previews from 22 July).

Final casting has also been announced for Polar Bears, the debut play by Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time author Mark Haddon, which is next up at the Donmar, from 4 April to 22 May 2010 (previews from 1 April). Richard Coyle and Jodhi May will be joined by Celia Imrie, Paul Hilton and David Leon, as well as Skye Bennett and Alice Sykes (See News, 19 Dec 2009). Jamie Lloyd directs.


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