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KING LEAR OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: January 7, 2014
Synopsis: A legendary presence on stage and screen, Tony Award-winning and Oscar-nominated actor Frank Langella takes on King Lear. Betrayed by his daughters and shaken by his own mortality, Shakespeare’s aging patriarch wanders mad, as a kingdom disintegrates in the wake of his divested power. Langella joins forces with Britain’s Olivier Award-winning company Chichester Festival Theatre to present this monumental interpretation of the Bard’s tragedy.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"Hey, who shut off the power? A magnificent incredulity flows, as hot and coursing as lava, from Frank Langella’s King Lear when he discovers that people are no longer quaking when he commands. It is evident in the affronted set of those boulder shoulders that here is someone who has never, ever been disobeyed. You just know that whether on the battlefield, at court or in the bedroom, Lear has always had only to crook his finger — and Mr. Langella knows how to crook — to have his every whim acted upon. And now, what’s this? Lesser mortals are ignoring the king’s demands, as if he were just anybody. Make that nobody. And that’s a shock to the system from which this aged monarch will never recover.
"A truly great play gives you something new with each viewing. Shakespeare's King Lear is undoubtedly one of the greatest from an already much-lauded playwright. The Chinchester Festival Theatre production, which stars Frank Langella in the title role, emanates a freshness that invades your nostrils from the very earliest moments. This riveting and violent Lear is now making its U.S. premiere at BAM's Harvey Theater. It's a revival of a classic that few are likely to forget."
"Given Frank Langella’s rock-solid stage background, it should come as no surprise that the old lion makes a formidable monarch in King Lear. Under Angus Jackson’s firm helming, the Chichester Festival Theater production of the Shakespeare tragedy is all business — no bells, no whistles, no bluster. Super-clean staging and tight ensemble work provide strong support for Langella, who turns in a thoughtful, moving, and well-rounded perf that is only the teensiest bit hammy. (Die, already!) "
"In his recent quasi-memoirs, Frank Langella lives up to his first name, candidly describing the sexual juju that, in his youth, he so graciously shared with his older leading ladies. It’s outrageous boasting, of course, but completely believable if you’ve ever seen him onstage, because he sure likes to screw with an audience. I can only hope he left Rita Hayworth and Yvonne DeCarlo as satisfied as he leaves us. "
"In an abundant season of Shakespeare that has ranged from the exhilarating Elizabethan presentations on Broadway of the Globe’s Twelfth Night/Richard III double to the bewitching stagecraft of Julie Taymor’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, star-driven Shakespeare seems almost passé. But a persuasive argument in its favor comes via Frank Langella’s mighty interpretation of the broken monarch in King Lear. The actor’s emotionally and physically potent performance is fortified by sterling work from an accomplished ensemble and simple but striking design choices, making Angus Jackson’s vigorous production as lucid and gripping an account of this classic tragedy as an audience could desire."
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