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George Christy Talks About Glenda Jackson, King Lear, William Shakespeare and more!

Jack Dylan Grazer and Zachary Levi were having fun during the SHAZAM premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre.
Grace Fulton
Dolph Lundgren and daughter Ida Lundgren

Posted Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 5:20 pm

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Age 42.

When he planned retiring to a life in the countryside.

And yet he wrote three of his most powerful and popular dramas during that year of 1606.

William Shakespeare was already a legend in his native land.

The new plays? Macbeth, Antony And Cleopatra, and King Lear.

The role of Lear has seduced a wide swath of actors: John Gielgud (twice), Sir Laurence Olivier (twice), Ian McKellen, Anthony Hopkins and, not long ago, Spain’s brilliant actress, Nuria Espert tackled the role of the mad monarch. All the while encouraging British superstar Glenda Jackson to tackle the role in London, and on Broadway, where it opened this month at the Cort Theatre.

A performance that encompasses major rewards for audiences experiencing this gender-bending surprise. An experience that will dominate the annals of Broadway performances for decades.

Glenda Jackson, at age 82 and after 23 years as a member of the UK Parlia- ment, conquers the irascible character of Lear, determined to divide his vast kingdom among his three daughters Goneril, Regan and Cordelia.

An historical moment in Broadway history that theater buffs will discuss and proudly assess, “I was there, I saw Glenda Jackson perform Lear. I will never forget this.”

The Sam Gold production has had its ‘yeas’ and ‘nays’ from the critics, but no matter, it’s Glenda Jackson’s homerun that counts.

Her acute intelligence and power grip of acting talent will invoke memories until Kingdom Come, from what our sources in New York reveal.

The stunning successes of Glenda Jackson’s career virtuosity on stage and in film are a tapestry of Oscar and Tony-worthy roles that include Kings and Queens and captivating local yokels.

Destined to fulfill any actresses’ dream, having won Oscar and Tony awards as Glenda has.

The critics speak:
“Tiny but mighty Glenda Jackson carries this Lear on her back … though she may be little she is fierce…although Jackson fails to ring tears let alone blood, from this production, the shear intelligence of her performance makes it memorable.” (Marilyn Stasio, Variety)

“Making her entrance in a tuxedo with a smart boyish haircut, the Jackson’s Lear roars with authority and rebuke. The imperious manner resounds in the way Jackson theatrically rolls her Rs. Her Lear clearly relishes the pomp and circumstance…”(Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times)

“A gender-blind production, by the magnificent Glenda Jackson. The searing pathos of Lear’s abject diminishment seems all the more powerful given the steely authority that precedes it.” (David Rooney, The Holly- wood Reporter)

“Ms. Jackson is like a sharp and gleaming scythe slashing through an overgrown field. Lear may be one of world literature’s most disturbingly lost souls. But Ms. Jackson hews to his tortured path with such insight that we register every twisting contour in a dispossessed monarch’s road into madness and redemption.” (Ben Brantley, The New York Times)

Looking into the future, showbiz newsmakers are enthralled that Phenomenal Woman: An evening With Maya Angelou is being developed for Broadway. The premier is anticipated in 2021.

Having known Maya (I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings) during private luncheons and at parties, we liked to recall her sentiment: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

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