STAGE TUBE: Christopher Plummer, Des McAnuff Talk CTG's A WORD OR TWO on Opening Night
Academy Award, Tony Award and Emmy Award winner Christopher Plummer takes the stage for 16 performances only in a Center Theatre Group special event, "A Word or Two," which opened at the CTG/Ahmanson Theatre on Wednesday, January 22, 2014. Written and arranged by Plummer and directed by Tony Award winner Des McAnuff, "A Word or Two" is presented in association with the Stratford Festival of Canada and continues through February 9, 2014. Click below to watch interviews with Plummer and McAnuff on opening night!
Plummer, who confesses to being "hooked on the intoxication of words," spent much of his time growing up in Montreal reading Ben Jonson, George Bernard Shaw, Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling, A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, Lord Byron, Dylan Thomas, W.H. Auden and Stephen Leacock, and others. His personal take on these literary giants forms a journey from childhood to old age.
Christopher Plummer has enjoyed 60 years as one of theatre's most respected actors and is a veteran of over 100 motion pictures. He began his professional career on stage and radio in both French and English in Montreal. While there, he also had the good fortune to work with the great Russian theatre guru Fyodor Komisarjevsky.
After Eva Le Gallienne gave him his New York debut (1954), he went on to star in many celebrated productions on Broadway and London's West End. He has won two Tony Awards - for the musical "Cyrano" and for "Barrymore" (which played to acclaim at the Ahmanson Theatre in 1998) - plus seven nominations, his latest for his King Lear (2004) and for his Clarence Darrow in "Inherit the Wind" (2007).
He is a former leading member of The Royal National Theatre under Sir Laurence Olivier and the Royal Shakespeare Company under Sir Peter Hall where he won London's Evening Standard Award for Best Actor in "Becket" (1961). In 1968, sanctioned by Elizabeth II, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada (an honorary knighthood). He has also led Canada's Stratford Festival in its formative years under Sir Tyrone Guthrie and his mentor Michael Langham, and again recently under Des McAnuff's regime. He is widely recognized as one of the finest classical actors of his time.
Since Sidney Lumet introduced him to the screen in "Stage Struck" (1958), his range of notable films include "The Man Who Would be King," "Battle of Britain," "Waterloo," "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country," "Twelve Monkeys" and the 1965 Oscar-winning "The Sound of Music." More recently, his films have included the Oscar-nominated "The Insider," (in the role of Mike Wallace which won him the National Critics Award), the Oscar-winning "A Beautiful Mind," "Must Love Dogs," "The Man in the Chair," "Syriana," "The Inside Man," the title role in "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" directed by Terry Gilliam, and the highly praised animated films "Up," "9" and "My Dog Tulip." In 2010 he played the great novelist Tolstoy in "The Last Station," directed by Michael Hoffman, where he received an Academy Award nomination. He followed that up in 2011with another nomination and won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in "Beginners," written and directed by Mike Mills. He also appeared in David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" that same year. In 2013 he completed "Elsa and Fred," directed by Michael Radford in which he stars opposite Shirley MacLaine, and "Imagine" opposite Al Pacino and Annette Bening from writer/director DAN FOGELMAN.
His almost 100 TV appearances include the BBC's Emmy-winning "Hamlet at Elsinore" playing the title role, the Emmy-winning productions "The Thornbirds," "Nuremberg," "Little Moon of Alban," "The Money Changers," and many others, including most recently "Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight," produced by HBO. He has won two Emmys and received six Emmy nominations.
Plummer has also written for the stage, television and the concert hall. His recent memoir, "In Spite of Myself" (Alfred A. Knopf), is being lauded by critics and public alike.
Director Des McAnuff is a two-time Tony Award-winning director and the immediate past Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival. He is also Artistic Director Emeritus of La Jolla Playhouse where, during his tenure, he directed more than 30 productions of classics, new plays and musicals including Rex Pickett's "Sideways," "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," "The Wiz," "Dr. Zhivago," "Palm Beach," Aaron Sorkin's "The Farnsworth Invention," "Tartuffe" and "Jesus Christ Superstar." Under his leadership, The Playhouse received more than 300 theatre awards, including the 1993 Tony Award as America's Outstanding Regional Theatre.
This past year he was awarded Canada's esteemed Governor General's National Arts Center Award and the Order of Canada. In June 2011 he was honored with a doctorate from Ryerson University and in 2005 he received the prestigious Julia Hansen Award for lifetime achievement in directing.
On Broadway, he has directed "Jesus Christ Superstar" (2012), "Guys and Dolls" (2009), Aaron Sorkin's "The Farnsworth Invention" (2007), "Jersey Boys" (2006, four Tony Awards including Best Musical), Billy Crystal's "700 Sundays" (2004, Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event), "Dracula the Musical" (2004), "How to Succeed..." (1995), "The Who's Tommy" (1993 Tony Award for Best Director; 1997 London Olivier Award for Best Director/Best Musical), "A Walk in the Woods" (1988), "Big River" (1985, seven Tony Awards including Best Director, Best Musical).
At Stratford McAnuff has directed "A Word or Two," "The Tempest" and "Caesar and Cleopatra" (all starring Christopher Plummer), "Tommy," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Twelfth Night," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." His work also includes opera, including productions of "Faust" at the Met & ENO, "Wozzeck" at San Diego Opera. McAnuff's film credits include "Cousin Bette" and "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle" (director), "Iron Giant" (producer) and "Quills" (executive producer). His latest projects are "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," "Sideways" at the La Jolla Playhouse, "Dr. Zhivago" and the Broadway revival of "700 Sundays."
Tickets for "A Word or Two" are available by calling (213) 972-4400, visiting www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, or in person at the Center Theatre Group box office at the Ahmanson Theatre. Tickets range from $20 - $90 (ticket prices are subject to change). The Ahmanson Theatre is located at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012.
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