What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than to celebrate the incredible talent that has graced the stage of London’s National Theatre for the last 50 years. The National Theatre opened its doors in 1963 with Laurence Olivier as its first director. Eight hundred productions later, the venerable institution celebrates its 50th anniversary with a star-studded cast of theater legends all with one goal – to celebrate the remarkable people and plays that have made the NT stage one of the most cherished and creative outlets of international theater: from premieres of plays by Tom Stoppard, Peter Shaffer, Harold Pinter, Alan Bennett and David Hare, to outstanding revivals of classic plays and musicals.
Back in November 2013, Maggie Smith, Ralph Fiennes, Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, Derek Jacobi, Helen Mirren, Michael Gambon, James Cordon, Christopher Eccleston, Andrew Scott and Penelope Wilton, just to name a few, gathered on stage to celebrate the National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage. Airing tonight at 9/8c on PBS, the two-hour retrospective features both live performance from November and rare glimpses from the archive, featuring many of the most celebrated actors who have performed on the National Theatre stages over the past five decades and directed by Nicholas Hytner.
The program was in rehearsal for over 5 weeks with over 100 actors participating in some 25 productions including Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The History Boys, The Mysteries, Angels in America, Guys and Dolls and London Road.
This is a not-to-be-missed broadcast. If nothing else, for the opportunity to see Benedict Cumberbatch reading from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and then The History Boys with Michael Gambon and Derek Jacobi.