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October 25, 2014

GreatPerformances

Patrick Stewart Talks About 'Hamlet,' 'Macbeth' and His IT Guy... Wil Wheaton

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 20th 2010 2:02PM
Sir Patrick StewartMost people know the recently-knighted Patrick Stewart from his movie and TV roles, many of which are of the sci fi / fantasy variety. Of course, there's Jean-Luc Picard of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation,' but there's also Charles Xavier in the 'X-Men' series and the voice of Avery Bullock on 'American Dad.'

But back in his native England, Sir Patrick is just as well known for his Shakespearean work, both on-stage and on the screen. Some of that work will be on display on April 28, when he reprises the role of Claudius (he first played the role on TV 30 years ago) in PBS's production of 'Hamlet' on 'Great Performances.' As Nick mentioned yesterday, the production, with David Tennant in the title role, mixes the classic dialogue with modern dress and settings to give the play a more contemporary feel.

Stewart will also perform in the title role of 'Macbeth' for a similarly-staged production airing on PBS later this year. I sat down with Sir Patrick in January, when he presented at the TCAs; we spoke about the two productions, what his classic training brought to his 'Star Trek' role, his guest turn on 'Extras' and how his first ever IT guy was none other than Wil Wheaton.

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David Tennant and Patrick Stewart In a Classic 'Hamlet'

by Nick Zaino, posted Apr 19th 2010 9:02AM
David Tennant and Patrick Stewart in 'Hamlet' on PBS's 'Great Performances' If you are going to play Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company, you could do a lot worse for practice than playing Doctor Who for five years. Both characters depend on a certain amount of madness, something at which David Tenant is especially adept. And there is, as Shakespeare says of his sweet prince, a certain method to that madness.

That said, the version of 'Hamlet' airing April 28 on PBS's 'Great Performances' (and appearing on DVD May 4) is not the good Doctor as Danish prince. There are flashes of that, especially in Hamlet's early scenes with Polonius (a masterful Oliver Ford Davies) and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. That's where Tennant plays with a pitch-perfect blend of humor and cunning, spinning just short of out of control. And there is a beautiful sense of irony when Hamlet looks into the camera and says that time is out of join and it's his job to fix it.

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Check out the trailer for Spike Lee's passionate Passing Strange

by Mike Moody, posted Aug 25th 2009 5:33PM
Having trouble staying awake today? This high-spirited trailer for Spike Lee's vibrant documentary/musical, Passing Strange, should help get you going.



We told you about Passing Strange back in May when PBS picked it up as part of its Great Performances series. Lee's doc is a filmed version of the theatrical stage production of the Tony nominated Broadway musical of the same name. It's about a young black man who travels to Europe in the 1970s to become an artist and live a bohemian lifestyle.

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Spike Lee's Strange heading to PBS

by Mike Moody, posted May 1st 2009 1:07PM
spike lee passing strangeTrailblazing filmmaker Spike Lee has done some great work for TV. One of my favorite Lee TV projects is Sucker Free City, his underappreciated pilot/telemovie for Showtime about San Francisco's criminal underground. And who could forget the Emmy Award-winning Hurricane Katrina doc When the Levees Broke for HBO?

Lee is returning to TV with his latest project, Passing Strange, which has just been picked up by PBS' Great Performances series at the Tribeca Film Festival. Strange is expected to air on PBS next year.

The film is a theatrical stage production of the Tony nominated Broadway musical of the same name. It's about a black man who travels to Europe in the 1970s to find himself. The music is by Mark Stewart, or Stew, an acclaimed L.A. based singer/songwriter.

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