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National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage

About the Celebration

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 starry cast of theater legends to applaud the remarkable people and plays that have made the NT one of the most cherished and creative wellspring’s of international […]

National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage

Judi Dench Sings “Send in the Clowns”

Judi Dench sings Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” from the musical A Little Night Music (1973). Dench starred as Desiree in the musical’s 1995 revival at the National Theatre. The role helped Dench to earn an unprecedented double, taking the Olivier award for Best Actress in a Musical in the same year as the […]

National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage

Benedict Cumberbatch in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Watch Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch play Rosencrantz and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith play Guildenstern in a scene from Tom Stoppard’s play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. The play was first performed at The National Theatre in 1967. National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage airs Friday, February 14, 2014, at 9 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage

War Horse Scene

In this War Horse scene performed live at National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage, watch Jack Holden as Albert, and Toby Oliè, Thomas Wilton and Michael Brett as the puppeteers who collectively are the horse Joey. War Horse premiered at the National Theatre in 2007 and won five 2011 Tony Awards on Broadway. South Africa’s […]

National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage

Penelope Wilton and Nicholas Le Prevost in Bedroom Farce

Downton Abbey star Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley) and Nicholas Le Prevost (Shakespeare in Love and a regular of Masterpiece productions including Foyle’s War and Inspector Morse) perform a comic scene as Delia and Ernest, respectively, in Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce. Cold feet and pilchards-on-toast are among the topics of their bedroom banter. The play premiered […]

National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage

James Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors

James Corden performs a slapstick scene from his starring role of Francis Henshall in the comedy One Man, Two Guvnors, which opened at the National Theatre in 2011. Corden starred in the Broadway production that opened in April 2012, and for which he won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play. National […]

National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage

Guys and Dolls: Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat

In 1982, Richard Eyre’s multi-award-winning Olivier Theatre revival of Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling’s “Guys and Dolls” became the biggest hit of the National Theatre’s first 20 years. In National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage, Clive Rowe reprises his role as Nicely-Nicely from 1996, when he was part of the revival of Richard […]

National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage

Ten Tales, Play by Play

By DANIEL ROSENTHAL Daniel Rosenthal, author of The National Theatre Story, the definitive new history of the National Theatre of Great Britain, looks back at the original productions of ten of its most celebrated shows, as featured in Great Performances: 50 Years on Stage, airing Friday, February 14 at 9 pm. Enter to win a […]

Sting: The Last Ship

Highlights from The Last Ship

See images from Sting’s home town and hear him perform songs from his new album and forthcoming musical The Last Ship. The 16-time Grammy Award-winning musician shares an intimate evening of music and storytelling live at The Public Theater in New York City. Sting: The Last Ship will air on Great Performances, Friday, February 21, […]

Barrymore, Starring Christopher Plummer

Full Episode

Distinguished star of stage and screen Christopher Plummer recreates his Tony Award-winning role playing the legendary actor John Barrymore in the film adaptation of William Luce’s Broadway play. Barrymore airs on Great Performances, Friday, January 31 at 9 pm, ET on PBS (check local listings). Set in 1942, Barrymore shines a dramatic spotlight on the […]