With a career on both stage and screen that stretches across more than 50 years, British actor Ian McKellen is generally considered to be one of the greatest living actors in the world, and someone that can always be counted on to deliver when needed. While McKellen’s career is littered with high-brow drama though, it’s his work in two popular blockbuster franchises that has come to define his legacy in the eyes of many.
The first of those is X-Men, with McKellen having brought Magneto off of the Marvel comic page and into three-dimensional life in multiple installments of the the titular team’s film franchise. The other is Lord of the Rings, the film franchise adapting the classic fantasy writings of author J.RR. Tolkien. McKellen played wizened wizard Gandalf in all three installments of Peter Jackson’s original Lord of the Rings trilogy, and returned to play the character in all three of Jackson’s Hobbit films as well. For better or worse, Gandalf and McKellen are now inextricably linked.
Thankfully, McKellen seems to take the iconic status of his work as Gandalf in stride, and doesn’t at all seem to mind all the notoriety it brings him. In fact, THR reports that McKellen is set to reprise the Gandalf role for the first time since the final Hobbit movie, although not in a new film. Instead, McKellen will star in a one-man stage show at London’s Park Theatre from July 3-9, entitled Shakespeare, Tolkien, Others & You. The show will feature McKellen reprising selected roles from throughout his career, including Gandalf.
Outside of simply reprising some of his most celebrated acting roles, McKellen’s show will also feature the legendary thespian discussing his experiences working with other renowned performers, as well as top-level directors. McKellen will also be taking questions from audience members, and in some cases even inviting them to come up on stage and participate in the performance.
While the always in-demand McKellen remains busy working in film and TV, the primary purpose of doing this one-man show is to raise funds to keep the Park Theatre in business, which reportedly requires over $300,000 in donations per year in order to stay in operation. As such, the ticket prices are expected to be higher than for the average show. Still, for fans of McKellen, the chance to be part of such a once-in-a-lifetime intimate experience with the actor may very well be priceless.