Frank Langella to play King Lear at Chichester

image captionFrank Langella has appeared in some two dozen productions over four decades on Broadway

The triple-Tony award winning actor Frank Langella is to play King Lear for the Chichester Festival Theatre.

Langella will star in Shakespeare's tragedy at the Minerva theatre in November.

The production, directed by Angus Jackson, will then transfer to New York in early 2014.

In a career spanning five decades, Langella's stage and screen roles have included Zorro, Dracula and Sherlock Holmes.

One of his best known roles is for playing Richard Nixon in Peter Morgan's play Frost/Nixon, which first ran at London's Donmar Warehouse in 2006. The part earned Langella one of his three Tony Awards.

The play reconstructed the tension behind the famous TV interviews in 1977 between the former US president and British journalist David Frost, played by Michael Sheen.

Langella and Sheen reprised their stage roles in the 2008 movie version, for which Langella received an Oscar nomination.

"We are absolutely delighted to announce that this legendary American actor has accepted our invitation to lead the company of King Lear here at Chichester," said Jonathan Church, artistic director at Chichester Festival Theatre.

He added that he was "equally delighted" to be returning to the Harvey Theater at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) in New York after a previous collaboration, Macbeth, in 2008.

Langella's additional Tony wins were for roles in Seascape and Fortune's Fool, as well as three more nominations for Man and Boy, Dracula and Match.

His recent film appearances include Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Robot and Frank, in which he played an ageing jewel thief.

Upcoming movie appearances include biopic Grace of Monaco, alongside Nicole Kidman, and Stephen Frears' Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight.

The role of King Lear - often cited as one of the most coveted roles for older actors - has been played in recent years by Jonathan Pryce at the Almeida, Derek Jacobi at the Donmar Warehouse and Ian McKellen at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Sam Mendes will direct Simon Russell Beale in a production of King Lear at the National Theatre in January 2014.

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