In early September after a full day of rehearsal, Patrick Stewart, T.R. Knight, and director Neil Pepe met with journalists at a midtown pub to discuss their upcoming show, A Life in the Theatre. Written by David Mamet in 1977, the play is making its Broadway debut (it ran off Broadway the year it was published) and focuses on the backstage life of two actors in a repertory theater company—one whose career is nearing its end and the other’s whose is just beginning.
Pepe, who last directed Speed-the-Plow on Broadway, describes the play as a “love letter to the theater,” due to its focus on the behind-the-scenes lives of actors. Stewart says taking part in the production is an appropriate move, given his shared affection for theater that he and his character Robert have. After a long string of years working on the X-Men film franchise, Stewart noted that he has since worked almost exclusively in the theater, getting back to the medium he prefers. “My life has been spent in dressing rooms back stage, where every scene of our play takes place,” Stewart said. “All I ever wanted to be was a stage actor. Everything else that has happened to me was an accident. A happy accident; but an accident nonetheless.”
Video: Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight talk last-minute checks before going on stage and kooky mentors