CPTV Celebrates Shakespeare With Premiere of Great Performances’ King Lear With Ian McKellen on Wednesday, March 25 at 8 p.m.

Release Date: 03/16/2009

HARTFORD, Conn. – Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) is celebrating Shakespeare with a wonderful new production of the legendary tragedy King Lear, presented by the PBS series Great Performances. Featuring Sir Ian McKellen in the title role, this production will premiere on Wednesday, March 25 at 8 p.m.

King Lear tells the story of an aging king who decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, according to how much each can profess her love for him. Lear’s pride and poor judgment cause him to fall victim to deception, betrayal and, finally, madness. King Lear is one of Shakespeare’s most poignant tragedies, and it addresses such timeless psychological questions as “Where does our ill behavior come from?”

This telecast includes nearly all the original cast members of the sold-out RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) production that toured internationally before concluding in London earlier this year. Two-time Oscar nominee Sir Ian McKellen garnered rave reviews for his performance as the doomed king, and Romola Garai of Atonement fame plays Lear’s only loyal daughter, Cordelia.

Following Great Performances’ presentation of King Lear, stay tuned for The Hobart Shakespeareans, airing at 11 p.m. The Hobart Shakespeareans is a presentation of the PBS documentary series P.O.V., and it tells the story of Rafe Esquith, an inner-city teacher who taught his “disadvantaged” students to understand and perform some of Shakespeare’s greatest works. These students went on to receive accolades from such Shakespearean actors as Michael York and Sir Ian McKellen himself. At its heart, The Hobart Shakespeareans is an inspiring story about a teacher’s uncommon commitment to his students – and it demonstrates how art can be used to improve America’s beleaguered public school system.

About CPTV

CPTV is a media service of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN, www.cpbn.org). It is a locally and nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including UConn Women's Basketball, original documentaries and educational programming. CPTV has built a reputation as a leader in children’s programming, including playing an historic role in bringing Barney & Friends™, Bob the Builder™ and Thomas & Friends™ to public television.  The station offers 11 hours of positive, nurturing children’s programs each weekday, reaching 50,000 to 70,000 households daily. The Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network also includes WNPR, an affiliate of National Public Radio, Public Radio International and American Public Media. WNPR serves over 200,000 listeners in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island with news and information. Its award-winning local programming includes The Faith Middleton Show and Where We Live. Overall, the network brings a broad spectrum of public affairs, entertainment, sports and educational programming to viewers, listeners and readers. For more information, visit www.cptv.org and / or www.wnpr.org.

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