(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) suffered damages from Tropical Storm Ida and is currently closed. The venue is offering a special production of Ian McKellen's wildly popular one-man show for home audiences. Ian McKellen On Stage: With Tolkien, Shakespeare, Others and YOU will be available on demand from Friday, September 17 to Sunday, October 3. In this 152-minute production, the 82-year-old performer reprises many of his award-winning roles and shares anecdotes. Some proceeds from this show will support SOPAC’s recovery efforts.
McKellen made his professional debut at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry in 1961. He reached superstardom later in life from 2000 onward when he played Magneto in the X-Men films and Gandalf in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. On the West End, he has portrayed several characters from works in William Shakespeare’s cannon. Throughout his 60-year career, McKellen has amassed a collection of more than sixty major acting awards, including a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and seven Laurence Olivier Awards, including a special Olivier for this one-man show.
McKellen, who is also a LGBTQ rights activist, kicked off Ian McKellen On Stage before the pandemic in 2019 to celebrate his 80th birthday. The touring production served as a fundraiser for regional theaters in his native England and other arts-related charities.
The show was filmed by National Theatre Live in front of an audience at the Harold Pinter Theatre in January 2020. This video on demand is being accessed through the virtual platform, On The Stage.
The Telegraph says of the show: “Warmth, wit and wizardry. Come one, come all and marvel.”
Referred to as more of a “dinner party with Ian McKellen” than a performance, the show is praised for its rich collection of personal stories. “You can tell you are merely scratching the surface of what this guy has lived,” says a reviewer for The Break A Leggers YouTube blog.
Since 2006, South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) has been serving as a premier performing arts center in the region. SOPAC offers innovative artistic and cultural experiences for diverse audiences in an intimate, inviting environment. The arts center hosts a variety of live performances, community events and education programs for all ages. SOPAC is home for Seton Hall University Arts Council’s performances, including the Classical Concert Series, Jazz ‘N the Hall performances and Seton Hall University Theatre productions. SOPAC programs are made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.