Stewart, perhaps best known as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," first appeared on Broadway in Peter Brook's production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in 1971 and has recently been in David Mamet's "A Life in the Theatre" and "Macbeth."
Putting the Beckett and Pinter plays together in repertoire makes theatrical sense since both require four male actors and they both mine a surreal, witty vein.
"Both plays play tricks with our memory, with time, with what time is," said Mathias. "Both plays are dealing with a landscape of poetry, a landscape of psychology, a landscape that is both real and isn't real. So there are incredible reverberations and resonances."
Stewart and McKellen will sink their teeth into Beckett and Pinter after spending the summer filming "X-Men: Days of Future Past." Mathias, a Tony nominee in 1995 for "Indiscretions," will be directing "Breakfast at Tiffany's" on Broadway this spring.
Now a thorny question: Who gets top billing on Broadway — McKellen or Stewart? After all, both actors have gotten knighthoods for their services to drama and the performing arts.
"For me there's no question," Stewart said. "Ian was a star actor while I was still working in regional theater. To be absolutely frank, I was in awe of him and his work long before I knew him."
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