Great Performances: Barrymore

Great Performances: Barrymore

Friday, January 31 at 9:00 p.m.

83-year-old stage and screen legend Christopher Plummer portrays another titan of theater and film from an earlier age, the acclaimed — and notorious — John Barrymore.

This adaptation of William Luce’s 1997 play is set in 1942 during the final months of Barrymore’s life. On the stage of a Broadway theater, the famously combative star struggles to recreate his performance in Shakespeare’s Richard III.

Once among the most lauded stage actors of his generation, as well as a central member of Broadway and Hollywood’s most famous acting dynasty, Barrymore is now in the twilight of his career, no longer a leading box office draw and wrestling with the ravages of his life of excess.  In equal parts lacerating wit and piercing despair, the faded icon revisits the highs and lows of his theatrical triumphs and remarkable life.

Of Plummer’s performance, critic Rex Reed proclaimed, “It’s the role — and the performance — of a lifetime, and he plays every color, nuance, mood shift and variety of vocal power and body language in his enormous range.  The artistry leaves you with your mouth wide open.”