Could this actually be Larry Cedar’s first Shakespearean role?
If so, is he out of his mind?
No disrespect is intended to the man who is a stage and TV/film veteran and a mainstay in productions for the Colony Theatre and - when it’s operating at least – the Reprise Theatre Company. Pop culturalists will probably recognize Cedar more quickly as the opium-addicted card dealer of “Deadwood” (or, going back further, the not so imaginary gremlin who drove John Lithgow nuts in “Twilight Zone: The Movie.”) The L.A.-born actor, who cut his TV-teeth in 1978 in a role in “Battlestar Galactica,” has a solid acting career including, most recently, the solo show “American Fiesta” at the Colony, three Ovation nominations and one victory.
When I’ve seen Cedar live, I’ve usually seen him funny: “She Loves Me” at Reprise, multiple roles in “Around the World in 80 Days,” the un-stuffy Brit wooing Rachel York’s Reno Sweeney10 years ago in "Anything Goes" for Reprise, etc. etc.
And, indeed, the Porters of Hellsgate, who have given Cedar his next live stage assignment, are trumpeting his comic pedigree in their PR stuff:
“Cedar's crowd-pleasing physical and facial dexterity holds the house in his pocket.”
-Back Stage West
“The charms of Larry Cedar must be sung. The tall, acerbic actor, known for this
delicious turns in Reprise's “She Loves Me” and HBO's “Deadwood” is the reason to see
Celadine, Charles Evered's Restoration-style romp now at the Colony Theatre...At ease
with Celadine's ornate language and screwball sensibility, the actor signals to the
audience he has everything well in hand.”
-The Los Angeles Times
All well and good. Thing is, Cedar is acting in the PoH’s production of Shakespeare’s “King Lear.”
What’s more, Cedar is playing King Lear.
Not a lot of yuks in “King Lear,” unless you count the odd guffaw in between Lear going mad and Gloucester’s eyes being gouged out.
Didn’t see a single Bard credit in the November 2012 biography Cedar used for “American Fiesta” on the Colony website. He’s got an MFA in Theater from UCLA back in the 1970s, so presumably there was a classical role in there somewhere. Either way, welcome to Everest, sir.
The production bows this weekend and runs through Feb. 9 at Studio/Stage, 520 N. Western Ave., L.A. Thomas Bigley’s cast also includes Leon Russom, Michael Bigley, Dana DeRuyck, Sean Faye, Jamey Hecht, Jo D. Jonz, Gus Krieger, Christina MacKinnon, Kate O'Toole, Alex Parker, Tim Portnoy, Kevin Stidham, Hilary Schwartz, and Jesse James Thomas. (818) 325-2055, www.brownpapertickets.com.