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Great Performances broadcasts master class of a lifetime on Valentine’s Day

Tell your sweetheart that you want to cuddle up in front of the TV after dinner on Valentine’s Day for this once in a lifetime opportunity to be inspired by world class actors doing world class work on a world class stage.

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH as Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard (the play was first performed at the National Theatre in 1967 with John Stride and Edward Petherbridge in the title roles).
©Catherine Ashmore

The National Theatre celebrated its 50 year anniversary with a live theatrical production of epic proportions, National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage, and PBS will be broadcasting its US premiere at 9:00 p.m. ET on Friday, Feb. 14 (check local listings). This stellar production features some of the most legendary actors of our time recreating original roles, along with rarely seen archival footage from original productions. Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith, Derek Jacobi, Ralph Fiennes and Ian McKellen are just a few of the legends to have strutted the boards at the National Theatre that perform in the celebration. Benedict Cumberbatch, Rory Kinnear, and Adrian Lester are also among the cast of 100, all of whom are National Theatre veterans.

Opening in 1963 with Laurence Olivier as its first director, the National Theatre now boasts a history of 800 theatrical productions, including revivals of classical plays, musicals and world premieres from internationally lauded playwrights such as Tom Stoppard, Peter Shaffer, Harold Pinter, Alan Bennett and David Hare. Scenes from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The History Boys, Mourning Becomes Electra, Bedroom Farce, A Little Night Music, Guys and Dolls, and My Fair Lady are among the historic offerings.

UPDATE: It's now online at

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