Great Performances: Noël Coward’s Present Laughter

Air date: 11/03/2017

Tony Award-Winning Kevin Kline in Noël Coward’s Present Laughter on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances Continuing PBS’s Broadway’s Best Lineup Friday, November 3 at 9 p.m. on PBS

Acclaimed production also stars Kate Burton, Kristine Nielsen, and Cobie Smulders

Kevin Kline’s Tony Award®-winning performance in Noël Coward’s Present Laughter, first produced in 1942 with Coward himself in the leading role, comes to PBS Friday, November 3rd at 9 p.m. (check local listings) continuing the Great Performances marathon within PBS’s Fall Broadway’s best lineup.

Noël Coward’s Present Laughter follows a self-obsessed actor in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Juggling his considerable talent, ego and libido, the theater’s favorite leading man suddenly finds himself caught between fawning ingénues, crazed playwrights, secret trysts and unexpected twists.

Noël Coward’s Present Laughter joins She Loves Me (October 20), and Indecent (November 17), and Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn (November 24) as part of PBS’s Broadway’s best lineup, all directed for television by Emmy Award®-winner David Horn, executive producer of both Great Performances and THIRTEEN’s local Theater Close-Up series. The four titles are co-productions with theater streaming service BroadwayHD and THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET.

Also airing as part of the Broadway festival are Great Performances encore presentations of In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams (November 10) and Hamilton’s America (in December), up-close looks at the making of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway hits, In the Heights and Hamilton respectively.

Critics unanimously raved about Kline in this revival. David Rooney in The Hollywood Reporter enthused, “Talk about a match made in heaven. Kevin Kline was born to do Noel Coward, and his casting as Garry Essendine, the 1930s stage star and aging playboy at the center of his own eternal melodrama in Present Laughter, yields a performance of unimpeachable skill, made all the more delectable by its lightness of touch.”

The performance earned Kline the best actor honors at the 2017 Tony Awards, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards. The cast is also headed by three-time Tony® and Emmy® Award nominee Kate Burton (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy), Tony Award® nominee Kristine Nielsen (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), and Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your MotherJack Reacher: Never Go Back) in the Broadway debut which earned her the Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut. Stage direction is by Tony Award® nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel (Hand to God).

The ensemble of Noël Coward’s Present Laughter includes Matt Bittner, Ellen Harvey, Peter Francis James, Tedra Millan, Bhavesh Patel, Reg Rogers and Sandra Shipley, with Kelley Curran, Rachel Pickup, James Riordan, and David L. Townsend.

The creative team for Present Laughter features set design by Tony Award® winner David Zinn, costume design by Tony Award® winner Susan Hilferty, lighting design by two-time Tony Award® nominee Justin Townsend, sound design by Fitz Patton, and hair design by Josh Marquette. Casting by Telsey + Company.

Noël Coward’s Present Laughter was produced on stage by Jordan Roth, Jujamcyn Theaters, Spencer Ross, A.C. Orange International, Eric Falkenstein, Grove Entertainment, Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, Stephanie P. McClelland, Harbor Entertainment, Joe Everett Michaels / Robert F. Ryan, Daryl Roth.

For BroadwayHD, this performance of Present Laughter is produced by Stewart F Lane; Jordan Roth, Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley are executive producers.

Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. Throughout its more than 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming.

For Great Performances, Mitch Owgang is producer; Bill O’Donnell is series producer; David Horn is executive producer.

The Great Performances presentation is funded by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, the Irene Diamond Fund, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Agnes Varis Trust, The Starr Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, the Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, The Abra Prentice Foundation, Rosalind P. Walter and PBS.  .

Visit Great Performances Online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information about this and other programs.

###

About WNET
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Theater Close-Up, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.

About BroadwayHD

Since launching in 2015, BroadwayHD has aimed to extend the reach of Broadway-caliber productions to theater fans all over the world. BroadwayHD is the only theater streaming service of its kind, offering Broadway to all through an unprecedented theater experience. In addition to exclusive live-streamed content, BroadwayHD offers subscribers unlimited on-demand access to a lineup of over 200 theater productions from the comfort and convenience of their own homes—or wherever streaming is possible. It’s the Broadway you know and love, curated from the stage to your screen. BroadwayHD subscribers can stream BroadwayHD on BroadwayHD.com, Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, iPad, iPhone and Android mobile devices.

Photos
For editorial use in North America only in conjunction with the direct publicity or promotion of GREAT PERFORMANCES. No other rights are granted. All rights reserved. Downloading this image constitutes agreement to these terms.

Kate Burton and Kevin Kline in Broadway's PRESENT LAUGHTER. Credit: © Joan Marcus

Cobie Smulders and Kevin Kline in Broadway's PRESENT LAUGHTER. Credit: © Joan Marcus

Kristine Nielsen, Kate Burton, and Kevin Kline, in Broadway's PRESENT LAUGHTER. Credit: © Joan Marcus

Kevin Kline and Kate Burton in Broadway's PRESENT LAUGHTER. Credit: © Joan Marcus

Kevin Kline in Broadway's PRESENT LAUGHTER. Credit: © Joan Marcus