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Ian McShane

Ian McShane

Ian McShane - Gorgeous AND Versatile - Heck, he even sings! What's not to love?



I found this basic list at Broadway.Com and I shall tweak it as I uncover other tidbits of info.

For plot summary's, photos and any other info I could find, see Next Table below.
Infanticide in the House of Fred Ginger
Fred Watson
Arts Theatre
How Are You, Johnnie?
Philip King
Johnnie Leigh
Vaudeville Theatre
The York Corpus Christi Plays
Various Unknowm Authors
(City of York)
The Easter Man
Brett Heath
Globe Theatre
The Glass Menagerie
Tennessee Williams
Haymarket Theatre
Joe Orton
UK National Tour
The Promise
Aleksei Arbuzov
Fortune Theatre
Miller's Theatre
Peter Ransley
John Sutcliffe
Hampstead Theatre (London)
As You Like It
William Shakespeare
Long Beach Theatre Festival
(Long Beach, CA)
The Big Knife
Clifford Odets
Charlie Castle
Watford Palace Theatre
(Watford, England)
Harold Pinter
LA Critics Awards for Best Actor
Actors for Themselves Theatre
Inadmissable Evidence
John Osborne
Bill Maitland
LA Critics Awards for Best Actor
Actors for Themselves Theatre
Matrix Theatre
(Los Angeles, CA)
The Admirable Chrichton
J.M. Barrie
Chichester Festival Theatre
(Chichester, England)
Yield of the Long Bond
Larry Atlas
Paul Rosario
Matrix Theatre
(Los Angeles, CA)
Witches of Eastwick
John Dempsey & Dana Rowe
Darryl van Horne
Theatre Royale
The Homecoming
Harold Pinter
Cort Theatre

Stage Productions

PLOT SUMMARYs, Photos and/or any other info I could find for some of the plays IAN McSHANE has done

Ian McShane in Infanticide in the House of Fred Ginger Infanticide in The House of Fred Ginger (Charley)
by Fred Watson - M8,F1
[Arts Theatre (London) 1962]

First produced, 1962, London

Doollee.Com ~

I have searched and searched the web, but could find nothing about this play other than the number of actors it takes - all I knew is what the A&E article says - that McShane played "the killer who fed gin to a child." But I have finally found a Theatre World magazine from Oct 1962 with some photos. There is not really an article, but the plot is told through the photo captions and I will try to combine and summarize here:

Jerry Lassiter (John Normington) is a misfit working the night shift at a factory. With his wife Catrine (Sylvia Kay) and their baby, Jerry now rents a room from Fred Ginger (John Colin), and Catrine, who is an ex-nurse, is daily more appalled at the squalor of their lives, and the instability of her husband. Fred Ginger is a porter at the hospital where Catrine and Jerry once worked. He and his wife are separated and his son Charley (Ian McShane) has just been dismissed from the army for attempting to rape the colonel’s daughter. Joe Fellows (Peter Russell) studies Shakespeare by candlelight while baby sitting for the Lassiters. Joe evidently suffers from some anxiety disorder and is in no shape to cope with Charley and his friends when they confront him.

One night, while the Lassiters are at the cinema, Charley brings his two drunken friends (John Hurt as Knocker White and Tony Beckley as The Duke) to his father’s house, and ousts Joe from the sitting room. After further drinking, the crying of the baby in the next room gets on The Duke’s nerves, and a policeman who had previously been sent to the house by the worried Joe Fellows, does not see the danger. In a terrible scene the baby is given gin to drink, and in a subsequent fight between The Duke and Charley, receives a blow on the head. Joe brings the Lassiters back from the cinema, and Catrine is demented when she finds her baby apparently not breathing. An ambulance is sent for, and Fred Ginger, returning to his home, orders Charley to go to the hospital with the parents, knowing full well that the baby is already dead.

Ian and his pal John Hurt
Ian on stage with his pal John Hurt
If there was a policeman present, sounds to me like this may be his fault - how could this happen with a cop right there? The title does include 'infanticide,' so it should not be a shock that the baby dies, but still - it is a bit of a shock, isn't it? This was apparently presented as part of a series of experimental plays and I imagine the shock value was the whole point. Sounds like a menacing part for Ian - the beginning of his bad boy career.

Ian McShane in How Are You, Johnnie? How Are You, Johnnie? (Johnnie Leigh)
by Philip King - M4,F2
[Vaudeville Theatre (London) 1963]

A Murder Play first produced in Sussex in 1962.

Doollee.Com ~

From a review in Theatre World magazine, April 1963 by D.F.B.:

Johnnie, a long-distance lorry driver, accidently kills his hated policeman father in a quarrel at home, dumps the body in his lorry and disposes of it while his mate Les is staying with a gentleman-friend on an overnight stop. The astute Les, secretly adoring Johnnie, soon realises what has happened and attempts to win Johnnie's love by a form of emotional blackmail, even to the extent of offering himself to the police as an accessory after the fact. The play ends with Johnnie breaking down and crying out for Les, whose victory is complete as he comforts him, watched by the detective who is waiting to take them to the police station for questioning.

Ian McShane as Johnnie and Derek Fowlds as Les gave performances worthy of a far better play on the subject, bringing sincerety to a situation which might so easily have developed into giggling melodrama.

Thanks so much to KRISTY for so kindly sending me this article so I could finally have a plot summary of this play

Now, perhaps I should explain for the benefit of other Yanks reading this that a lorry is a truck and mate in this case means a friend - Johnnie and Les are not lovers, although it seems Les would like to remedy that. If I find out the full name of DFB, I'll let y'all know.

The York Corpus Christi Plays (Satan)
by various unknown authors in the Middle Ages - Huge Cast
[City of York, UK 1963]

I don't know much about these - let the official web site speak for itself:

"York Mystery (Corpus Christi) Plays are a magnificent example of medieval drama. Using the colourful language of medieval Yorkshire, they present the ‘history of the world’ from the mystery of God’s creation, through the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, to the Last Judgement."

All I could find regarding Ian's part in the pageantry was a program listing him as playing Lucifer (Satan).

York Mystery Plays ~

The Easter Man (Ralph)
by Brett Heath - M1,F0
[Globe Theatre (London) 1964]

A man's sanity is in severe doubt when he announces that it was his intention all along to perpetrate a crime in order to be committed to an asylum. It is only here, straightjacketed and incarcerated, that he can release his soul, find redemption and heal himself...or so he thinks.

Australian Script Centre ~

The Glass Menagerie (Tom)
~ Tennessee Williams - M2,F2
[Haymarket Theatre (London) 1965]

Amanda Wingfield is a faded, tragic remnant of Southern gentility who lives in poverty in a dingy St. Louis apartment with her son, Tom, and her daughter, Laura. Amanda strives to give meaning and direction to her life and the lives of her children, though her methods are ineffective and irritating. Tom is driven nearly to distraction by his mother's nagging and seeks escape in alcohol and the unrealistic world of the movies. Laura also lives in her own illusions

She is crippled, and this defect, intensified by her mother's anxiety to see her married, has driven her more and more into herself. The crux of the action comes when Tom invites a young man of his acquaintance to take dinner with the family. Jim, the caller, is a nice ordinary fellow who is at once pounced upon by Amanda as a possible husband for Laura. In spite of her crude and obvious efforts to entrap the young man, he and Laura manage to get along very nicely, and momentarily Laura is lifted out of herself into a new world. But this crashes when, toward the end, Jim explains that he is already engaged

The world of illusion that Amanda and Laura have striven to create in order to make life bearable collapses about them. Tom, too, at the end of his tether, at last leaves home

The Internet Theatre Bookshop ~

Loot (Hal)
~ Joe Orton - M4,F1
[National Tour 1965]

One of the most enduring comedies of the modern British stage

A black farce masterpiece, Loot follows the fortunes of two young thieves, Hal and Dennis. Dennis is a hearse driver for an undertaker. They have robbed the bank next door to the funeral parlour and have returned to Hal's home to hide-out with the loot

Hal's mother has just died and the pair put the money in her coffin, hiding the body elsewhere in the house. With the arrival of Inspector Truscott, the thickened plot turns topsy-turvy. Playing with all the conventions of popular farce, Orton creates a world gone mad and examines in detail English attitudes at mid-century

The play has been called a Freudian nightmare, which sports with superstitions about death - and life. It is regularly produced in professional and amateur productions

First produced in London in 1966, LOOT was hailed as "the most genuinely quick-witted, pungent and sprightly entertainment by a new, young British playwright for a decade" ~ Sunday Telegraph

The Internet Theatre Bookshop ~

I've never seen this in production, but I have read the script and it's one odd little play full of very strange people. The policeman, in particular, is so outrageous - he enters the house claiming to be from the water company because a water company guy doesn't need a warrant while a policeman does and he doesn't have a warrant. This is all perfectly logical to him! Poor Hal, the character Ian played, can't lie to save his life. The Inspector is questioning him and he's answering truthfully because he just can NOT lie, but Truscott doesn't believe him so he's kicking the crap out of him! "Under any other political system I'd have you on the floor in tears!" proclaims the detective. "You've got me on the floor in tears," cries poor hapless Hal.

While it is hinted that maybe Hal and his pal Dennis are a little more than just friends, it is also made clear that Dennis is a total pussy hound! (Pardon my Anglo-Saxon) He's already fathered five kids out of wedlock - with five different women, I might add, and now he is smitten with the nurse who was caring for Hal's mother until the old lady died. Well, she didn't just die - Fay, the nurse in question, killed her. Truscott has been hunting her for years as she has left a trail of dead husbands behind her. At the end, Fay agrees to marry Dennis (remarkably shortening his life expectancy, no doubt) while Truscott accepts a hefty bribe and arrests Hal's father (the only rational character in the play), hinting that bad things can happen to people in prison ...

Ian McShane in The Promise The Promise (Marat)
by Aleksei Arbuzov - M2,F1
[Playhouse (Oxford), Fortune Theatre (London) & Miller's Theatre (Broadway) 1967]

"In Act One, three orphans band together in Leningrad as their city is under siege from the Nazi forces during World War Two. A love triangle develops. Act Two reunites them as Marat (McShane) returns a war hero and Leonidik [Ian McKellen] has lost an arm fighting. Lika [Judi Dench/Eileen Atkins] chooses to marry Leonidik. Act Three is a decade later, when Leonidik leaves the other two together. There are few plays with such demanding roles for actors in their 20’s. I particularly enjoyed the ageing with the help of beard and a few lines of make-up." (Ian McKellen)

Ian McKellen Stage ~

Ellen (John Sutcliffe)
by Peter Ransley - M2,F2
[Hampstead Theatre (London) 1971]

First produced in Manchester in 1970. Menage a trois, almost true story of mad woman tramp who turns out to be almost sane. Almost romantic, even the sperm sample is obtained to Romeo and Juliet overture.

Doollee.Com ~

As You Like It (Jacques)
by William Shakespeare - Large Cast
[Long Beach Theatre Festival (Long Beach, CA) 1979]

Before he died, Sir Rowland de Boys asked Oliver, the eldest of his three sons, to see to the education of the younger two. Jaques, the middle son, was sent to university but Orlando, was kept at home, poor and uneducated. Orlando opens the play by complaining about his lot to a faithful elderly servant, Adam. Orlando says that although he was born a gentleman, he has been stripped of all status and is worse off than the animals. When he challenges Oliver about the situation, his brother becomes angry and decides to have Orlando killed by a ferocious wrestler, Charles.

Duke Senior has been usurped by his wicked younger brother, Frederick and taken refuge in the Forest of Arden with some companions. There they live 'like the old Robin Hood of England'. Rosalind still lives at court as companion to her cousin Celia, Duke Frederick’s only child.

The two stories meet when Orlando, determined to do something about his situation, decides to fight Charles the Wrestler. No one believes Orlando has any chance of winning. Rosalind and Celia join a crowd of lords and attendants to watch the fight. Orlando wins and he and Rosalind fall head over heels in love.

Matters take a turn for the worse when Duke Frederick discovers that Orlando is the son of his old enemy, Sir Rowland de Boys. Le Beau urges Orlando to leave court. Orlando flees to the Forest of Arden.

Duke Frederick turns his anger on Rosalind and orders her banishment. Celia and Rosalind decide to go into the Forest in search of Duke Senior, taking with them Frederick’s jester, Touchstone. For safety’s sake, Rosalind disguises herself as a boy and calls herself Ganymede. Celia dresses 'in poor and mean attire' and changes her name to Aliena.

Disguised as a young man - Ganymede - Rosalind goes into the Forest of Arden, where she meets Orlando again. Knowing Orlando to be in love with Rosalind, she persuades him to pretend that, though apparently a man, he/she is really Rosalind and woo her as he would his sweetheart.

To complicate matters, a shepherdess, Phebe, falls in love with Ganymede. A shepherd, Silvius loves Phebe and is heartbroken. Rosalind rejects Phebe. She tells her to treat Silvius kindly and to be thankful for his love. Touchstone the clown falls for a goat herd called Audrey, who is turn is loved by a simple countryman, William. Celia doesn’t have much to do in the forest but spends some of the time gathering cliché-ridden love poems which Orlando has written to Rosalind and pinned on trees all over Arden.

Meanwhile back at court, the enraged Duke Frederick orders Oliver de Boys to capture Orlando dead or alive. Later, in Arden, Orlando finds 'a wretched ragged man, overgrown with hair' lying asleep under an old oak tree, a poisonous snake at his throat. He frightens away the snake, which slithers off into a bush, in which same bush Orlando sees a ravenous lion crouching, ready to pounce.

Recognising the unkempt man as his hateful brother Oliver, Orlando decides to let the lion eat him. Just in time, Orlando changes his mind and saves his brother from certain death. Changed by this act of great goodness, Oliver asks Orlando for forgiveness and promises to give him his rightful inheritance. Jaques de Boys arrives in the forest with the news that Duke Frederick has met 'an old religious man' and seen the error of his ways. Repentant, Frederick restores land and wealth to Duke Senior.

The play ends happily and with many marriages ordained by Hymen, the Greek and Roman god of marriage. Rosalind marries Orlando, Celia marries the now-loving Oliver, Touchstone marries Audrey and the shepherdess, Phebe marries Silvius. All exiles leave the forest and return to court.

Royal Shakespeare Company ~

The Big Knife (Charlie Castle)
~ Clifford Odets - M8,F4
[Watford Palace Theatre (Watford, England) 1982]

Tells of the last few days of Charlie Castle, a top movie star and an idealist, whose years of compromise with his beliefs for the sake of a Hollywood career, have resulted in the slow destruction of his personality

We see his struggles to escape from the net of insincerity and falsehood in which he has trapped himself, and his ultimate defeat

The Internet Theatre Bookshop ~

Betrayal (Robert)
by Harold Pinter - M3,F1
[Actors for Themselves Theatre (CA) 1983 (LA Critics Awards for Best Actor)]

The play begins in the present, with the meeting of Emma and Jerry, whose adulterous affair of seven years ended two years earlier. Emma's marriage to Robert, Jerry's best friend, is now breaking up, and she needs someone to talk to. Their reminiscences reveal that Robert knew of their affair all along and, to Jerry's dismay, regarded it with total nonchalance. Thereafter, in a series of contiguous scenes, the play moves backward in time, from the end of the Emma-Jerry affair to its beginning, throwing into relief the little lies and oblique remarks which, in this timereverse, reveal more than direct statements, or overt actions, ever could. ~

Inadmissible Evidence (Bill Maitland)
by John Osborne - M3, F5
[Actors for Themselves Theatre (CA) 1984 (LA Critics Awards for Best Actor)] & [Matrix Theatre (Los Angeles, CA) 1985]

The play chronicles the mental disintegration of middle-aged, London solicitor Bill Maitland over the course of two days as he experiences the breakdown of his professional and personal life. Osborne combines elements of realism and theater of the absurd as he illustrates Bill's nightmarish world that ironically Bill has constructed himself. It results from his inability to face up to his own failures as well as to the pain he has caused those who have tried to save him. In this poignant study of one man's struggle to avoid harsh truths about himself and his relationships with those closest to him, Osborne presents a compelling portrait of the devastating causes for spiritual and emotional bankruptcy.

Answers Dot Com ~

Ian McShane in The Admirable Crichton The Admirable Crichton (Chrichton)
~ J.M. Barrie - M12,F5
[Chichester Festival Theatre (Chichester, England) 1997]

It is the Earl of Loam's whim to invite his servants once a month to the drawing room where they are treated as social equals

His daughter and friends are forced to serve them much to the distaste of Crichton, the butler, who knows his place. He accompanies the Earl on a yachting party with the three daughters, an affected young man and a sporting parson, as well as the lady's maid who is in love with Crichton

They are wrecked on a desert island and Crichton, at first imperceptibly, takes command and wins their devotion by his resourcefulness. The women vie for his favor. He chooses Lady Mary no longer indolent, but intensely vital for his wife

At this point a ship is seen in the offing and, with noble self abnegation, Crichton signals to her

Back in England, all revert to their former positions

The Internet Theatre Bookshop ~

Yield of the Long Bond (Paul Rosario)
by Larry Atlas - M2,F1
[Matrix Theatre (Los Angeles, CA) 1998]

From a review of the very production McShane was in:

YIELD OF THE LONG BOND at the Matrix Theatre (June 11, 1998) - Reviewed by Rob Kendt

There is rare pleasure to be had in the Matrix's now-regular double-casting, in which two actors are assigned each role in each production and then mixed and matched throughout the show's run in various combinations. With a play as resonant and troubled as Larry Atlas' Yield of the Long Bond, this pleasure is especially acute, if problematic. Atlas' bleak love triangle between a rogue Wall Street investor, a slick young lawyer, and a down-at-heels Episcopal pastor is so perorative and schematic, giving each of its three characters more fourth-wall-breaking speeches than real interaction--more to say to us than to each other--that it represents a sort of acting triathlon, a three-way show of dexterity and force. And since Atlas' characters are so atomized and, in director Andrew J. Robinson's artful, worried staging, so sharply drawn, it is easy to imagine all six actors interchanging willy-nilly without much variation in the production's impact.

The young attorney Ellen Kastner (Julia Campbell, Anna Gunn) is a fallen angel at best, a squeaky-clean Princeton girl unloosed into the high-powered evil and low-level spiritual drudgery of big business, where she learns to play its deadly game as perfectly as she used to say her prayers. That game includes getting into bed with such unsavory charmers as Paul Rosario (Gregory Itzin, Ian McShane), a man with the kind of terrifying self-assurance that dares a challenge. He meets his match in Ellen, who at first plays along with his sexual feints and degradations but soon loses the stomach for them, suggesting--ostensibly as a practical matter--that he get involved in charity work to offset the damage of an impending SEC prosecution.

That leads them into the weak thrall of John Shelly (David Dukes, Byron Jennings), a priest with a modest think-tank project to promote spiritual values in a soulless age--which of course leads to Ellen's wavering consideration of these issues, and in general to the level of windy, contrarian philosophizing on which Atlas clearly wants to operate. He introduces an increasingly lurid and incredible plot, and several new moral wrinkles, into the mix, but even the sudden reversals and telling observational details are as schematic as a prospectus, his dialogue often embarrasingly blunt and self-revealing.

How to play this uneasy mix of monologue, flashback, and confession? Under Robinson's unwavering gaze, these six actors manage, with varying degrees of passion, intelligence, and courage, to elevate the work into the rumination it wants to be. McShane captures Paul's arrogance and steel, Itzin his rue and sick sense of play ...

Ian McShane in The Witches of Eastwick The Witches of Eastwick (Darryl Van Horne)
by John Dempsey & Dana Rowe - Large Cast (Musical)
[Theatre Royale (London) 2000]

The story, set in the fictional Rhode Island town of Eastwick, is based around the magical abilities and personal growth of the three female protagonists (the Witches Alexandra Spofford, Jane Smart, and Sukie Rougemont). Initially their power is minor, but expands to involve the summoning of a devil-like character Darryl Van Horne. The mysterious Darryl seduces each of the women in turn, teaching them how to further their powers and creating a scandal in the town. The women come to realise that Darryl is corrupting them and the town, and resolve to exile him from their lives.

Wikipedia ~

Ian McShane in The Homecoming The Homecoming (Max)
by Harold Pinter - M5,F1
[Cort Theatre (Broadway) 2007]

The Homecoming concerns the ultimate dysfunctional family, presided over by its patriarch Max (McShane). Living under his dilapidated roof are his younger brother Sam (McKean), and two of his sons: Lenny (Esparza), the town pimp, and Joey, a boxer-in-training. Tensions begin to flair with the arrival of Max's eldest son Teddy, who returns home after six years with his new wife Ruth. Seduction, betrayal, and divisiveness ensue, as the family welcomes the homecoming of its estranged brother and vies for the attention of his dangerously alluring wife."

The New York Theatre Guide ~



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