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Kevin Spacey
hopes Shakespeareans in drag and Stephen Fry will
draw audiences

Kevin Spacey
hopes Shakespeareans in drag and Stephen Fry will
draw audiences

Kevin Spacey has opted for Shakespearean comedies and other likely stage hits in an bid to reverse his critical fortunes at London's Old Vic theater. Critics have turned on Spacey for what they see as a poor record at the helm of the famous London venue, and one questioned whether he should resign after Robert Altman's production of Arthur Miller's Resurrection Blues was panned.

News that the Old Vic would remain empty for five months in 2006 further increased pressure on the 46-year-old American. But he reiterated on Tuesday that he had no intention of backing down. Spacey has committed to 10 years in the job, which he started in September 2004. "I'm in it for the long haul," he said at the announcement of the lineup for next season. "In the Old Vic tradition of celebrating great acting, big plays, and a sense of event, we're proud of the lineup we've assembled for our third season and beyond," Spacey added.

Next season begins with Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten, in which Spacey himself will perform. Early next year the Old Vic will stage two Shakespeare comedies, The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night, both performed by Propeller, an all-male company.

Then comes a production of The Entertainer to mark the 50th anniversary of John Osborne's play, with British actor Robert Lindsay as the struggling comedian Archie Rice. In a bid to repeat the success of the hugely popular pantomime production Aladdin, comedian Stephen Fry has agreed to write a new version of Cinderella for Christmas 2007.

While the Oscar-winning star of American Beauty has had a rough ride since joining the Old Vic, Spacey's supporters point out that twice as many people came to the theater during his first year in charge than came during the two preceding years. (Reuters)

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