Stewart, Robbins Hit the Boards

Patrick Stewart, a k a Star Trek: The Next Generation's Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, is returning to the British stage in the revival of a work by playwright J.B. Priestley. The 61-year-old actor will star in Johnson Over Jordan, one of three of Priestley's plays being staged by the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds.

"Despite the pleasure, interest, and quality of life I was getting from television and film, it really was not making me happy," Stewart, who was a Royal Shakespeare Company actor for 27 years, tells the press. "I realized theater was where I simply had to be. It's a sense of age — I don't want to waste my time. I just want everything to be important and not to be trivial."

Robbins Gets Mephisto Complex Also avoiding triviality is actor-director Tim Robbins, who will direct an adaptation this fall of Klaus Mann's novel Mephisto as part of the Los Angeles theater group Actors' Gang's 20th anniversary season.

Robbins cites the chance to work alongside George Bigot, who is directing Anton Chekhov's The Seagull as part of the Actors' Gang's repertory season, as one of his reasons for the move. Robbins, who is president and CEO of the Actors' Gang, said, "It has always been a dream of mine that he would come back to Los Angeles to work with the Gang, and time and circumstance worked their magic, and here he is."

The Actors' Gang has operated out of a 99-seat theater on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, Calif., since 1994.

Alda Back on Broadway With Q.E.D. Back in New York, M*A*S*H star Alan Alda will appear as Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman in the play Q.E.D. at the Vivian Beaumont Theater this fall. Alda was last on Broadway in Yasmina Reza's Art. The second role in the two-character Q.E.D., that of a young female university student, has yet to be cast.

Wright Draws Rave Reviews In other New York theater news, folks are raving about the two-man powerhouse show being performed by Traffic's Don Cheadle and Shaft's Jeffrey Wright in Suzan-Lori Parks' play "Topdog/Underdog."

In an unlikely theater forum, on the Ain't It Cool News film site, one audience member raves that Wright's performance will go down in history with that of Marlon Brando's in A Streetcar Named Desire.

The New York Times, meanwhile, says of Wright's performance that "his magnetic pull feels strong enough to suck the cars off Lafayette Street … 'Watch me now,' Mr. Wright commands. As if we could possibly do otherwise." The reviewer concludes, "Better known in recent years for his work in film[s like] Basquiat, Wright emerges here as one of the finest American stage actors of his generation, a match for Liev Schreiber and Kevin Spacey."

Reuters contributed to this story.