Ian McKellen Drops Out of ‘Player Kings’ National Tour on Doctor’s Orders Following Fall

Following his fall, Ian McKellen has officially dropped out of the West End’s national tour of “Player Kings” and will not be returning to play Sir John Falstaff.

David Semark, McKellen’s understudy, will take over the role moving forward. The national tour will take place from July 3-27.

“Two weeks after my accident onstage, my injuries improve day by day. It’s with the greatest reluctance that I have accepted the medical advice to protect my full recovery by not working in the meantime,” McKellen said in a Monday statement on X. “I have been so looking forward to bringing ‘Player Kings’ to theatre-goers in Bristol, Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle. But I can assure them that, with David Semark now playing Falstaff, Robert Icke’s production and his acting company remain as dazzling as ever. Go see for yourself!”

In mid-June, McKellen was hospitalized in London after falling off the stage during a production of “Player Kings.” The accident happened after the actor lost his footing during a battle scene. The fall was so bad, it led to the house lights being turned on and two doctors from the audience rushing to the actor’s side.

Originally, the producers for the play issued a statement that McKellen was expected to make a “speedy and full recovery” and that the actor was in “good spirits.”

From Robert Icke, “Player Kings” is an adaptation that combines both parts of Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” plays. It launched its 12-week run at the Noel Coward Theatre in April and stars Toheeb Jimoh (“Ted Lasso”) as Hal and Richard Coyle (“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”) as King Henry IV.

McKellen has a long history of starring in acclaimed Shakespearean productions. Over the course of his career, he has played nearly every major Shakespearean leading character, including King Lear, Richard II, Coriolanus, Iago, Richard III and Macbeth. He is also set to star as the leading prince and title character in Sean Mathias’ upcoming film adaptation of “Hamlet.”

The 85-year-old actor has been nominated for 12 Olivier Awards throughout his life. McKellen won six for his performances in “Richard III,” “Pillars of the Community,” “The Alchemist,” “Bent,” “Wild Honey” and his one-man show “Ian McKellen On Stage.”

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