News: Lenny Henry To Play Richard Pryor

Video: Lenny Henry As David Bellamy

It has been confirmed that Sir Lenny Henry is to play legendary stand-up comedian Richard Pryor onstage.

The performance will be at the National Theatre's Dorfman Theatre, but comedy fans will have to wait until 2020 to see it. Tickets are not on sale yet, but it was announced at the NT's latest annual press conference. It will be called Richard Pryor on Fire and will be directed by Paulette Randall.

Henry has previously appeared at the National in The Comedy of Errors, but this will be the first time he will appear there onstage in a solo show.

Henry has regularly spoken of his admiration for the American comedian, who died in 2005. In 2013 he wrote a piece about Pryor for the Independent, in which he said “I was in love with his voice and the fearlessness of the work” adding that Pryor would always be his hero. 

Pryor’s life certainly included enough drama for a play. He was raised in his grandmother’s brothel and nearly died in 1980 when he set himself on fire while freebasing cocaine. He regularly tops the charts as one of the greatest comedians of all time. His live films, Richard Pryor Live! and Richard Pryor Live on Sunset Strip, have been acclaimed as two of the greatest-ever live comedy performances and have been hugely influential on contemporary comedians.



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