NEW YORK -- John Lithgow is returning to the New York stage with gusto in 2014 -- first with Shakespeare’s "King Lear" in Central Park this summer and then in a Broadway revival of Edward Albee’s "A Delicate Balance" by fall.

"They’re two roles that I never intended to play in such proximity, but you can’t turn them down," the two-time Tony Award winner said from Los Angeles. "It’s a great paring of roles. They really couldn’t be more different."

Lithgow will be joined in the Albee play by Glenn Close, Lindsay Duncan, Bob Balaban, Clare Higgins and Martha Plimpton. It will be directed by Pam MacKinnon, with previews beginning at the Golden Theatre on Oct. 20. Opening night is Nov. 20. The new production will mark Close’s return to the New York stage after a 20-year absence.

Lithgow said he can’t really concentrate right now on the play since first up is "King Lear," which he is reciting while driving around Beverly Hills.

"People are wondering what in the world I’m yelling about," he said with a laugh.