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News and Events

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 26th September 2014

The Victoria and Albert museum has acquired the personal papers of theatre director Peter Brook, which document his life and work from childhood and throughout his career. The papers include diaries, drafts of scripts and books, rehearsal and planning notes, photos, designs and drawings, as well as private correspondence between Brook and major figures including J B Priestley, Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Ted Hughes, Harold Pinter, Graham Greene, William Golding, John Gielgud, Peter Hall and Tennessee Williams. Once catalogued, the material will be available to researchers in the museum's theatre and performance study centre in Kensington Olympia.

The Off Broadway musical revue Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris, featuring songs by the Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel, English lyrics by Mort Shurman and Eric Blau, with Daniel Boys, Gina Beck, David Burt and Eve Polycarpou, directed by Andrew Keates, will open at the Charing Cross Theatre, in The Arches under Charing Cross station, on 18th October.

On The Casting Couch: Katie Brayben, Alan Morrissey, Lorna Want, Glynis Barber and Gary Trainor will head the cast of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, opening at the Aldwych Theatre on 24th February.

Forthcoming productions at the King's Head Theatre, in Islington, will include the Edinburgh Fringe hit I'm Thinking of Leaving Facebook, exploring the world of social media, written and performed by Lolly Jones, from 1st October; the premiere of Norris Church Mailer's Go See, charting the developing relationship of two lost souls who meet through their work, with Peter Tate and Lauren Fox, directed by Sondra Lee, opening on 14th November, produced by The Playground Studio and KPS Productions; and Tom Glover's England Expects, about the male impersonator music hall star Vesta Tilley and her work on the home front in the First World War, performed by Teresa Jennings, directed by Gary Phillpott, from 16th November, produced by Off the Fence Theatre Company in association with the Curve, Leicester.

The musical Oklahoma!, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, music by Richard Rodgers, based on Lynn Riggs's Green Grow The Lilacs, set in Oklahoma territory in the early 1900s, with Belinda Lang, Gary Wilmot, Ashley Day, Charlotte Wakefield, and Nic Greenshields, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, with new choreography by Drew McOnie, will open a national tour at the Derngate Theatre in Northampton on 19th February.

Teatro Vivo's interactive outdoor promenade production of The Hunters Grimm, based on the Household Tales of the Brothers Grimm, directed by Sophie Austin, will take place in Deptford, London from 22nd October. The show will begin at Deptford Lounge and journey around Deptford, ending at The Albany arts centre.

New York TheatreNet: The Royal Shakespeare Company productions of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, adapted by Mike Poulton from the novels by Hillary Mantel, about the machinations at the court of Henry VIII, with Ben Miles, Nathaniel Parker and Lydia Leonard, directed by Jeremy Herrin, will transfer to the Winter Garden Theatre, opening on 9th April, produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis and Nick Salmon, with the Shubert Organisation. The musical The Lion King, which played its 7,000th Broadway performance on 3rd September, is now the top earning title in box office history for both stage productions and films. It boasts a worldwide gross of over $6.2bn, breaking the record previously held by The Phantom Of The Opera (which remains the longest running show in Broadway history) and has a worldwide gross of $6bn. There are 10 concurrent worldwide productions of the show, 5 of which have been running for 10 years or longer. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Forthcoming productions at Southwark Playhouse, at the Elephant and Castle, will include the premiere of Daniel Andersen's Saxon Court, a satire set in the City at the height of the financial crisis, regaling the woes of a woman running a financial services recruitment company, directed by Melanie Spencer, opening on 24th November, produced by Made by Brick; and Juliet Gilkes Romero's Upper Cut, about the contentious subject of short lists for black Parliamentary candidates, directed by Lotte Wakeham, opening on 16th January, produced by W14 Productions.

La Soiree, the show that mixes cabaret, new burlesque, circus sideshow and contemporary variety, will return to the Spiegeltent on the South Bank from 5th November to 11th January.

Fosse, by Sam Wasson, published by Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is an authoritative and revealing biography of renowned dancer, choreographer, screenwriter and director Bob Fosse. The only person ever to win Oscar, Emmy and Tony awards in the same year, Fosse revolutionised nearly every facet of American entertainment, forever marking Broadway and Hollywood with his iconic style - hat tilted, fingers splayed - that would influence generations of performing artists. Yet in spite of Fosse's innumerable achievements, no accomplishment ever seemed to satisfy him, and offstage his life was shadowed in turmoil and anxiety. Now Sam Wasson unveils the man behind the work, tracing Fosse's untold reinventions of himself over a career that spawned The Pajama Game, Cabaret, Pippin, All That Jazz and Chicago. Drawing on a wealth of unpublished material and hundreds of sources Wasson illuminates not only Fosse's prodigious professional life, but also his close and conflicted relationships.

Against The Grain will stage the premiere of Greg A Smith's Sheltered, a dark Yuletide satire about the homeless and the heartless, directed by Stuart Watson, at the Tabard Theatre, in Turnham Green, from 18th November.

The Rumour Machine says: that the long discussed West End production of Oscar Wilde's Salome, with Al Pacino, may finally happen in 2016, directed by Robert Allan Ackerman, courtesy of producer Robert Fox. The Rumour Machine grinds on.

CURTAIN UP!

Opening This Week

Urinetown - Apollo
The Tony Award winning musical comedy about a futuristic society where people revolt about having to pay exorbitant fees to 'use the bathroom', written in a pseudo Brechtian style, with Jenna Russell, Jonathan Slinger and Simon Paisley Day.
Electra - Old Vic
Kristin Scott Thomas, Amanda Drew, Jack Lowden and Diana Quick in Sophocles’s story of grief and revenge leading to a bloody and terrifying conclusion, directed by Ian Rickson.
Speed-the-Plow - Playhouse
Richard Schiff, Nigel Lindsay and Lindsay Lohan in David Mamet's behind the camera look at Hollywood, centring on a producer’s decision to make a film about a nuclear catastrophe rather than his usual star laden surefire hit.

OVERTURES AND CURTAIN CALLS

First Nights

September
29th - Urinetown - Apollo
October
1st - Electra - Old Vic
2nd - Speed-the-Plow - Playhouse
9th - Henry IV - Donmar Warehouse
13th - Here Lies Love - National Dorfman
15th - East Is East - Trafalgar Studios 1
20th - The Scottsboro Boys - Garrick
21st - Neville’s Island - Duke of York's
23rd - ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore - Wanamaker
23rd - Memphis The Musical - Shaftesbury

Finales

September
27th - Richard III - Trafalgar Studios 1
27th - My Night With Reg - Donmar Warehouse
October
4th - Wolf Hall / Bring Up The Bodies - Aldwych
10th - Doctor Scroggy’s War - Shakespeare’s Globe
11th - Ballyturk - National Lyttelton
11th - Julius Caesar - Shakespeare’s Globe
11th - Pitcairn - Shakespeare’s Globe
12th - The Comedy Of Errors - Shakespeare’s Globe
25th - Lord Of The Dance: Dangerous Games - London Palladium
25th - Teh Internet Is Serious Business - Royal Court