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News and Events

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th September 2014

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson will reprise their Lincoln Center New York concert performances in the English National Opera production of the musical Sweeney Todd, book by Hugh Wheeler, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the Victorian melodrama about the demon barber of Fleet Street, who cut the throats of his customers, whose corpses were then baked into pies in the shop beneath, directed by Lonny Price, opening at the London Coliseum on 31st March. This is ENO's first co-production with the GradeLinnit Company.

The 2012 Hampstead Theatre production of Amelia Bullmore's Di And Viv And Rose, about three university friends as they progress through life, with Tamzin Outhwaite reprising her role joined Samantha Spiro and Jenna Russell, directed by Anna Mackmin, will be remounted at the Vaudeville Theatre, opening on 29th January. The producers are Nick Frankfort and Tobias Round for CMP and Greg Ripley-Duggan for Hampstead Theatre.

Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff and Birmingham Hippodrome will stage the premiere of Sarah Waters's The Frozen Scream, based on the lost 1928 supernatural murder mystery novel by C C Gilbert, about a group who find themselves stranded at an abandoned lodge in the depths of winter, co-adapted with Sarah Waters and directed by Christopher Green, with Rula Lenska, playing at Wales Millennium Centre from 11th to 20th December, and Birmingham Hippodrome from January 7th to 17th.

The Barbican Theatre has added further productions to its 2015 programme. The Theatre de la Ville-Paris production of Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters In Search Of An Author, in which characters invade the rehearsals for a play and insist on being allowed to tell their story, directed by Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota; the Ninagawa Company productions of Shakespeare's Hamlet, directed by Yukio Ninagawa, and Haruki Murakami's Kafka On The Shore, an allegorical tale about waking up to your own life, directed by Yukio Ninagawa; and a Samuel Beckett season comprising: Not I/Footfalls/Rockaby, performed by Lisa Dwan, directed by Walter Asmus; Krapp's Last Tape, in which an old man is listening to a series of tapes he has recorded detailing events in his life, performed and directed by Robert Wilson; the Sydney Theatre Company production of Waiting For Godot, in which, famously, nothing happens - twice, with Hugo Weaving, Richard Roxburgh, Philip Quast and Luke Mullins, directed by Andrew Upton; and the Pan Pan Theatre production of All That Fall, originally written for radio, charting the journey of an old woman to meet her blind husband and guide him home, telling the story of the people she meets along the way, directed by Gavin Quinn.

New York TheatreNet: Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles, in which a feminist art historian and her friends search for political, professional and personal fulfilment from the 1960s to the 1980s, with Elizabeth Moss, Bryce Pinkham, Jason Biggs and Tracee Chimo, directed by Pam MacKinnon, will open at a Broadway theatre yet to be announced next March. The York Theatre Company's 2014/2015 season will include Texas In Paris, a musical play by Alan Govenar, with spirituals, cowboy songs and country hymns, the story of two strangers - one white, one black - with no professional experience, invited to France to perform at the Maison des Cultures du Monde, with Lillias White, from 27th January; and Harold And Maude, book and lyrics by Tom Jones, music by Joseph Thalken, based on the 1971 film, the quintessential May-December romance, sparked when a death obsessed teenager meets a 79 year old at a funeral, from 12th May. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Next year's Opera Holland Park season will run from 3rd June to 9th August, with the City of London Sinfonia as resident orchestra, and will comprise new productions of Puccini's Il trittico - Gianni Schicchi (2012 revival), Suor Angelica and Il tabarro; Verdi's Aida; Delibes's Lakme; and Jonathan Dove's Flight; plus revivals of the 2007 production of Montemezzi's L'amore dei tre Re, directed by Martin Lloyd Evans; and Will Todd's family opera Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, directed by Martin Duncan. The Theatre is located in the middle of Holland Park and uses the ruins of Holland House as a backdrop to the performances. Both stage and audience are covered by a canopy. Further information and online booking can be found on the OHP web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The musical Damn Yankees, book by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop, music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, adapted from Douglass Wallop's novel The Year The Yankees Lost The Pennant, in which a baseball coach sells his soul to the devil in return for victory for his team, with Jonathan D Ellis, Poppy Tierney, Alex Lodge and Tony Stansfield, directed by Robert McWhir, with choreography by Robbie O'Reilly, will open at the Landor Theatre, in Clapham, on 7th October.

TheatreCraft, the free annual event where 16 to 25 year olds can discover all about the exciting non-performance career opportunities in theatre, will take place at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden from 9am to 3pm on 17th October, to be opened by Vicky Featherstone. It provides an opportunity to explore the many skills involved in staging a production through workshops, talks and demonstrations; the opportunity to meet representatives from theatres, production companies, training institutions, unions and other professional bodies; and one-to-one advice sessions. Further information and online booking can be found on the TheatreCraft web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Cirque du Soleil will return to the Royal Albert Hall with Kooza, combining acrobatic performances with the art of clowning, explores themes of fear, identity, recognition and power, written and directed by David Shiner, from 6th January to 8th February.


Opening This Week

Evita - Dominion
Madalena Alberto and Marti Pellow in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical telling the life story of Eva Peron, the wife and ‘power behind the throne’ of the Argentinean dictator Juan Peron.
Pitcairn - Shakespeare’s Globe
The Chichester Festival Theatre production of Richard Bean’s play about the colonisation of the remote island by the Bounty mutineers, directed by Max Stafford-Clark.
Teh Internet Is Serious Business - Royal Court
Tim Price’s fictional tale based on the true story of the hacking groups Anonymous and LulzSec, which charts the story of a 16 year old London schoolboy and an 18 year old recluse in Shetland who meet online, and pick a fight with the FBI.
James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock / James II: Day Of The Innocents / James III: The True Mirror - National Olivier
Rona Munro’s trilogy of plays about James I, II and III of Scotland, with Cameron Barnes, Daniel Cahill, Blythe Duff, Sofie Grabol, Sarah Higgins, James McArdle, Rona Morison, Mark Rowley and Fiona Wood, directed by Laurie Sansom.


First Nights

22nd - Evita - Dominion
22nd - Pitcairn - Shakespeare’s Globe
23rd - Teh Internet Is Serious Business - Royal Court
25th - James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock / James II: Day Of The Innocents / James III: The True Mirror - National Olivier
26th - Great Britain - Haymarket
29th - Urinetown - Apollo
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 - Jeeves & Wooster In Perfect Nonsense - Duke of York’s
20th - The Importance Of Being Earnest - Harold Pinter
21st - Let It Be - Garrick
27th - Richard III - Trafalgar Studios 1
27th - My Night With Reg - Donmar Warehouse
4th - Wolf Hall / Bring Up The Bodies - Aldwych
10th - Doctor Scroggy’s War - Shakespeare’s Globe
11th - Julius Caesar - Shakespeare’s Globe
11th - Ballyturk - National Lyttelton
11th - Pitcairn - Shakespeare’s Globe
12th - The Comedy Of Errors - Shakespeare’s Globe