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News and Events

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st November 2014

The 2015 season at the Globe Theatre will comprise Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice, directed by Jonathan Munby; As You Like It, directed by Blanche MacIntyre; Measure For Measure, directed by Dominic Dromgoole; and Richard II, directed by Simon Godwin; together with a contemporary adaptation of Aeschylus's Oresteia trilogy, directed by Adele Thomas; Helen Edmundson's The Heresy Of Love, inspired by the life of 17th century female playwright Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz; and the premiere of Jessica Swale's bioplay Nell Gwynn; plus the National Theatre of China production of Richard II; and the Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio Hong Kong production of Macbeth. The small scale touring productions will be Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Max Webster.

Forthcoming productions at the Old Vic Theatre, staged in the round, will include Daniel Kitson's Tree, a Samuel Beckett style encounter between two strangers, with Kitson and Tim Key, opening on 5th January; and the musical High Society, book by Arthur Kopit, music and lyrics by Cole Porter, a stage adaptation of the film musical based on Philip Barry's play The Philadelphia Story, set at a 1950s New England society wedding of the year, where the bride has last minute second thoughts as to who should be the groom, when her ex husband appears, directed by Maria Friedman, opening on 14th May.

Watford Palace Theatre will stage the premiere of Timberlake Wertenbaker's Jefferson's Garden, about events leading up to America's declaration of Independence, directed by Brigid Larmour, with movement by Shona Morris, from 5th February, a co-production with Tiata Fahodzi and West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Forthcoming productions at Hampstead Theatre will include Peter Souter's Hello/Goodbye, in which two people appear to have rented the same apartment, with Shaun Evans and Miranda Raison, directed by Tamara Harvey, which played in the Downstairs Studio last year, opening on 27th January; and the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Hugh Whitemore's Stevie, a glimpse into the life of the poet and novelist Stevie Smith, with Zoe Wanamaker, directed by Christopher Morahan, opening on 16th March.

The spring season at the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill Gate will include Andrew Whaley's The Rise And Shine Of Comrade Fiasco, about the emergence of a lost freedom fighter long after independence has been won in Zimbabwe, directed by Elayce Ismail, opening on 2nd March, a co-production with Paul Jellis, in association with the National Theatre Studio; and Danai Gurira's Eclipsed, about four young women caught up in the civil war in Liberia, directed by Caroline Byrne, opening on 27th April.

New York TheatreNet: The inaugural season of Masterworks Theater Company, which will focus on repertoire from the classical theatre, will comprise Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie, the story of an overbearing mother and her son, who is torn between an obligation to his family and his desire to break away, in 1930s St Louis, directed by Christopher Scott, from 8th May; and Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, from 5th June, playing at the 47th Street Theater. Regional premiere original cast members Laura Michelle Kelly and Carolee Carmello will be joined by Kelsey Grammer and Matthew Morrison in the musical Finding Neverland, book by James Graham, music and lyrics by Gary Barlow and Elliot Kennedy, directed by Diane Paulus, with choreography by Mia Michaels, opening at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on 15th April. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

James Hogan's double bill Ivy and Joan, exploring the lives of two women entering new chapters in their lives as the world is changing around them, who cling on to long held dreams that are being left behind, with Lynne Miller and Jack Klaff, directed by Anthony Biggs, will open at Jermyn Street Theatre, off Piccadilly, on 8th January.

The spring season at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester will include Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, the story of a married aristocrat who has an affair but is unable to leave her husband, in a contemporary adaptation by Jo Clifford, directed Ellen McDougall, opening on 24th March, a co-production with the West Yorkshire Playhouse; the premiere of Chris Urch's The Rolling Stone, which deals with homosexuality in Uganda, directed Ellen McDougall, opening on 22nd April; and a comic interpretation of Arnold Ridley's The Ghost Train, in which a group of travellers stranded at a remote railway station, directed by Paul Hunter, opening on 19th May, presented in association with Told By an Idiot.

The Rose Theatre in Kingston's spring season will include Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet, directed by Sally Cookson, opening on 28th February; and David Hare's The Absence Of War, a portrait of an unsuccessful Labour party leader, based on Hare's research with Neil Kinnock's campaign, with Reece Dinsdale, directed by Jeremy Herrin, from 14th April, a co-production with Sheffield Theatres and Headlong.

Alces Productions will stage Alan Alder's Radiance: The Passion Of Marie Curie, about the emotional turmoil of a woman forced to choose between love and her life's work, directed by Mark Giesser, at the Tabard Theatre in Turnham Green, from on 5th February.

The spring season at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow will include David Byrne's The Slab Boys, about the lives of young men in a printing works in 1950s Glasgow, directed by David Hayman, from 12th February; the premiere of Douglas Maxwell's Fever Dream: Southside, a surreal comic thriller about a group of unlikely characters in contemporary Glasgow, directed by Dominic Hill, from 23rd April; and Robert David MacDonald's Into That Darkness, based on Gitta Sereny's interviews with a Nazi Concentration Camp commander, directed by Gareth Nicholls, from 18th May.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Chichester Festival Theatre production of the musical Gypsy, the story of the quintessential child star mother, and her daughter who became 'ecdysiast' Gypsy Rose Lee, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, with Imelda Staunton, Lara Pulver and Kevin Whately, directed by Jonathan Kent, with choreography by Stephen Mear, may be remounted at the Savoy Theatre next April, courtesy of producers David Ian and Michael Harrison; and that the current Broadway adaptation of the Disney film Aladdin, with a new book and lyrics by Chad Beguelin, music by Alan Menken, and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, may make its West End debut at the London Palladium early next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.


Opening This Week

Room On The Broom - Lyric
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s story about a witch and her cat, whose efforts to retrieve her hat, bow and wand, blown away by a mighty wind, leaves them at the mercy of a hungry dragon.


First Nights

26th - Room On The Broom - Lyric
2nd - Hope - Royal Court
2nd - Peppa Pig’s Big Splash - Criterion
3rd - 3 Winters - National Lyttelton
4th - The Wind In The Willows - Vaudeville
10th - Treasure Island - National Olivier
11th - Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 - Barbican Theatre
11th - Cats - London Palladium
11th - The Knight Of The Burning Pestle - Wanamaker
12th - Potted Sherlock - Vaudeville
16th - City Of Angels - Donmar Warehouse


22nd - Forbidden Broadway - Vaudeville
29th - Henry IV - Donmar Warehouse
29th - Speed-the-Plow - Playhouse
7th - ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore - Wanamaker
20th - Electra - Old Vic