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News and Events

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th December 2014

It's Official! As previously forecast here, 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, directed by Jonathan Kent, with choreography by Stephen Mear, will be remounted at the Savoy Theatre opening on 15th April. The producers are David Ian and Michael Harrison.

The spring season at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn will include the premiere of John Hollingworth's Multitudes, exploring what it means to be British for families in an immigrant community, directed by Indhu Rubasingham, opening on 24th February; the Theatre Royal Plymouth premiere production of April de Angelis's After Electra, a black comedy challenging what it means to be a mother, directed by Samuel West, opening on 9th April; Florian Zeller's The Father, in a new version by Christopher Hampton, a comedy about the relationship of an aging man beginning to lose touch with reality and his daughter, with Kenneth Cranham, directed by James Macdonald, opening on 12th May, a co-production with the Theatre Royal Bath; and the Opera Up Close/Belgrade Theatre Coventry production of Verdi's La Traviata, translated and directed by Robin Norton-Hale, opening on 23rd June.

The Society Of London Theatre is looking for 14 enthusiastic and knowledgeable theatregoers to join one of the judging panels for next year's Laurence Olivier Awards. Panellists will receive a pair of free tickets for all shows playing in the West End from 26th February. There are four panels assessing Theatre, Opera, Dance and Affiliates (covering work at 'Off West End' theatres). The Theatre panel is expected to attend about 100plays and musicals, Opera and Affiliates about 30 each, and Dance about 40. Applications can be made online on the SOLT web site, which can be found via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet. Alternatively there are leaflets in all West End theatres. The deadline for applications is 19th January.

Philip Ridley's Radiant Vermin, a satire on the housing crisis revealing how far people are prepared to go to get a home, directed by David Mercatali, will premiere at the Tobacco Factory Theatre in Bristol from 27th February, and then transfer to the Soho Theatre from 9th March, produced by Supporting Wall.

New York TheatreNet: School Of Rock - The Musical, adapted from the 2003 film about a musician who pretends to be a substitute teacher and transforms his students into a rock band, book by Julian Fellowes, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater, in addition to songs from the original score, directed by Laurence Connor, with choreography by JoAnn M Hunter, will preview from 2nd November at the Winter Garden Theatre, with an official opening on 6th December. The producers are the Really Useful Group, Warner Music Group, Access Industries and the Shubert and Nederlander Organizations. According to newspaper reports, the recent Williamstown Theatre Festival production of a revised version of the musical The Visit, book by Terrence McNally, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, adapted from the play by Friedrich Durrenmatt, about an oft-widowed millionairess determined to get revenge on every person from her hometown who did her wrong when she was a young girl, with Chita Rivera, directed by John Doyle, with choreography by Graciela Daniele, will open at a Shubert Theatre yet to be announced next spring. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Szpiezak Productions will stage the musical The Goodbye Girl, book by Neil Simon, music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by David Zippel, adapted from Simon's screenplay of the film about an unemployed dancer who is reluctantly forced to co-habit in the same apartment with an equally impoverished actor, with Rebecca Bainbridge, Paul Keating, Emily Dunn, Rebecca Gilliland, Alex Green, Tim Phelps, Denise Pitter, Emma Kayte Saunders, Mark Turnbull and James Wolstenholme, directed by Adam Lenson, with choreography by Claira Vaughan, opening at Upstairs at the Gatehouse in Highgate Village on 6th February.

Touring Consortium Theatre Company will stage Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge, the story of a Brooklyn longshoreman who has raised his orphaned niece, but becomes infatuated with her, and jealousy transforms him from a respected, honourable man to a virtual stranger, shamed and broken by his own actions, with Jonathan Guy Lewis and Michael Brandon, directed by Stephen Unwin, opening a national tour at Nottingham Playhouse on 4th March.

What Were They Thinking: Carrie, From Book To Movie To Musical, published by Applause Books, is a personal chronicle, tracking Lawrence Cohen's almost four decade history with Stephen King's story, from reading the manuscript in 1973 for producer David Susskind, to writing the screenplay for the 1976 Brian de Palma film, from deciding to turn it into a musical in 1984 to the controversial Royal Shakespeare Company and legendary Broadway production that crashed and burned in 1988, to collaborating on its rebirth and resurrection Off-Broadway for MCC Theater in 2012. Rarely has a theatrical account been so first person and insider based, naming names, telling never-before-told stories, and revealing what its creators were thinking. Passionate and visceral, it provides a highly informative and educational behind-the-scenes look into just how musicals are written and put together. This book charts the entire journey from its inception to its resurrection.

The Original Theatre Company/Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds production of Jerome K Jerome's Three Men In A Boat, the classic Edwardian comic tale of a trip down the Thames, adapted and directed by Craig Gilbert, with David Partridge, Tom Hackney, Michael Rouse and Anna Westlake, with movement direction by Matt Bugg, will open its 3rd national tour at the Cambridge Arts Theatre on 21st January.

Weekly repertory will return to the Theatre Royal Windsor with a season of plays from 26th May, comprising Edward Taylor and John Graham's Pardon Me, Prime Minister, a farce revealing backstage indiscretions at Westminster; Francis Durbridge's Sweet Revenge, a thriller in which a man may (or may not) have killed his wife's lover; Daphne du Maurier's September Tide, in which a mother falls for her daughter's husband; Noel Coward's Hay Fever, the story of a weekend at the country retreat of a bohemian actress, her writer husband, and their two adult children, all of whom behave extravagantly badly in front of their mystified house guests; Alan Ayckbourn's Joking Apart, charting the relationships of the friends of a perfect couple through a series of parties in their garden; and David Hare's Amy's View, which mixes love, death, theatre, women, family and loss. The producers are Bill Kenwright and Paul Taylor-Mills.

Robert Louis Stevenson's Jekyll & Hyde, in a new adaptation by Jo Clifford from the gothic novella of transformation, set in steampunk dystopian future world, will open a national tour at Greenwich Theatre from 11th February, produced by Sell A Door Theatre.


Opening This Week

There are no shows opening in this period -


First Nights

5th - Tree - Old Vic
12th - Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown The Musical - Playhouse


20th - Electra - Old Vic
3rd - Dance ‘Til Dawn - Aldwych
3rd - White Christmas - Dominion
3rd - East Is East - Trafalgar Studios 1
3rd - Neville’s Island - Duke of York’s
4th - Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part 2 - Garrick
4th - Peppa Pig’s Big Splash - Criterion
8th - Here Lies Love - National Dorfman
10th - Great Britain - Haymarket
10th - Urinetown - Apollo
10th - Hope - Royal Court
11th - Room On The Broom - Lyric
11th - Knight Of The Burning Pestle - Wanamaker
11th - Potted Sherlock - Vaudeville
13th - John - National Lyttelton
17th - The Wind In The Willows - Vaudeville