News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 1st February 2002

Gwyneth Paltrow will make her British stage debut in David Auburn's Tony Award winning play Proof at the Donmar Warehouse from 9th May to 15th June, directed by John Madden. It is the story of a mathematician who has inherited her father's genius for figures (but may also have inherited his mental illness) seeking solutions to both equations and life. The American Imports season at Donmar starts with the original American cast of Elizabeth Canavan, Salvatore Inzerillo, Ron Cephas Jones, John Ortiz and David Zayas, directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, in Stephen Adly Guirgis Jesus Hopped The A Train, from 6th March. This runs in tandem with Rachel Leskovac, Matt Bardock, Katherine Parkinson and Doraly Rosen in the world premiere of Keith Redin's Frame 312, directed by Josie Rourke, from 11th March.

A high profile theatrical investment and production company called Theatreshare has been launched this week. It aims to raise 2m to invest in, co-produce, or produce a wide variety of plays and musicals, from new work by established writers and composers, to revivals, which will play in Really Useful Theatres West End venues. Headed by RUT's managing director Andre Ptaszynski, with Stephen Fry as chairman, the non-executive board includes Andrew Lloyd Webber, producer Michael Codron and fund manager Nicola Horlick. Theatreshare intends to become involved in around a dozen new productions a year. Its initial schedule includes Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, opening at the Palladium in April, Bombay Dreams, opening at the Apollo Victoria in June, and the Broadway mega hit The Producers, expected sometime next year. Investors are currently being sought, with a minimum investment of 2,500, which will qualify them for a benefit package that includes complimentary tickets, invitations to receptions and events, programme credits, and access to tickets for sold out shows. Further information can be found on the Theatreshare web site via the link from the Producers section of TheatreNet.

The world premiere of Nicholas Wright's Vincent In Brixton at the National Theatre on 1st May, will feature Dutch actor Jochum ten Haaf in the title role, alongside Clare Higgins, Emily Blunt, Emma Handy and Paul Nicholls. It is based on actual events in Vincent Van Gogh's early life in London, when he worked for an international art dealer, and rented a room in the house of a widow in Brixton, and is about the transforming effect of love, sex and artistic adventure on unformed talent. Richard Eyre directs his first production at the National since he stepped down as artistic director. Prior to this, Eyre's Broadway production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, starring Liam Neeson and Laura Linney, opens on 7th March at the Virginia Theatre.

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art has worked in partnership with EMI Classics to produce When Love Speaks, a fundraiser CD featuring Shakespeare sonnets, performed by the cream of British actors (many of whom are RADA graduates) to newly composed accompaniment. To mark its release, there will be a live performance at the Old Vic Theatre on 10th February. Those taking part will include Alan Rickman, Richard Attenborough, Fiona Shaw, Annie Lennox and David Stewart, Dave Gilmour, Des'Ree, Robert Lindsay and Tom Courtenay. The CD is packaged with a hardback book containing the featured sonnets. Further information about the CD and the performance (including a Send A Sonnet feature) can be found via the RADA web site, to which there is a link from the Training section of TheatreNet.

The Bush Theatre launches its 30th Birthday season on 20th February with The Glee Club by Richard Cameron, about five Yorkshire miners and a church organist, directed by Mike Bradwell; followed by A Buyer's Market by Tony Bicat, directed by Gemma Bodinetz, from 3rd April to 4th May; and A Carpet, A Pony And A Monkey by Mike Packer, from 15th May to 15th June.

Once again proving that the French have no understanding of musical theatre, the novelist and songwriter Etienne Roda-Gill has written Che Guevara la Musicale, which is to be staged in Paris next year. Roda-Gill describes it as a "musical/film/oratorio" which includes appearances by Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.

Meanwhile, although it appears that previous 'Che' Antonio Banderas is no longer in the running to play the lead in the film of The Phantom Of The Opera (if it ever gets into production) he is to make his New York musical theatre debut. Banderas will star in a Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Nine next January. The production will be directed by David Leveaux, who staged the Maury Yeston-Arthur Kopit-Mario Fratti musical based on Fellini's film 8, at the Donmar Warehouse in 1996.

The New York based organisation The Theatre Guild is presenting its 31st Theatre At Sea cruise around the Mediterranean, departing Southampton on 13th May, and returning on 31st May. It will feature Peter Falk, Patricia Neal, Jerry Orbach, Lee Roy Reams and Gena Rowlands, in a programme of shows and events directed by Marilyn C Langner and Philip Langner. Further information can be found on the Theatre Guild web site via the link from the Organisations section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine On The Plane From Hollywood says: that that Nicole Kidman has withdrawn from Sam Mendes valedictory Uncle Vanya Twelfth Night double header at Donmar Warehouse due to film commitments; that following completion of the final series of The X Files, Gillian Anderson may appear in a play in London this summer; and that the stage musical White Christmas, based on the 1954 film, which was announced for the Savoy last autumn, but later cancelled prior to production, is back in business. The Rumour Machine grinds on.