News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 1st May 1997

Word is that Andrew Lloyd Webber has drastically revised his plans for Whistle Down the Wind following the mixed reviews it received at the Washington try out, which stalled plans for a Broadway opening. He has parted company with both director Hal Prince and America. Gayle Edwards, the Australian responsible for the much overrated touring version of Aspects Of Love and the disappointing revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, will direct a London opening this winter. There are no further details as yet on how many other members of the creative team and cast survive, nor precise dates or venue. Lyrics were by rock writer Jim Steinman, and book by Patricia Knop. The score was a departure for Lloyd Webber, drawing on a mixture of rock'n'roll, country and gospel, as the story was relocated in the bible belt of the American deep south, of the 1950's.

Still on the theme of salvage, Cameron Mackintosh is having yet another go at making Martin Guerre work, with changes planned for the recasting rehearsal period, so he still hasn't given up either. Les Miserables will also close for a week in September for reworking, to bring it into line with the changes recently introduced to the Broadway production, but a wholesale Massacre des Innocents as in New York is not expected here. Ho Chi Min city however looks safe for the moment.

The National Theatre will present a new play by Tony Kushner, whose previous work includes the Aids trilogy Angel In America, this autumn. Henry Box Brown is based on the true story of a black American slave who had himself crated and shipped to England, and was then involved in the struggle for workers rights during the industrial revolution. George C Wolfe the artistic director of New York's Public Theatre will direct. Kushner also collaborated with Ariel Dorfman on Widows, the play about the women of disappeared ones in a South American country, with Edith Macarthur, Sean Scanlan and Michael Nardone, which may come to the West End after its current tour.

Glyndebourne Festival Opera looks set for a record breaking season with two weeks still to go before it opens. The three popular operas are already sold out. Seats remain for Britten's Owen Wingrave, Janacek's The Makropulos Case and Handel's Theodora. Start packing those hampers.

Sir Richard Attenborough is joining forces with former dance critic Richard Buckle in an effort to liven up the Theatre Museum which they claim is too dull. Public funding will be sought to achieve the transformation. After Luvvies for Labour is it Dickies for Danger?

The Rumour Machine says: that although many people expect Always to be this year's Leonardo, those who have heard the score have been pleasantly surprised - of course there is still the question of book. The Rumour Machine grinds on.