News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 2nd September 2005

The 2003 Regent's Part Open Air Theatre production of the musical High Society, which toured last year, will open at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 10th October. Jerry Hall will join the original cast, including Katherine Kingsley, Graham Bickley, Rob Robinson, Ria Jones, Claire Redcliff and Royston Keane, directed by Ian Talbot, with choreography by Gillian Gregory. The story unfolds at a 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. Originally a film musical based on Philip Barry's play The Philadelphia Story, with book by Arthur Kopit, and songs by Cole Porter, it was later adapted again for the stage. It will be presented by Mark Goucher.

Michael Praed and Susan Penhaligon are to star in Stephen King's Misery, adapted by Stephen Moore, directed by Alan Cohen, opening at The King's Head Theatre on 3rd October. After a car crash the author of a series of romantic novels finds himself in an isolated farmhouse being cared for by his number one fan, but when she learns that he intends to kill off his heroine in the next book, the fan forces him to destroy the manuscript and events take an ugly turn. The producers are Lucy Blakeman and John Payton for Popular Productions.

Joanna Riding heads a cast of 25 actor/musicians, including Jess Murphy, Fiona Johnson, Charlotte Roach, Fiona Bruce, Hannah Bourne, Karen Fisher-Pollard, Rosalie Craig, Helen Kirkpatrick, Kate Lynn Hocking and Louisa Prosser, in the British premiere of Arthur Miller's Playing For Time, directed by Joanna Read, opening at Salisbury Playhouse on 10th November. The play is based on a memoir by Fania Fenelon, about the formation of a women's orchestra in the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War.

Brits On Broadway: Michael Ball will join Maria Friedman, together with Angela Christian and Jill Paice (who also starred in London) and Ron Bohmer, Walter Charles and Adam Brazier in The Woman In White, which opens at the Marquis Theatre on 17th November. Prior to this Ball will make his New York City Opera debut in Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience, opening on 10th September at the New York State Theater in Lincoln Center.

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre production of Peter Quilter's Glorious, starring Maureen Lipman as Florence Foster Jenkins, directed by Alan Strachan, will transfer to the Duchess Theatre on 2nd November. The show also stars Barrie Ingham, Josie Kidd, William Oxborrow and Lolly Susi. Foster Jenkins was a socialite who gave supposedly serious classical concert performances in the 1920s and 1930s - even playing Carnegie Hall - singing so out of tune that she became a cult figure. The producers are Michael Codron and Lee Dean by arrangement with Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

The theatre in the basement of Theatre Museum, which has been dark for some years, is being relaunched as The Courtyard Theatre, opening on 13th September with Amy Evans' Strike, by John Finnemore, directed by Adam Barnard. In the comedy about a schoolgirl who goes on strike and provokes a crisis that reaches national proportions, Hannah Boyde, Susanna Cousins, Paul O'Mahony, Simon Masterton, John Sheerman, Rachel Sternberg play over 30 characters (both adults and children). The producer is Activated Image.

The Bristol Old Vic Company's autumn season at the Theatre Royal includes Greg Hicks as Christopher Marlowe's Tamburlaine, the tale of the warrior king's rampage across Persia, Turkey and Egypt in pursuit of power, with the two part epic reshaped by director David Farr into one play, opening on 11th October, prior to transferring to London in the Barbican Theatre's Young Genius season; Tom Stoppard's translation of Chekhov's The Seagull, directed by Robert Bowman, opening on 8th November; and the world premiere of Philip Pullman's retelling of the Arabian Nights story of Aladdin And The Enchanted Lamp, adapted by Simon Reade and Aletta Collins (who also directs) opening on 7th December.

On The Casting Couch: Damian Lewis, Lesley Manville, Una Stubbs, Geraldine Alexander, Brid Brennan, Pamela Merrick and Michael Thomas will star in Ibsen's Pillars Of The Community, opening at the National Theatre on 1st November; and Henry Goodman will star in Moliere's The Hypochondriac opening at the Almeida Theatre on 10th November.

Hull Truck theatre company's new season includes the world premieres of Nick Lane's adaptation of George Orwell's 1984, about the original Big Brother, directed by Gareth Tudor Price, opening on 27th October; Jane Thornton's physical comedy I Want That Hair, in which three women who each think the others have perfect lives realise their own good fortunes, and understand that a new haircut cannot turn their worlds around, directed by John Godber, opening on 2nd February; and Richard Bean's Up On The Roof, set in the Hull prison riot in 1976, directed by Gareth Tudor Price, opening on 2nd March.

Broadway Bound: Lestat, the first stage musical written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, with a book by Linda Woolverton, based on the vampire character in Anne Rice's novels, will open a world premiere pre Broadway season at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco on 17th December. Hugh Panaro heads a cast of 16, including Carolee Carmello, Jack Noseworthy, Jim Stanek, Roderick Hill, Michael Genet and Allison Fischer, directed by Robert Jess Roth, with musical staging by Matt West. The show unifies the trilogy into a linear storyline that eschews gothic horror and shows the vampire dealing with his damnation 'on a realistic and human level'. It is the inaugural Broadway production of Warner Bros Theatre Ventures.