News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 3rd April 2009

English National Opera has announced its 2009/10 season at the London Coliseum. It will include new productions of Puccini's Turandot, directed by Rupert Goold; Bartok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle, directed by Daniel Kramer, in a double bill with Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre performing Stravinsky's The Rite Of Spring; Handel's Messiah, directed by Deborah Warner; Mozart's Idomeneo, directed by Katie Mitchell; Puccini's Tosca, directed by Catherine Maltifano; and Bizet's The Pearl Fishers, directed by Penny Woolcock; plus the British premieres of Donizetti's The Elixir Of Love, directed by Jonathan Miller; and Janacek's Katya Kabanova. There will also be revivals of Jonathan Miller's production of Verdi's Rigoletto; David McVicar's production of Britten's The Turn Of The Screw; David Alden's production of Donizetti's Lucia Di Lammermoor; and Phelim McDermott's production of Philip Glass's Satyagraha. In addition, there will be a visit by Catalan company La Fura dels Baus with Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre; Hans Werner Henze's Elegy For Young Lovers, libretto by W H Auden and Chester Kallman, directed by Fiona Shaw at the Young Vic; and a newly commissioned work produced in collaboration with Punchdrunk, directed by Felix Barrett, at another location.

The Broadway musical Legally Blonde, based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film, book by Heather Hach, music and lyrics by Nell Benjamin and Laurence O'Keefe, directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, will receive its British premiere at the Savoy Theatre, from 5th December. It is the story of a cosmetics friendly sorority girl who follows her boyfriend to law school, and when he dumps her for someone more serious, sets out to become a swat. No casting has been announced.

Forthcoming productions at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston will include the British premiere of Monsters, by Swedish writer Niklas Radstrom, in a translation by Gabriella Berggren, based on the facts of the murder of 2 year old James Bulger by two 10 year old boys, with Lucy Ellinson, Sandy Grierson, Jeremy Killick and Victoria Pratt swapping and sharing roles to create a different performance every night, directed by Christopher Haydon, opening on 8th May, produced by Strawberry Vale and the Arcola Theatre; a multimedia production of Seneca's Thyestes, translated by Caryl Churchill, the violent and bloody 'prequel' to the cycle plays about the doomed House of Atreus, directed by Polly Findlay, opening on 6th June, produced by Darbourne Luff; David Grieg's Dr Korczak's Example, about the founder of the Jewish orphanage in the Warsaw Ghetto, who finds his pacifist principles pushed to the limit, with Alexandra Maher, Philip Rham and Craig Vye, directed by Amy Leach, opening on 3rd July, a Royal Exchange Theatre production; and Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts, about family, morality and guilt in a mother-son relationship, in a new version by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, directed by Bijan Sheibani, produced by ATC and the Arcola Theatre

Two contemporary American musicals will each play for a week at the Duchess Theatre in May: The Last Five Years, Jason Robert Brown's two handed song cycle about a relationship, told from beginning to end by the man, and from end to beginning by the woman, with Julie Atherton and Paul Spicer, directed by Amelia Sears, from 6th to 10th; and tick… tick… BOOM!, the autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, with book completed by David Auburn, about the frustrations of a young musical theatre writer who can't get his work produced, with Julie Atherton, Paul Keating, Leon Lopez and Paul Spicer, from 13th to 17th, directed by Hannah Chissick. The producers are Jamie Hendry Productions and Neil Eckersley and Paul Spicer for Speckulation Entertainment.

Hull Truck will open its new £15m home, comprising a 440 seater main auditorium and a 134 seater studio theatre, rehearsal space, education facilities, offices and workshop, designed by Wright and Wright, on 23rd April, with a gala performance of Funny Turns, about a house husband and touring rock chick wife, the latest work written and directed by John Godber, its founder and creative director. Other productions in the opening season will include an updated version of Alan Plater's football comedy Confessions Of A City Supporter, directed by Gareth Tudor Price, from 21st May; Rupert Creed's Every Time It Rains, a docudrama about the 2007 floods in Hull, also directed by Tudor Price, from 18th June; and the premiere of Jane Thornton's Say It With Flowers, about group of amateur gardeners taking on the professionals at a major flower show, directed by Godber, from 9th July.

The Royal Opera House has entered into a new partnership with the BBC, which will see opera and ballet productions broadcast on BBC4, Radio 3 and available on the BBC iPlayer for the first time. The arrangement will launch on 16th May with Offenbach's The Tales Of Hoffman, and will include Wagner's Der Fliegende Hollander, Purcell's Dido And Aeneas and Handel's Acis And Galatea. The partnership will also see music director Antonio Pappano present a series charting the history of Italian Opera from Monteverdi to Puccini in 2010.

A new digital film of a performance of The Royal Ballet production of The Tales Of Beatrix Potter, based on 6 of Beatrix Potter's best loved animal stories, choreographed by Frederick Ashton, to a score by John Lanchbery, will be screened in 60 cinemas across Britain from 13th April.

Alan Plater's Looking For Buddy, with a jazz score by Alan Barnes, in which a Geordie Philip Marlowe, takes a wry and surreal look at the new Tyneside, as he searches for a missing recording of the jazz trumpeter Buddy Bolden, with Tim Healy, Jayne MacKenzie, Jane Holman, Phil Corbitt, Jacqueline Boatswain and Nicholas Lumley, directed by Mark Babych, is currently receiving its premiere at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton, a co-production with Live Theatre.

The Rumour Machine says: that Simon Gray's The Late Middle Classes, centred on a boy in an unhappy family situation in the early 1950s, may make its West End debut in the autumn, directed by Harry Burton; that Simon Russell Beale, Fiona Shaw, Michelle Terry will feature in Dion Boucicault's London Assurance, directed by Nicholas Hytner at the National Theatre in February; and that Andrew Lloyd Webber will produce a revised stage version of The Wizard Of Oz, with new songs by Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater added to the original score by E Y Harburg and Harold Arlen, probably directed by Jeremy Sams, late next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.