Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews
The Bridge Project has amended the schedule for its final season, which features Shakespeare's Richard III, with Kevin Spacey leading a company of British and American actors, directed by Sam Mendes. The production will now open at the Old Vic in London on 29th June next year, prior to a world tour that will end at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York in February 2012.
The Royal Shakespeare Company has signed an agreement to make The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm its London home for an annual transfer of plays from its Stratford repertoire for 5 years from 2012. The company has played at The Roundhouse on a number of occasions since the 1970s, and opened a season of 8 plays this week on a specially constructed thrust stage that mirrors the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford. The RSC is also in talks with Delfont Mackintosh Theatres about bringing further productions to London next year.
The National and Royal Court Theatres received most honours in this year's Evening Standard Theatre Awards. Rory Kinnear took Best Actor for Measure For Measure at the Almeida and Hamlet at the National; Nancy Carroll won Best Actress for After The Dance at the National; Howard Davies took Best Director for The White Guard at the National and All My Sons; the Royal Court's Clybourne Park won Best Play; Donmar Warehouse's Passion took Best Musical; Miriam Buether won Best Design for Earthquakes In London at the National and Sucker Punch at the Royal Court; and Peter Hall and Michael Gambon received special awards for their contribution to theatre. The full list of nominees and winners can be found on the This Is London web site via the link from Guides, in the Links section of TheatreNet.
On The Casting Couch: Susannah Harker, Claire Price, Joanne Froggatt, Christopher Simpson, Andrew Woodall and Richard Henders will head the casts of John Donnelly's The Knowledge and Steve Waters's Little Platoons, opening at the Bush Theatre on 17th January; and Sharon Duncan Brewster, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Pip Carter and Adam James will lead the cast of the Nina Raine's Tiger Country, opening at Hampstead Theatre on 19th January.
Russian theatre company Sovremennik will play a season at the Noel Coward Theatre from 21st to 29th January, comprising Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard, and Into The Whirlwind, adapted from Russian journalist Eugenia Ginzburg's memoir of her 17 year imprisonment in a gulag. The producer is Oksana Nemchuk.
A stage version of the 1935 film Top Hat, a backstage musical of mistaken identity, featuring a score by Irving Berlin, adapted by Matthew White and Howard Jacques, from the screenplay by Dwight Taylor and Allan Scott, with Summer Strallen and Tom Chambers, directed by Matthew White, with choreography by Bill Deamer, will open a prospective pre West End tour at the Milton Keynes Theatre in August. The producer is Kenny Wax.
Apollo's Angels: A History Of Ballet by Jennifer Homans, recently published by Granta Books, presents a fascinating history of classical ballet, from its origins in 18th century France through the Italian influence in the 19th century, the dominance of Russia in the late 19th and early 20th century, up to the present. It begins in the courts of old Europe, where ballet began as an aristocratic etiquette and moved from Italy and France to Britain, Denmark, Russia and contemporary America. Homans argues that the evolution of steps, technique and choreography can only be understood in light of the great political and intellectual movements of the past 200 years. She shows how dance and dancers were influenced by the Renaissance and French Classicism, by Revolution and Romanticism, by Expressionism and Bolshevism, Modernism and the Cold War. Holman's book ends with the contemporary crisis in ballet now that 'the masters are dead and gone' and offers a plea for the centrality of classical dance in our civilisation. Beautifully written and illustrated, it is essential reading for anyone interested in history, culture and art.
New York TheatreNet: The new Ivan Menchell-Frank Wildhorn-Don Black musical Bonnie & Clyde, about the Depression-era criminals who captured the imagination of the country, is aiming for Broadway next August, following its current run at Asolo Rep in Sarasota, Florida, featuring Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan, directed by Jeff Calhoun, courtesy of producers Jerry Frankel and Jeffrey Richards. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway, can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.
The next production by The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, a partnership between the writer's estate and producer Bill Kenwright, with exclusive rights to create new touring productions of Christie's original stage plays, will be Verdict, a love quadrangle that leads to murder, with Dawn Steele,
Robert Duncan, Ali Bastian, Peter Byrne, Matthew Lewis, Elizabeth Power and Mark Wynter, directed by Joe Harmston, opening at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 11th January.
Bonhams is holding a sale of entertainment memorabilia at its Knightsbridge saleroom in Montpelier Street SW7, from 12pm on 15th December, with viewing from 12th December onwards. The 375 lots in the sale include the original Robot costume from the film Mother Riley Meets A Vampire; a leather military coat worn by Ian McKellen as Richard III; the prop Key To Mother used by Sigourney Weaver in Alien; the piano used by Monty Norman to compose the James Bond Theme; a doublet worn by Rudolf Nureyev in Swan Lake; Spitting Image puppets including Edward Heath, Margaret Thatcher and John Major; a black velvet jacket worn by Jon Pertwee and a Sea Devil costume from Doctor Who; a revolver used by Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes; and Pete Townshend's first guitar; plus scripts, posters, costume designs, storyboards, magazines, letters and promotional photographs, many autographed. Further information can be found on the Bonhams web site via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of TheatreNet.
The Rumour Machine says: that the New York Shakespeare In The Park production of The Merchant Of Venice, with Al Pacino, directed by Daniel Sullivan, which is currently playing indoors at the Broadhurst Theatre, may be West End bound next year courtesy of producers Duncan C Weldon and Paul Elliott. The Rumour Machine grinds on.