News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 4th March 2011

The Broadway musical Rock Of Ages, book by Chris D'Arienzo, set in a Hollywood rock club in 1987, featuring a back catalogue of 1980s glam rock pop songs, directed by Kristin Hanggi, with choreography by Kelly Devine, will transfer to the Shaftesbury Theatre, opening in September.

The Theatre Royal York production of E Nesbitt's The Railway Children, adapted by Mike Kenny, directed by Damian Cruden, will return to the former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo Station, from 28th June to 4th September. The audience sits on the platforms, with the action taking place on the platforms and the track itself. It is the story of three London children who move to a cottage in rural Yorkshire, where they befriend the local railway porter and embark on a journey of discovery and adventure. The show uses the saloon carriage that featured in the film, and a period steam engine from the National Rail Museum in York.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Lincoln Center Theater New York production of the musical South Pacific, music by Richard Rodgers, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, directed by Bartlett Sherr, with musical staging by Christopher Gattelli, will open a national tour at the Barbican Theatre on 15th August, where it will return for a Christmas season. Drawing on James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific it tells the stories of American service men and women on a Pacific Island base during the Second World War.

The summer season at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough will feature the premieres of two plays written and directed by Alan Aycbourn. Dear Uncle, a reworking of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya as a comedy of unrequited love set in the Lake District in 1935, will open on 8th July, produced by arrangement with David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers; and Neighbourhood Watch, a cautionary tale of the dangers of taking the law into your own hands, will open on 9th September. The season will also include Arthur Miller's The Price, in which two estranged brothers meet to dispose of their late father's possessions, directed by David Thacker, opening on 6th April, a co-production with the Octagon Theatre Bolton and Hull Truck Theatre; Pam Gems's Marlene, a solo play with music in which Marlene Dietrich reflects on her life and work, directed by Chris Monks, opening on 27th May; and a contemporary version of Bizet's Carmen, with football and a shopping mall standing in for bullfighting and a tobacco factory, adapted and directed by Chris Monks, opening on 29th July.

Forthcoming productions at the Tabard Theatre in Turnham Green will include two plays written and directed by Alec Harris playing in repertoire, Murder Me Gently, a Film Noir style story involving the murder of a Russian journalist, and Happiness, looking at the relationship between a father and his paraplegic adult son, questioning the elevation of personal happiness over social stability, with a company comprising Alan Hay, Genevieve Cleghorn, Alec Harris, Declan Lynch, Helene Salvini-Fujita and Howard Corlett, produced by Crossroads Theatre; and A Woman Alone, by Franca Rame and Dario Fo, English translation by Gillian Hanna, about a woman driven to madness by her abusive relationship with a possessive husband and constant harassment from her wheelchair bound brother-in-law performed by Daniela Lavender, opening on 5th April.

New York TheatreNet: Theatre enthusiasts now have their own interactive board game Be A Broadway Star. Players start out in acting school and work their way up to the top, buying headshots, earning their Equity card, getting an agent, going to auditions, going to more auditions, and maybe even winning a Tony Award. But this isn't an ordinary board game: this is a Broadway board game. That means players have lots of chances to show off their talents along the way, with interactive 'make or break' cards that might have them singing and dancing on their turn. Whoever has the most fans at the end of the game wins. Further information from Be A Broadway Star. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, the Lowry, Salford and the Halle Orchestra will stage the musical Wonderful Town, book by Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, with Connie Fisher, directed by Braham Murray, opening at the Lowry on 31st March. Adapted from Fields and Chodorov's play My Sister Eileen and the stories of Ruth Mckenney, it is the tale of an aspiring writer who arrives in New York with her younger sister seeking love and fortune, and the array of colourful characters they meet in Greenwich Village.

Meanwhile, the spring season at the Royal Exchange Theatre itself will include Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge, the story of a Brooklyn longshoreman who has raised his orphaned niece, but become infatuated with her, and jealousy transforms him from a respected, honorable man to a virtual stranger, shamed and broken by his own actions, directed by Sarah Frankcom, opening on 23rd May; and Shakespeare's As You Like It, directed by Greg Hersov, opening on 4th July.

Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen's The Exonerated, telling the true stories of six people sent to Death Row for crimes they did not commit, and how they persevered to survive it, with Glenn Carter, Cavin Cornwall, Anthony Cozens, Gabriella Santinelli, Alex Gatehouse, Ian Porter, Kelle Bryan, Derek Griffiths, Lisa Eichhorn and Gabriel Fleary, directed by Jaclyn McLoughlin, has just opened at the Charing Cross Theatre, formerly the New Players Theatre. The producer is Sweeney Earl Productions.

Ruby Wax: Losing It, text by Ruby Wax, music and lyrics by Judith Owen, in which the duo present a darkly comic examination of the pressures of contemporary life that result in 1 in 4 people suffering mental illness, directed by Thea Sharrock, will return to the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark from 17th May.