Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews
New York TheatreNet: Once again there is a strong showing of British talent in the nominations for this year's Tony Awards. One Man, Two Guvnors leads the way with 7, including James Cordon - Actor (Play) and Nicholas Hytner - Direction (Play); followed by End Of The Rainbow with 3, including Tracie Bennett - Actress Play (Leading); Evita with 3, including Musical Revival; Ghost The Musical with 3, including Hugh Vanstone - Lighting (Musical); and Jesus Christ Superstar with 2, including Musical Revival. The winners will be announced at the 66th Tony Awards ceremony at the Beacon Theatre on 10th June. The full list of nominees, and further information about the live webcast of the event, can be found on the Tony Awards web site, via the link from Organisations section of New York TheatreNet, which also features news, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway, via the link opposite below.
It has been confirmed that The Bodyguard, a stage musical adaptation of the 1992 film about the relationship between a singer and a man hired to protect her from a stalker, book by Alex Dinelaris, featuring the songs from the movie plus other hits from Whitney Houston's back catalogue, with Heather Headley and Lloyd Owen, directed by Thea Sharrock, with choreography by Arthur Pita, will open at the Adelphi Theatre on 5th December. The producers are Michael Harrison and David Ian.
The Royal Opera House is extending its free big screen live relays of ballet and opera productions to even more locations across Britain this summer. On 17th May, Puccini's La boheme will be shown in Trafalgar Square, Walthamstow Town Square, General Gordon Square in Woowich and 19 other locations; on 30th May, Verdi's Falstaff will be shown in Trafalgar Square and 14 other locations; and on 16th July, Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, a collaboration between the Royal Ballet and the National Gallery, bringing together new choreography, music, poetry and visual arts, will be shown in Trafalgar Square, Canada Square Park in Canary Wharf, Lyric Square in Hammersmith, General Gordon Square in Woowich and 15 other locations. Further information can be found on the ROH web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.
The musical Jekyll And Hyde, book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, music by Frank Wildhorn, adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson's gothic novella, with Tim Rogers, Joanna Strand, Madalena Alberto, Mark Goldthorp and Mark Turnball, directed by Luke Fredericks, with musical staging by Adam Murray, will play at the Union Theatre in Southwark from 16th May. The producer is Morphic Graffiti.
Covering McKellen - An Understudy's Tale by David Weston, published by Rickshaw Publishing, has won this year's Theatre Book Prize, awarded by the Society for Theatre Research. Weston's debut book tells of his experiences as Ian McKellen's understudy during the Royal Shakespeare Company's world tour of King Lear in 2007. It is a remarkably candid account, full of backstage dramas and indiscretions, leaving out none of the squabbles, rivalries and mishaps that inevitably occur while a company is on the road for an extended period.
Babel, an immersive outdoor production of epic proportions, with a cast of 300, combining storytelling, live music, massed choirs and state-of-the-art visual effects to celebrate what it means to be part of a global community, directed by Bill Mitchell, will be staged in Caledonian Park in Islington from 8th to 20th May. It is a co-production by World Stages London, WildWorks and Battersea Arts Centre.
The 35th Spitalfields Festival, centred on Christ Church Spitalfields, runs from 8th to 23th June, with 60 events in various venues, both indoors and out. The programme features a wide range of music, from medieval to contemporary jazz. Highlights include The Opera Group performing Harrison Birtwistle's Bow Down, retelling the old English story of the Two Sisters, a tale of young love, jealousy and violence; Melvin Tan with the premiere of 11 variations on Bach's 'Bist du bei mir' by some of the biggest names in classical music today; and the Britten Sinfonia and the Choir of Royal Holloway in an event exploring the music of the Baltic States. In addition to the concerts, there are free lunchtime and early evening rush hour events featuring young performers and composers, plus classical karaoke, bell ringing, fringe events, walks, talks, visits and exhibitions about the Spitalfields area and Nicholas Hawkesmoor's Christ Church, one of the great baroque churches of Europe. Further information can be found on the Spitalfields Festival web site, via the link from Festivals, in the Links section of TheatreNet.
The Scoop, the 1,000 seater open air amphitheatre next to City Hall, on the south bank opposite the Tower of London, is presenting another summer season of free performances, Thursdays to Sundays from 5th July to 5th August. The Trojan War & Peace, is an adaptation of Aeschylus's Orestia, into 3 plays, The Trojan Horse, Agamemnon and Orestes, each 1 hour long, at 6.30pm, 8pm and 9.30pm, adapted and directed by Phil Wilmott, with movement by Javier de Frutos. They chart Ancient Greece's journey from chaos and war to peace, justice and the harmony that inspired the Olympic ideal. The producers are Suzanna Rosenthal and The Steam Industry. There is no need to book - just turn up and sit down.
The musical Mack And Mabel, book by Michael Stewart, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, set in Hollywood at the peak of the silent movie era in the 1920s, charting the tempestuous relationship of director Mack Sennett and his star, the comedienne Mabel Normand, with Norman Bowman and Laura Pitt-Pulford, directed by Thom Southerland, with choreography by Lee Proud, will open at the Vault at Southwark Playhouse at London Bridge on 11th July. The producer is Danielle Tarento.
Longborough Festival Opera, one of the 'alternative Glyndebournes', presents its 21st season, running from 9th June to 29th July. It comprises new productions of Mozart's The Magic Flute, directed by Jenny Miller; Janacek's Katya Kabanova, directed by Richard Studer; and Wagner's Gotterdammerung, directed by Alan Privett. Performances are in a 500 seat theatre, with an orchestra pit for 65 players, set in the heart of the Cotswolds, overlooking the Evenlode valley. In order to accommodate a dinner interval performances generally begin at 6.30pm. Further information can be found on the LFO web site, via the link from Dance & Opera in the Links section of TheatreNet.