News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th March 2010

Tap Dogs, featuring 'six guys from a building site' dressed in Blundstone boots and jeans, who tap, stomp, jump, grind and splash their way through a series of routines created by choreographer Dein Perry and designer/director Nigel Triffitt, will return to the West End at the Novello Theatre from 15th June. The producer is Back Row Productions.

Ian Marshall Fisher's Lost Musicals series, presenting neglected shows by great American Broadway theatre writers, in semi-staged performances by West End regulars on Sunday afternoons at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, has announced its 2010 season. Paris, book by Martin Brown, music and lyrics by Cole Porter, the story of an upper class American woman who comes to Paris to put an end to her son's relationship with a French actress, with Anne Reid, Richard Dempsey and Sian Reeves, from 28th March to 25th April; The Day Before Spring, book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Frederick Loewe, in which a woman who meets a former lover at a college reunion finds he has documented their romance in a best selling novel, from 13th June to 11th July; and Darling Of The Day, book by Nunnally Johnson, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by E Y Harburg, adapted from Arnold Bennett's The Great Adventure, about a celebrated artist who fakes his death and assumes the identity of his valet, which will be performed at the National Portrait Gallery, from 22nd August to 19th September. All performances are preceded by introductory talks from guest speakers.

The Victoria and Albert Museum has purchased four costumes worn by Danny La Rue, ahead of an auction of 90 of his costumes and gowns. Two of the costumes will go on permanent display V&A, and the other two will be featured in a forthcoming exhibition of pantomime costumes at the Museum of Childhood. The auction of La Rue's other costumes will take place at Brick Lane Music Hall on 12th March at midday, with viewing from 10am.

The 55th National Student Drama Festival will take place in Scarborough from 27th March to 2nd April, with groupd from colleges, youth theatres, community organisations and universities. This year's shows will be 4 Bar And Rising, Angel, Bad House, By The Bog of Cats, Guidelines For Measures To Cope, In Loving Memory, Into The Woods, Our Country's Good, Phaedre's Love, Tell Tale, The Pillowman and The Whitehouse Institute. In addition to performances, the Festival also has an extensive programme of workshops, masterclasses, debates and other events, with participants including Anthony Alderson, Neil Alexander, John Caird, Paddy Cunneen, Katy Griffiths, Robert Hewison, Thelma Holt, Stephen Jeffreys, Mike Leigh, Mark Ravenhill together with the Festival's patron and Scarborough's Cultural Godfather, Alan Ayckbourn. During the Festival, the town assumes the mantle of a mini Edinburgh Fringe, as a variety of venues become performance spaces. Further information can be found on the NSDF web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch: David Essex will be joined by Christopher Timothy, Louise English, Nicola Brazil and Michael Pickering in the musical All The Fun Of The Fair, opening at the Garrick Theatre on 28th April; and Clive Rowe, David Burt, Hadley Fraser, Edward Petherbridge, Paul Hunter, Lorna Want, Luke Brady and Carl Au will comprise the cast of the musical The Fantasticks, opening at the Duchess Theatre on 9th June.

New York TheatreNet: Room #103, Hotel Chelsea, a site specific theatrical evening centered around Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and other former guests of the Chelsea Hotel, including Sid Vicious, Nancy Spungen, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Arthur Miller, Jack Kerouac, Arthur C Clarke, Janis Joplin and Brendan Beehan, created and directed by James Veitch, with Kevin Confoy, Lucia Brizzi and Justin Perkins, will be staged in Room 103 at the hotel itself, from 19th to 28th March. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway, can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Stephen Adly Guirgis's Jesus Hopped The A Train, in which two murders awaiting trial in Ryker's Island, New York, wrestle with God and their demons, performed by a company of professional and ex-prisoner actors, directed by Esther Baker, will open at Trafalgar Studios 2 on 7th April, a Synergy Theatre Project production.

The Usher Hall in Edinburgh has resumed performances following a 35m refurbishment, designed by LDN Architects. A new glass wing houses public space, including a cafe bar and hospitality facilities, with lifts and stairs to all levels of the building, and an education space, plus accommodation for administrative staff, which has released space backstage for enhanced dressing room and other facilities. The hall's capacity has been increased to 2,900 for promenade events by the installation of removable seating, and is 2,200 for all seated events. Work continues on landscaping that will unite the Usher with the adjacent Royal Lyceum and Traverse theatres into a new arts quarter. The official reopening concert will be by the Houston Symphony Orchestra on 10th October.

The spring season at the Finborough Theatre in Earl's Court will include the London premiere of Tennessee Williams's The Notebook Of Trigorin, freely adapted from Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, directed by Phil Willmott, opening on 1st April, a co-production with The Steam Industry; Craig Higginson's Dream Of The Dog, a violent confrontation between a colonial couple and their ex-servant in contemporary South Africa, with Janet Suzman, directed by Katie McAleese, opening on 29th April, a co-production with Meeting Point Productions; and James Graham's The Man, a blackly comic storytelling event, with different tales provoked by drawing random receipts from a shoe box of tax expenses, directed by Kate Wasserberg, from 27th May, a co-production with Brawl. To mark the Finborough's 30th anniversary, there will be a festival showcasing 30 new works by 30 different playwrights running from 25th May to 19th June, including works by including Naomi Wallace, Brian Logan, James Graham, Chris Dunkley and Bekah Brunstetter.

And Finally . . . Coronation Street is to be adapted into a 'Reduced Shakespeare Company' style stage show by Jonathan Harvey, condensing storylines from the last 50 years into a 2 hour series of most memorable moments and characters. Coronation Street: Abridged Live! will open a national tour at the Lowry in Salford on 12th August. The producers are Coronation Street executive producer Kieran Roberts and Phil McIntyre Entertainment.