Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews
The Society Of London Theatre is looking for 14 enthusiastic and knowledgeable theatregoers to join one of the judging panels for next year's Laurence Olivier Awards. Panellists will receive a pair of free tickets for all shows playing in the West End for a whole year starting on 17th February. There are four panels assessing Theatre, Opera, Dance and Affiliates (covering work at the Almeida, Greenwich, Hampstead, Lyric Hammersmith, Royal Court Upstairs, Soho, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Tricycle). The Theatre panel is expected to attend about 100 play and musical performances, Opera and Affiliates about 30 each, and Dance about 40. Applications can be made online on the SOLT web site, which can be found via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet. Alternatively there are leaflets in all West End theatres. The deadline for applications is 10th January.
Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, in a new adaptation by Mike Poulton, a story of unrequited love, dogged perseverance, and the strength of the human spirit, with Iain Glen and Charlotte Emmerson, directed by Lucy Bailey, will open at The Print Room, in Notting Hill, on 29th March.
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Radio Show, adapted from Douglas Adams's legendary radio series about life, the universe and everything, with original cast members Simon Jones, Geoff McGivern, Susan Sheridan and Mark Wing-Davey, and the voice of Stephen Moore, directed by Dirk Magg, will open a national tour at the Theatre Royal Glasgow on 8th June. The producers are by Perfectly Normal Productions and The Entertainment Business for The Radio Theatre Company.
Francois Archambault's The Leisure Society, a comedy about a vulgar couple with more money than sense, with Agyness Deyn, Ed Stoppard and Melanie Gray, directed by Harry Burton, will open at the Trafalgar Studios 2 on 1st March.
New York TheatreNet: Cecil Beaton: The New York Years, an exhibition at the Museum Of The City Of New York, running until February 20th, features the British born photographer and designer, who was embraced by Manhattan's artistic and social circles from the 1920s through the 1960s. The display brings together photographs, drawings, and costumes by Cecil Beaton to chronicle his impact on the city's cultural life. Beaton's relentless energy and curiosity spurred him to pursue new fields, from fashion and portrait photography to costume and scenic design for Broadway, ballet, and opera, and to put his own aesthetic stamp on each of these endeavours. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.
C S Lewis's The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, in which a wardrobe in a house in wartime Britain is a portal to another world, adapted and co-directed by Rupert Goold and Michael Fentiman, will be staged in Kensington Gardens from 8th May to 9th September in the 360 degree video tent used for Peter Pan in 2009. The producer is Threesixty.
A new adaptation of Verdi's La Traviata, translated, adapted and directed by Kit Hesketh-Harvey, with Robin Bailey, Oliver Brignall, Paloma Bruce, Claire Egan, Kristin Finnigan, Marcin Gesla, Anna Jeru-Kope, Marcin Kope, Joe Morgan, Gemma Morsley, Matthew Quirk, Stephen John Svanholm and Glenn Tweedie,, will open at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, in Highgate, on 8th February, the producer is The Merry Opera Company.
On The Casting Couch: Tyne Daly will be joined by Jeremy Cohen and Garrett Sorenson reprising their Broadway performances, plus Naomi O'Connell, Gerard Carey and Dianne Pilkington in Terence McNally's Master Class, opening at the Vaudeville Theatre on 7th February.
The musical Lucky Stiff, book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, music by Stephen Flaherty, based on Michael Butterworth's novel The Man Who Broke The Bank At Monte Carlo, in which a mild mannered Englishman is pursued by the Mob as he endeavours to fulfil the bizarre conditions of an inheritance, directed by Rob McWhir, with choreography by James Houlbrooke, will open at the Landor Theatre, in Clapham, on 3rd February. The producers are Almost-normal and Theatrica.
Howard Brenton's Bloody Poetry, about the first meeting of the Shelleys and Lord Byron, where an evening of ghost stories inspired Mary Shelly to write Frankenstein, with David Sturzaker, Joanna Christie, Joe Bannister, Rhiannon Sommers, Emily Glenister and Nick Trumble, directed by Tom Littler, will open at the Jermyn Street Theatre, off Piccadilly, on 3rd February. The producer is Primavera.
The Cape Town Opera production of the folk opera Porgy And Bess, music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward, who also wrote the book, adapted from his novel, relocating the story of a cripple who offers shelter to a woman who has left her brutish lover to the township of Soweto, will open a British tour at the Birmingham Hippodrome on 6th June, ending at the London Coliseum from 11th July, where it is presented by Raymond Gubbay and Askonas Holt.
Robert Harling's Steel Magnolias, the story of a close-knit circle of friends whose lives come together in the local beauty parlour in Louisiana, with Kacey Ainsworth, Isla Blair, Cheryl Campbell, Cherie Lunghi, Sadie Picking and Denise Welch, directed by David Gilmore, will open a national tour at the Theatre Royal Bath on 2nd April.
The Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith has added further productions to its spring season: the return of Vivienne Franzmann's Mogadishu, in which an incident of violence by a pupil on a teacher is twisted so that the victim appears the perpetrator, with Hammed Animashaun , Tara Hodge, Tendayi Jembere, Jason Barnett, Jackie Clune, Rosie Wyatt and Ryan Calais Cameron, directed by Matthew Dunster, from 10th April, a co-production with Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester; and Carl Grose's Octopussy, an anarchic physical comedy subversion of a quintessential Greek tragedy, directed by Emma Rice, from 19th May, a co-production with the Royal Theatre in Northampton.