News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th April 2006

Following last year's successful launch, West End Live, the event showcasing West End entertainment will be held again in Leicester Square on 17th and 18th June, from 12noon until 6pm. Cast members from Chicago, Mamma Mia!, The Lion King, Guys And Dolls, Stomp, The Producers, Footloose and Blue Man Group, will perform on the central stage, together with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and tasters from upcoming events at Ronnie Scott's, Sadler's Wells, The 100 Club and Wigmore Hall, plus a host of other entertainers, exhibits and activities taking place in marquees around the square. Further information can be found on the WEL web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Soho Theatre has announced its summer productions, including the premieres of Moses Raine's Shrieks Of Laughter, which follows its central character on a journey into his subconscious, directed by Maria Aberg, on 11th May; Oladipo Agboluaje's The Estate, a contemporary Nigerian family comedy, directed by Femi Elufowoju Jr, from 6th June, a co-production with the African theatre company Tiata Fahodzi; The Bee, by Colin Teevan and Hideki Noda, with Kathryn Hunter as a man whose family is kidnapped who takes revenge while the world's media looks on, directed by Noda, on 21st June; and Dysfuntion, a play about a deaf couple that examines communication in relationships, including both family, and deaf and hearing characters, written and directed by Steven Webb, from 20th July, a Deafinitely Theatre production. The National Youth Theatre will perform Sextet, a series of six plays by different writers focusing on each decade since the company was formed: 1950s by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, 1960s by Al Smith, 1970s by Barrie Keefe, 1980s by Amy Evans, 1990s by Samuel Adamson and 2000s by Stella Duffy, beginning on 4th August.

New York TheatreNet: This year's free Public Theater productions at the open air Delacorte Theatre in Central Park will be Macbeth, with Liev Schreiber and Jennifer Ehle, directed by Moises Kaufman, from 13th June to 7th July, and Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage with Meryl Streep, directed by George C. Wolfe, from 8th August to 3rd September.

The third Cardiff International Festival of Musical Theatre will be held from 15th October to 5th November. The event will be a celebration of the art form of Musical Theatre, old and new, large and small, combining performances, concerts, cabaret, masterclasses and symposia. It will also include showcase performances of the 6 finalists in the Global Search For New Musicals, and the Voice of Musical Theatre competition for young professional vocalists. Among the highlights will be the British premieres of the Gershwin's Treasure Girl, and the contemporary Off Broadway Friends style show I Sing, a about the lives of five young New Yorkers, by Eli Bolin, Sam Forman and Benjamin Salka; and the world premiere of A Child's Christmas In Wales, based on the short story by Dylan Thomas, adapted by Michael Bogdanov, with music and lyrics by Jack Herrick. Further information can be found on the CIFMT web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The spring season at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury includes currently, Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, adapted by Ade Morris, about a mission to find a monster that lurks in the ocean depths, with Peter Marinker, Paul Hegarty, Tom Godwin, Dominic Burdess, Philippe Spall and Andrew Ufondu, directed by Will Wollen; Harold Brighouse's Hobson's Choice, the tale of a cantankerous Victorian boot shop owner and his three strong willed daughters, directed by Timothy Sheader, opening on 17th May; and Hot Mikado, the 1940s jazz and swing version of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, music adapted and arranged by Rob Bowman, book and lyrics adapted by David H Bell, directed by Craig Revel Horwood, opening on 12th July.

Meanwhile, Kneehigh Theatre's small scale production of Jules Verne's Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, in which an eccentric professor descends into the crater of an extinct volcano to try and reach the centre of the earth, with Craig Johnson, Simon Harvey and Fay Powell-Thomas, directed by Johnson, using puppets, shadow play, live music and physical comedy, has just embarked on a two month tour of one nighters throughout the south west, which will continue in the autumn.

On The Casting Couch: Derek Jacobi and Dominic Rowan will be joined by Natasha Little, Joanna David, Christopher Benjamin, Lily Bevan, Osmund Bullock, Jamie DeCourcey and Sadie Shimmin in John Mortimer's A Voyage Round My Father, opening at the Donmar Warehouse on 8th June.

This Bolshoi opera and ballet will play at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden from 25th July to 19th August, with a programme that includes the British premieres of Francesca Zambello's production of Prokofiev's The Fiery Angel, Shostakovich's The Bright Stream, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, and a modern triple bill: Ratmansky's Go For Broke, Roland Petit's Pique Dame and George Balanchine's Symphony In C, plus Boris Godunov, The Pharaoh's Daughter, Swan Lake, Cinderella and Don Quixote. The season is presented by Victor Hochhauser.

Sparking inter opera house rivalry, the Kirov opera and ballet, under its new title of Mariinsky Theatre, will play at the London Coliseum from 20th to 29th July with a Shostakovich festival comprising a new production of The Golden Age, together with The Nose, Moscow, Cheryomushki, Katerina Izmaylova, and a mixed programme including Leningrad Symphony and The Bug. The Kirov will return to play Wagner's Ring Cycle at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff from 30th November to 3rd December. Both seasons are presented by the Mariinsky Theatre Trust.