News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th January 2010

The Place is presenting its 21st Resolution! season of new dance ideas and fledgling talent, running until 20th February. 102 companies, selected from hundreds of applicants from this country and abroad, have an opportunity to present their work, with three different 30 minute programmes each night. The First Footing strand is open to all who have completed full time dance training, while Evolution is for those who have appeared in the season in previous years, and Aerowaves premieres works produced elsewhere in Europe. It offers a chance to spot the choreographic and dancing stars of tomorrow at bargain prices. This year sees some of Britain's most talented dancers cutting their choreographic teeth. Further information can be found on The Place web site, via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Prima Donna, the first opera written by Rufus Wainwright, with libretto co-written by Bernadette Colomine, about a faded opera singer in Paris in the 1970s, who is determined to make a comeback, with Janis Kelly, directed by Tim Albery, will open at Sadler's Wells from 12th April, prior to an appearance at the Luminato Festival in Toronto.

Peter Quilter's End Of The Rainbow, a play with music about the last days of Judy Garland, with Tracie Bennett, Hilton McRae and Stephan Hagan, directed by Terry Johnson, will open a prospective pre West End season at Royal Theatre in Northampton on 5th February.

The Competition Commission has cleared the way for the merger of ticketing company Ticketmaster Entertainment and venue and concert promoter Live Nation, despite the fears of both ticket buyers and promoters of the virtual monopoly that will result. Ticketmaster currently sells almost half of all live music tickets sold in Britain, and had global sales of 5.6bn in 2008. Live Nation accounts for a fifth of all live music events in Britain, and sold 50m tickets last year. Ticketmaster and Live Nation shareholders will each own approximately 50% of the combined company, to be called Live Nation Entertainment, which will have an estimated value of more than 1.75bn.

Cheek by Jowl's production of Shakespeare's Macbeth, with Will Keen, Anastasia Hille, David Caves, David Collings, Vincent Enterby, Jake Fairbrother, Nicholas Goode, Kelly Hotten, Orlando James, Ryan Kiggell, Greg Kolpakchi and Edmund Wiseman, directed by Declan Donnellan, will open in the Silk Street Theatre at the Barbican on 24th March. It is a co-production with Les Gemeaus/Sceaux/SceneNationale, Koninklijke Schouwburg, Grand Theatre de Luxembourg, Theatre du Nord, Lille and Theatre de Namur/Centre Dramatique.

On The Royal Shakespeare Company Casting Couch at Hampstead Theatre: Siobhan Redmond, Jacob Anderson, Brian Ferguson, Lisa Hogg, Joshua Jenkins, Alex Mann, Tony McGeever, Mairi Morrison, Jonny Phillips, Daniel Rose, Ewan Stewart and Sam Swann will head the cast of David Greig's Dunsinane, opening on 10th February; and Jeremy Irons, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Karen Archer, Neal Barry, Babou Ceesay, Sam Hazeldine, Joanna Horton, Stephen Noonan, Luke Norris, Sally Orrock, Helen Schlesinger, Laurence Spellman, John Stahl and Matthew Wilson will comprise the cast of Dennis Kelly's The Gods Weep, opening on 11th March.

The Society for Theatre Research's spring lecture programme will include Gregory Doran with 'Pyramus, you Begin', about directing Shakespeare, on 21st January; David Lawrence with 'Singing, Dancing Subordinate Boys: the Male Chorus in West End Revue and Musical Comedy c.1900 - 1936', on 16th February; David Wilmore with 'James Winston and the Theatric Tourist An Unfinished Symphony', about Winston's drawings of Georgian theatres, on 10th March; 'Changing Your Nation and Changing Your Station: the Playwright's Relationship to Heritage, Representation and Legacy' with Kwame Kwei-Armah, Michael Bhim and Deirdre Osborne, on 22nd March; Paul Elsam with 'Stephen Joseph versus the Establishment', about the pioneer of theatre in the round, on 20th April; and Nicholas de Jongh giving the Society's Annual Address on 13th May. Further information can be found on the STR web site, via the link form Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

New York TheatreNet: the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, production of Come Fly Away, a dance musical inspired by the songs of Frank Sinatra, featuring Sinatra's voice, backed by a live on stage band, which follows four couples over the course of one night falling in and out of love, created, directed and choreographed by Twyla Tharp, will transfer to Broadway opening at the Marquis Theatre on 25th March. Casting has not been announced, but previous principals Keith Roberts, John Selya, Karine Plantadit, Rika Okamoto, Holley Farmer, Matthew Dibble, Charlie Neshyba-Hodges and Laura Mead are expected to re-create their roles.

The spring season at the New End Theatre in Hampstead will include: Gloria Tessler's Unveiling Hagar, in which a Jewish widower falls in love with a Palestinian activist, directed by Ben De Wynter, from 20th January, a Golding-Stern production; Vanessa Rosenthal's Modelling Spitfires, in which an ordinary couple's lives are turned upside down by the arrival of the wife's newly released brother, directed by Alan Meadows, from 16th February, a co-production with Yellow Leaf Theatre; It Wasn't Me, It Was Bennett Arron, in which Bennett Arron tells the true story of the two year struggle to clear his name after he was the victim of identity theft, from 27th February, a Silly Papi production; The Virginia Monologues, a peon to the pleasures of passing 60, written and performed by Fleet Street agony aunt Virginia Ironside, directed by Nigel Planer, from 20th April, presented by Jenny King; and Wolf Mankowitz's The Bespoke Overcoat, the tale of a 1950s East End tailor, commissioned to make an overcoat, directed by Ninon Jerome, from 18th May.

The Rumour Machine says: that the National Theatre's hit production of Alan Bennett's The Habit Of Art will transfer to Broadway, opening at the Broadhurst Theatre in the spring of next year, with Richard Griffiths and possibly Alex Jennings and Frances de la Tour; that a musical adaptation of Ken Ludwig's farce Lend Me A Tenor, about the backstage panic involved in getting an opera superstar on stage in the 1930s, book and lyrics by Peter Sham, music by Brad Carroll, directed by Ian Talbot, will play a prospective pre West End season at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth in the summer; and that George Bernard Shaw's Candida, about a vicar with a perfect life whose idealistic world is turned upside down, directed by Peter Hall, will open at the Rose Theatre in Kingston in the summer, prior to a West End transfer, courtesy of producer Ian Fricker. The Rumour Machine grinds on.