News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th May 2009

Once again there is a strong showing of British talent in the nominations for this year's New York Tony Awards. They are led by Billy Elliot with 15 nominations (tying with The Producers for the all time record) including Best Musical, Book and Original Score, David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, and Kiril Kulish - Best Actor Musical (Leading), Stephen Daldry - Best Director (Musical) and Peter Darling - Best Choreography; Mary Stuart with 7, including Best Revival (Play), Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter - Best Actress Play (Leading) and Phyllida Lloyd - Best Director (Play); The Norman Conquests with 7, including Best Revival (Play) and Matthew Warchus - Best Director (Play); God Of Carnage with 6, including Best Play, Jeff Daniels and James Gandolfini - Best Actor Play (Leading), Hope Davis and Marcia Gay Harden - Best Actress Play (Leading) and Matthew Warchus - Best Director (Play). The winners will be announced at the 63rd Tony Awards ceremony at Radio City Music Hall on 7th 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

The National Theatre has added a further production to its summer schedule. The Black Album, adapted by Hanif Kureishi from his novel about the struggle for the soul of a British Asian student, with Alexander Andreou, Jonathan Bonnici, Tanya Franks, Sean Gallagher, Beruce Khan, Nitin Kundra, Shereen Martineau, Robert Mountford and Glyn Pritchard, directed by Jatinder Verma, will open in the Cottesloe in July. It is a co-production with Tara Arts. This year's production of Tom Stoppard and Andre Previn's Every Good Boy Deserves Favour will return to the Olivier next January.

The summer season at the Southbank Centre will include Victoria Chaplin and Jean-Baptiste Thierree in their magic and circus show Les Cirque Invisible, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, from 4th to 26th August.

This year's season at Grange Park Opera, one of the 'alternative Glyndebournes', runs from 3rd June to 6th July. It comprises new productions of Bellini's Norma, directed by Martin Constantine; Cavalli's Eliogabalo, directed by David Fielding; Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen, directed by David Alden; and a concert performance of Wagner's The Flying Dutchmen. In addition there are performances of Verdi's Rigoletteo, directed by Daniel Slater, at Neville Holt from 9th to 14th July. In order to accommodate a dinner interval, entry is from 3.30pm, with performances beginning at 5.20pm. Further information can be found on the GPO web site, via the link from Dance & Opera in the Links section of TheatreNet.

New York cabaret artist and Forbidden Broadway veteran Christine Pedi will perform her one woman show Great Dames, featuring impersonations of legendary musical performers, accompanied by Matthew Ward, at the Jermyn Street Theatre, opening on 3rd June.

The musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown, book by Richard Morris, music and lyrics by Meredith Willson, directed by Thom Southerland, with choreography by Sally Brooks, will open at The Landor Theatre in Clapham, on 29th May. It tells the unlikely but true story of a backwoods American girl who rose to the top of European society and survived the sinking of the Titanic.

The Scoop, the 850 seater open air amphitheatre next to City Hall, the Greater London Assembly building on the south bank opposite the Tower of London, is presenting another summer season of free performances, Wednesdays to Sundays from 30th July to 6th September. It will comprise Euripides's Medea, the story of a woman who avenges her husband's betrayal by killing their children, in a new contemporary translation by Stella Duffy; and The Adventures Of Jason And The Argonauts, the story of the quest for the Golden Fleece reconceived as a family musical with comedy and puppets. As with the previous shows, they will be directed by Phil Willmott, and produced by Suzanna Rosenthal and The Steam Industry. There is no need to book - just turn up and sit down. Prior to this there will be other performance events, plus free lunchtime and early evening concerts, on Wednesdays to Fridays between 1st and 24th July; and a season of free screenings of films at 7pm on Wednesday to Friday evenings between 16th September and 2nd October. Further information can be found on The Scoop web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Capturing The Moment: Photographs By Reg Wilson is an exhibition featuring the work of one of Britain's most prolific performance photographers, running at the Victoria & Albert museum until January. From the 1960s onwards, Reg Wilson recorded four decades of the performing arts in all their richness and variety, capturing the great and the good on stage, backstage and in the studio. This display reveals every aspect of the performance process, from the rehearsal room to the final performance. It also demonstrates a range of techniques, from the staged photo call to the snatched backstage shot. Wilson was renowned for his expert use of the camera and his printing skills in the darkroom, which were considered an art form. By the time of his retirement in 1999 he had photographed more than 2,600 major productions of drama, opera, dance and music in Britain, with performers ranging from Maria Callas, Laurence Olivier, Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, to Dame Edna and The Beatles, including the celebrated photographs of Princess Diana and Wayne Sleep dancing on stage at Covent Garden.

The 33rd Spitalfields Festival, centred on Christ Church Spitalfields, runs from 7th to 19th June, with 30 events in various venues, both indoors and out, including Wilton's Music Hall, Bishopsgate Institute, Spitalfields Market and a Routemaster bus. The programme features a wide range of music, from medieval to contemporary jazz. Highlights include the premieres of Jonathan Dove's Piano Quintet and Michael Finnissy's The Transgressive Gospel; solo performances in the historic houses in and around Fournier Street; I Fagiolini with Tallis in Wonderland, designed to bring polyphony alive; and Bach's St John Passion. 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 Rumour Machine says: that Jane Horrocks may play the title role in the Irving Berlin musical Annie Get Your Gun, directed by Richard Jones, at the Young Vic in the summer; that last year's Broadway production of Tennessee Williams's Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, featuring a black cast, directed by Debbie Allen, will be restaged in the West End in December, retaining James Earl Jones and Phylicia Rashad from the original, but with a new British cast that will include Adrian Lester; and that Gwyneth Paltrow may feature in Chekhov's Three Sisters at the Haymarket Theatre next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.