News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th October 2010

While presenting the National Theatre's Annual Report for 2009/2010, Nicholas Hytner confirmed some future production plans, which include: Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, with Zoe Wanamaker, directed by Howard Davies; Shakespeare's A Comedy Of Errors, directed by Dominic Cooke; Arnold Wesker's The Kitchen, directed by Bijan Sheibani; the English language premiere of Henrik Ibsen's Emperor And Galilean, about the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate wrestling with his faith, in a version by Ben Power and Mike Bartlett, directed by Jonathan Kent; Carlo Goldini's The Servant Of Two Masters, adapted by Richard Bean, with James Corden, directed by Nicholas Hytner; and Bach's St Matthew Passion, written and directed by Jonathan Miller; plus the transfer of War Horse to Broadway. The development plans for the building, which include a new education centre next to the Cottesloe theatre's extended foyer, plus a new bar and dining area, designed by Haworth Tompkins, have received planning permission. The National had a good year financially in 2009/2010, producing a surplus of 495,000, and attendances of 1.2m, which represented 90% of capacity,largely due to the success of the West End transfer of War Horse, as South Bank attendances were slightly down on the previous year. There were 27 productions, 20 of which were new, 9 of those being new plays.

Following its first Christmas season last year, Shakespeare's Globe will stage Winter Wassail, a selection of seasonal musical pieces inspired by the words of Shakespeare, Hardy and Chaucer, performed by the Gabrieli Consort and Players, with poetry read by Peter Hamilton Dyer, from 1st to 3rd January.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the musical Betty Blue Eyes, book by Ron Cowen and Dan Lipman, music by George Stiles, lyrics by Anthony Drewe, adapted from Alan Bennett's film A Private Function, with Sarah Lancashire, Reece Shearsmith, David Bamber, Jack Edward, Adrian Scarborough, Ann Emery and an animatronic pig, directed by Richard Eyre, with choreography by Stephen Mear, will open at the Novello Theatre in the spring. It is set in a post Second World War Yorkshire village suffering under rationing, where the locals want to celebrate the Royal wedding in style by slaughtering an illegally raised pig. The producer is Cameron Mackintosh.

Hip-hop dance company ZooNation will stage Some Like It Hip Hop, taking inspiration from the legendary film Some Like It Hot in the same way Into The Hoods sprang from Into The Woods, conceived, directed and choreographed by Kate Price, with music and lyrics by DJ Walde, Josh Cohen and Kate Prince, featuring Teneisha Bonner, Lizzie Gough and Tommy Franzen, with choreography by Tommy Franzen, Ryan Chappell, Carrie-Anne Ingrouille and Duwane Taylor, at Sadler's Wells next spring.

New York TheatreNet: The musical Priscilla Queen Of The Desert, adapted by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, from the film about three drag queens on a road trip to Alice Springs, using existing disco songs, directed by Simon Phillips, with choreography by Ross Coleman, will open at the Palace Theatre on 20th March, following a season in Toronto, with a cast headed by Tony Sheldon, Will Swenson, Nick Adams and C David Johnson, courtesy of 24 Broadway producers; and the musical Sister Act, adapted from the film about a disco singer fleeing the mob, who is given protective custody in a convent, where she clashes with the Mother Superior, but revolutionises the choir, book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater, directed by Jerry Zaks, replacing the London director Peter Schneider, but retaining choreographer Anthony van Laast, will open at the Broadway Theatre on 20th April. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway, can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The Edinburgh Fringe show Potted Panto, which condenses 7 pantomimes into 70 minutes, written and performed by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, co-written and directed by Richard Hurst, will play daytime performances at the Vaudeville Theatre from 10th December to 9th January.

On The Casting Couch: Frances Barber, Tom Byam Shaw, Anthony Calf, Elaine Cassidy and Sylvestra Le Touzel will feature in Jean Cocteau's Les Parents Terribles, opening at the Trafalgar Studios 2 on 29th November.

Diaghilev And The Golden Age Of The Ballets Russes 1909 - 1929, at the Victoria and Albert Museum until 9th January, explores the world of the influential artistic director and the most exciting dance company of the 20th century, who combined dance, music and art in bold ways to create 'total theatre'. Diaghilev's dedication to pushing boundaries, and collaborating with the best designers, choreographers and artists, transformed dance, reawakening interest in ballet across Europe and America. The exhibition includes more than 300 objects, including giant backcloths, original costumes, set designs, props, posters, programmes, original dance and music notation, photographs, art works, film and sound, which bring the energy of the Ballets Russes' performances to life. A specially created film features composer Howard Goodall explaining the development of music that accompanied the Ballets Russes.

The Haunting, adapted by Hugh Janes from Charles Dickens's ghost stories, in which two men in a crumbling mansion on a desolate moor stumble across a dark secret that will change their lives forever, with Paul Nicholas and Sean Maguire, directed by Hugh Wooldridge, will open a regional tour at the Theatre Royal in Windsor on 1st November. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

Legacy Falls, a musical about a fictional American daytime soap opera, book, music and lyrics by James Burn, with Amy Anzel, Aimie Atkinson, Ezra Axelrod, Rosalind Blessed, Davis Brooks, Joanne Heywood, Tara Hugo, Mark Inscoe, Tim Oxbrow, Stephen von Screiber, Bart Williams and Pippa Winslow, directed and choreographed by Ian Poitier, will open at the New Players Theatre, in The Arches off Villiers Street, on 29th October. The producers are Danielle Tarento and Choughed Productions.

The Rumour Machine says: that Rachel Weisz will play the lead in David Hare's Plenty, directed by David Leveaux, produced by Robert Fox, late next year in either London or New York; that following his appearance in the Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert, Alfie Boe, may join the West End production of next year; and that Mike Leigh will direct a new play at the National Theatre in the autumn of next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.