News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th January 2004

American composer and pianist Hershey Felder will perform Gershwin Alone, his one man show about the life and work of the composer George Gershwin, at the Duchess Theatre, from 18th February to 17th April. The show was first seen on Broadway in 2001, and has since toured extensively in America.

Holiday on Ice marks its 60th anniversary with a spectacular new 3m show suitably titled Celebration, which has just started a UK wide tour, with Robin Cousins as creative producer and choreographer. It combines the company's heritage in ice entertainment with the latest in sound, scenery and lighting technology. The show explores the many ways people celebrate in different places around the world, and at different times, and is performed to an eclectic musical score. Among the company of 50, star skaters include: Igor Lioutikov, Kristy Venasky, Michael Tyllesen and Oxana Anitchkin. Further information can be found on the HOI web site via the link from the Shows section of TheatreNet.

The Open Air Theatre has announced this year's season, which runs from 7th June to 11th September, and comprises: A Midsummer Night's Dream, with Russ Abbot, directed by Ian Talbot; Henry IV Part One, directed by Alan Strachan; the Lerner and Loewe musical Camelot, about the legend of King Arthur, based on T H White's novel The Once And Future King, again with Russ Abbot and directed by Ian Talbot; and The Wind In The Willows, a daytime children's play with music, adapted from Kenneth Grahame's classic by David Conville and David Gooderson, with music by Carl Davis, directed by Laura Baggeley.

Richard Dreyfuss and Eric Stoltz, head the cast of a Broadway revival of Larry Gelbart's comedy Sly Fox, opening at the Barrymore Theatre on 1st April. Based on Ben Jonson's comedy of greed and deception Volpone, the action is transposed San Francisco during the Gold Rush of 1849. Also in the cast are Elizabeth Berkley, Bob Dishy, Rene Auberjonois, Bronson Pinchot, Irwin Corey, Peter Scolari, Rachel York and Nick Wyman. The director is Arthur Penn, who directed the original production in 1976 starring George C Scott.

On The Casting Couch: Joe McGann and Andrew Schofield will head the cast of John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men when the Birmingham Rep production returns to the West End at the Old Vic on 3rd February; Neil Boorman, Jeremy Crutchley, Neal Foster, Jim Low, Benedict Martin, Matthew Noble and Lucy Scott will feature in Paul Lucas's The Dice House, opening at the Arts Theatre on 10th February; and at the Donmar Warehouse, Ray Fearon and Kevin R McNally head the cast of Steve Waters's World Music, directed by Josie Rourke, opening on 16th February, while Sian Phillips, Brid Brennan, Anastasia Hille and Stuart McQuarrie star in Charlotte Jones's The Dark, directed by Anna Mackmin, opening on 23rd March.

The London Symphony Orchestra will celebrate its centenary on 9th June this year, with a Gala Concert at the Barbican Hall, when the orchestra will joined by conductors Colin Davis, Richard Hickox, Antonio Pappano, Mstislav Rostropovich and Michael Tilson Thomas, musicians Yuri Bashmet, Alfred Brendel, Sarah Chang, Midori and John Williams, and singer Susan Graham. The centenary season opens this month with two concert performances of Britten's Peter Grimes, conducted by Colin Davis. Other highlights include Richard Hickox with an Elgar series in March and April; Davis with Verdi's Falstaff, and Valery Gergiev directing a Prokiev symphony cycle in May; Bernard Haitink with Mahler and Brahms in June, and Pierre Boulez conducting five concerts in October. Faber has recently published a history, Orchestra: The LSO - a Century of Triumph and Turbulence, by Richard Morrison. Further information can be found on the LSO web site via the link from the Dance, Opera, Orchestras & Choirs section of TheatreNet.

The Oxford Stage Company is to present two plays at the Tricycle Theatre. Ron Cook stars in Peter Flannery's Singer, directed by Sean Holmes, from 10th March to 10th April. An epic fable spanning forty years of post-war Britain, it charts the rise and fall and rise again of its anti-hero, from destitute refugee, to corrupt landlord of a slum empire, to a high life in swinging 60s, to saviour of the homeless. Brendan Behan's The Quare Fellow, directed by Kathy Burke, runs from 14th April to 8th May, following a regional tour. Set in an Irish prison, and based on Behan's personal experiences, the 1954 drama portrays the interaction of 13 men as they await the hanging of the unseen title character.

Gyles Brandreth and Stewart Nicholls's musical revue Zipp!, directed by Carole Todd, opens a regional tour at the Civic Theatre Darlington on 27th January. Promising "100 musicals in 90 minutes or your money back", it does for musical theatre what the Reduced Shakespeare Company does for the Bard, including the complete works of Andrew Lloyd Webber in 60 seconds. The company comprises Gyles Brandreth, Amanda Symonds, Andrew C Wadsworth and musical director Stuart Barr.

A rescue plan is being formulated for the former Players Theatre in The Arches under Charing Cross station. A new company, with Mark Clements as artistic director and Brian Daniels in charge of administration, will combine the management of the venue with that of the Shaw Theatre, which is now part of a hotel. The idea is for the former Players to provide a home for London productions of Off Broadway shows, while the Shaw will offer regional theatres an opportunity to transfer their shows to an Off West End venue. The former Players, which will be renamed, is to be refurbished, resulting in a capacity of around 250. If all goes well it should reopen in the spring.

Once again The Place is presenting its Resolution! season of new dance ideas and fledgling talent, which runs until 14th February. Companies from this country and abroad have an opportunity to present their work, with three different 30 minute programmes each night. It's a chance to spot the choreographic and dancing stars of tomorrow at bargain prices. Full details can be found on The Place web site, via the link from London Venues section of TheatreNet.