News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th January 2009

On The Waterfront, a stage version of the 1954 film, about mob violence and corruption in the docks of 1950s New York, conceived and directed by Steven Berkoff, adapted by Budd Schulberg and Stan Silverman, from Schulberg's screenplay, which premiered at Nottingham Playhouse last year, will transfer to the Haymarket Theatre opening on 12th February. Casting will include Simon Merrells and Berkoff. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

The Place is presenting its 20th Resolution! season of new dance ideas and fledgling talent, running until 21st February. Some 111 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 from Punchdrunk, Random Dance, New Adventures, Russell Maliphant Company, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company and CandoCo cutting their choreographic teeth. Full details can be found on The Place web site, via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Wales Theatre Company will stage the premiere of the musical The Thorn Birds, book and lyrics by Colleen McCullough adapted from her novel, music by Gloria Bruni, with Helen Anker, directed by Michael Bogdanov, opening a regional tour at the Grand Theatre Swansea on 23rd April, ending at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff from 6th July. The Australian 'Gone With The Wind' style saga is the story of an errant Catholic priest who falls in love with one of his parishioners living on a remote sheep station, by whom he has a son. It is a co-production with TTB Gmbh of Hamburg, Gallissas of Berlin and the Arena Theatre Xanten.

Blackpool is to host Showzam, a festival celebrating circus, magic and variety performance, from 13th to 22nd February. Events will include Variety Live, featuring an international line up of variety artists, sword swallower Miss Behave with her show Variety Nighty at the Grand Theatre; International Stars Of Magic at the Opera House; The Flower Carnival Ball hosted by Tina C at the Tower Ballroom; and Circus Of Wonders, an exhibition featuring costumes, photographs and posters telling the history of circus.

Star Wars: A Musical Journey, a multi media event featuring John Williams's scores for the film series performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and choir, alongside epic moments from the films, with live narration, will open a European tour the 02 Arena in Greenwich on 10th April. The event will also feature an exhibition of memorabilia from all six films, provided by the Lucasfilm Archives, including original models, props, costumes and production artwork. It is produced by Another Planet Touring, in association with Lucasfilm Ltd.

The winter season at the Jermyn Street Theatre, off Piccadilly Circus, includes Sylvia Plath's only play Three Women, tracing the different experiences of pregnancy and childbirth of three women, with Elizabeth Dahl, Tilly Fortune and Lara Lemon, directed by Robert Shaw, currently playing, produced by Inside Intelligence; the previously mentioned production of Stephen Sondheim's first musical, Saturday Night, written in 1954, book by Julius J Epstein, adapted from the play Front Porch In Flatbush by Julius J and Philip G Epstein, about a group of friends in Brooklyn, New York, in 1929, one of whom hatches a get rich quick scheme that backfires and he barely escapes jail, directed by Tom Littler, opening on 10th February; and the British premiere of Christopher Trumbo's Off Broadway hit Trumbo, which reveals how the screenwriter Dalton Trumbo took on the House Un-American Activities committee and Hollywood - and won, with Corin Redgrave and Nick Waring, directed by John Dove, from 17th March.

The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich will stage Alan Ayckbourn's A Chorus Of Disapproval, telling the backstage story of an amateur dramatic society production of The Beggar's Opera, with Christine Absalom, Miranda Bell, Roger Delves-Broughton and Julian Harries, directed by Peter Rowe, from 12th February, a co-production with the Mercury Theatre in Colchester; and The Hounding Of David Oluwale, adapted by Oladipo Agboluaje, from the book by Kester Aspden, about the death of a Nigerian immigrant at the hands of the police, from 11th March, a co-production with West Yorkshire Playhouse and Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

The Society Of London Theatre and the Theatrical Management Association are inviting further applications for the Rupert Rhymes Bursary. The award of 2,000 is to enable individuals at an early stage of a career in theatre production or administration to undertake a theatre project that falls outside other funding schemes - for example, to develop skills in an international context. The closing date for this round of applications is 5th February. Further information can be found on the Stage One web site via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The spring season at Oldham Coliseum includes Tim Firth's Absolutely Frank, about a sign erector who has a life changing revelation while working on a roof, with Geoffrey Hughes and Des O'Malley, directed by Noreen Kershaw, from 29th January; Wuthering Heights, a Bollywood musical style reworking of Emily Bronte's novel charting the doomed love affair of the free spirited girl and dark, brooding outsider, original concept and book by Deepak Verma, music by Sheema Mukherjee and Felix Cross, lyrics by Felix Cross, with Youkti Patel, Pushpinder Chani, Gary Pillai, Anil Kumar, Sheena Patel, Rina Fatania, Shammi Aulakh, Divian Ladwa, Amith Rahman and Davina Perera, directed by Kristine Landon-Smith, with choreography by Nikki Woollaston, a co-production with Tamasha in association with the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, opening a national tour from 13th March; Ronald Harwood's Quartet, about four former opera singers living in a retirement home, with Kenneth Alan Taylor, directed by Kevin Shaw, from 16th April; and Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, in which a seance summons up the ghost of a novelist's first wife, who is determined to cause trouble for him and her replacement, directed by Robin Herford, from 14th May, a co-production with Harrogate Theatre and The Anvil Baisingstoke.

The Rumour Machine says: that Phantom: Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera, may make history by opening simultaneously world wide, with productions in London, New York and an Asian city, possibly Shanghai; and that James Gandolfini, Hope Davis, Jeff Daniels and Marcia Gay Harden will star in the Broadway transfer of Yasmina Reza's The God Of Carnage, translated by Christopher Hampton, directed by Matthew Warchus, opening in March. The Rumour Machine grinds on.