News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th April 1999

This year's Chichester Festival Theatre season runs from 12th May to 9th October. Main house productions are: Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest with Patricia Routledge and Saskia Wickham, directed by Christopher Morahan; David Turner's Semi Detached with James Bolam and Anna Carteret, also directed by Christopher Morahan; Noel Coward's Easy Virtue with Greta Scacchi, directed by Maria Aitken, which will transfer to the Haymarket Theatre; and George S Kaufman and Moss Hart's The Man Who Came To Diner with Richard Griffiths, directed by Joe Dowling. There are no details of productions at the Minerva Theatre.

British director Declan Donnellan has become the first foreigner to win a Russian Golden Mask Award. Donnellan received the equivalent of an Olivier or Tony Award for his direction of The Winter's Tale by the Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg. It is the company's first Shakespeare production, and will tour Britain from 29th April to 3rd June, prior to their appearance with Platonov in BITE:99 at the Barbican. Donnellan is also directing the previously mentioned production of Noel Coward's Hay Fever with Geraldine McEwan, produced by Triumph Proscenium Productions, which will open at the Savoy Theatre on 14th June. The play features the ultimate weekend house party horror at the extravagantly unconventional Bliss household.

London's first purpose built IMAX cinema opens on 1st May. With a projector the size of a car, throwing an image six storeys high, in a 20m landmark building, this is a serious addition to the South Bank Centre. Under the aegis of the British Film Institute, it partners the National Film Theatre and the Museum Of the Moving Image, and is located in the adjoining Waterloo roundabout. Until recently most films for this megaformat have been novelty items, but now a number of the big studios are getting involved, including Disney, which is currently working on Fantasia 2000. There is a link to the National Film Theatre site from our London Venues section.

The Argentinean dance spectacular De La Guarda is coming to the Roundhouse. It will play a season from 18th May to 4th July, following a much talked about American tour, during which received many star plaudits, including Gwynnie, Leo and Madonna. It allegedly takes tango to a new erotic level.

In the latest "Millennium Greatest" listing - the Sunday Times Masterworks - Shakespeare is again number one. He shares the top five with Michaelangelo and is the most represented person. Will Power slots in the top 50 are: 1 - Hamlet, 4 - King Lear, 13 - Macbeth, 18 - Entire body of work, 23 - Sonnets, 29 - Romeo And Juliet.

The JFK Repertory Company's production of Tess will come to the West End in November. A musical based on Thomas Hardy's Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, it has book and lyrics by Justin Fleming and music by Stephen Edwards, and is directed by Karen Hebden. The show will premiere in Sheffield in September.

First came the exhibition of the film with Titanic. Now there's the exhibition before the film, with The Star Wars Power Of The Myth Experience at Wembley Exhibition Centre from 1st to 11th July. It includes an exhibition of scenery, costumes and props, live action displays by Darth Vader and others, interactive games, and the launch of the Episode 1 trailer. Once upon a time you just premiered the film, but now you premiere the trailer. Can hype get any bigger?

The Almeda Opera 1999 season will run from 30th June to 17th July. It includes a new production of Thomas Ades Powder Her Face, produced in association with Aldeburgh productions, and the world premiere of Jonathan Dove's community opera Tobias And the Angel, performed at Christ Church Highbury Fields. There will also be a series of concerts at Hoxton Hall, under the title Hoxton New Music Days.

Choreographer Susan Stroman will make her Broadway directing debut this Autumn. She is to stage a revival of Meredith Wilson's The Music Man, doubling as choreographer. Alec Baldwin is rumoured to be a contender for the role of con man "Professor" Harold Hill, but his name is also associated with other projects. Stroman will revive her creative partnership with British director Mike Ockrent on a new show, The Night They Raided Minsky's, by Charles Strouse and Susan Birkenhead, based on the 1968 William Friedkin film. The project is scheduled for Broadway in Spring 2000.

The Press Association has launched Event Selector, possibly the UK's ultimate what's on database. It's a searchable site with thousands of arts and entertainment eventscurrently on around the UK, including an A to Z listing. There is a link from our Online Guides section.