News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th May 2003

The 109th season of the BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts takes place at the Royal Albert Hall between 18th July and 13th September. The world's greatest classical music festival centres on 73 main concerts (at least one every evening) with consistently low ticket prices, including 500 'promming' tickets at only 4 each available every day 30 minutes before the doors open. In addition, there is a series of Pre-Prom talks at the RAH and the Royal College of Music, lunch time Chamber Music Proms at the Victoria and Albert Museum, background talks at the National Gallery and British Museum, an installation of art, poetry and music at the Royal College of Art, and Late Night Proms starting at 10pm. All concerts are broadcast live on Radio 3, with more than ever before televised on BBC4, and via audio and video webcasts. This year's theme is Greek Myths, bringing together music spanning many centuries and different styles, which tell stories of the battles, adventures and passions of gods and mortals, and the Trojan Wars. It also includes the eighth outdoor Proms In The Park, with 35,000 people in Hyde Park joining in, and simultaneous concerts running in Belfast, Glasgow and Swansea. All four concerts culminate in live big screen link ups with the Royal Albert Hall. Further information can be found on the BBC Proms web site via the link from the Festivals section of TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch at the National: Kenneth Branagh will be joined by Tony Haygarth and Stephen Greif in David Mamet's Edmond, directed by Edward Hall; Lorraine Ashbourne, Eve Best, Anna Maxwell Martin, Lucy Whybrow, and Dominic Rowan will star in Chekhov's Three Sisters, directed by Katie Mitchell; Simon Russell Beale will be joined Essie Davis, Nicholas Woodeson, Jonathan Hyde and John Rogan in Tom Stoppard's Jumpers, directed by David Leveaux; Frances Barber and Karl Johnson will star in Odon von Horvath's Tales From The Vienna Woods, directed by Richard Jones; and Robert Lindsay will be joined by Rupert Penry-Jones, Barbara Jefford, Stephen Boxer, Hattie Morahan, Jonathan Slinger and Geraldine Somerville in Nick Dear's Power, directed by Lindsay Posner.

John Challis, Sue Holderness, Gary Turner, Carli Norris, Richard Kane and Lavinia Bertram star in Alan Ayckbourn's How The Other Half Loves, directed by Mark Piper, currently at the Theatre Royal Windsor, prior to a regional tour. Ayckbourn's second major success, it is famous for the setting that overlaps two rooms (and sequences of action) on stage at the same time. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

Greenwich Theatre is presenting its fourth Musical Futures event, showcasing new musical theatre writing, presenting eight new works over three evenings from 20th to 22nd May. Highlights include on 20th The Fax Of Life, words by Mary Stewart-David and music by Denis King: has Den Quinn really replicated himself with an experimental fax copier - or is it all in his mind?; on 21st Tricks, lyrics by Karlton Parris and music by Luisa Jay: a hard hitting true story of hard lives on mean streets; and on 22nd Mary Seacole, words by Bob Forrest-Webb and music by Peter Gritton: Elaine Delmar stars in the true story of the Jamaican nurse who was a heroine of the Crimean War.

The 25th Association of British Theatre Technicians Theatre Show takes place at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London on 18th and 19th June. As usual it will be the complete theatre package featuring the products of over 100 leading lighting, sound and staging manufacturers, costume, prop and scenery makers, and suppliers of seating and soft furnishings, box office and IT systems, print and publicity, insurance and legal services, training and safety, books and publications, and leading theatre organisations. There will also be a free seminar programme and presentations of the ABTT and Stage Management Association Awards. Further information and online registration can be found on the ABTT web site via the link from the Organisations section of TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch 2: Former Royal Ballet dancer (and adult Billy Elliot) Adam Cooper will be joined by Kathryn Evans, Irek Mukhamedov and Sarah Wildor, when last year's much feted Haymarket Theatre Leicester production of Rodgers and Hart's On Your Toes plays at the Royal Festival Hall from 7th August to 6th September.

The Lyric Theatre Hammersmith has embarked on a 2.6m refurbishment programme designed by Rick Mather. The scheme will create a new glass fronted entrance on Lyric Square at the side of the current building, with a staircase linking to a new cafe and bar, and also includes a rehearsal room and education facility. The original Frank Matcham designed Lyric was demolished in the 1960s, and the auditorium recreated inside the present shopping centre development in the 1970s, but with a very inadequate entrance.

The Rumour Machine says: that Elton John is collaborating with Bernie Taupin on a stage musical The Vampire Lestat, based on the character from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles series, which will be a traditional musical - not a 'rock opera' - with a book by Linda Woolverton, directed by Robert Jess Roth, and will be the first theatrical venture for Warner Brothers, who aim to bring it to Broadway in 2005; and that Thomas Meehan, co-book writer of the hit Broadway musicals The Producers and Hairspray will be reworking the book of Bombay Dreams for its New York debut next spring; and that the Tony Award winning 1981 musical Dreamgirls, by Henry Krieger and Tom Eyen, charting the rise of a Supremes-like singing group, which has never been seen in London, is to be revived on Broadway next year after which it may finally make it to the West End. The Rumour Machine grinds on.