News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th October 2009

It has finally been confirmed that Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera, book by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater, with Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess, Summer Strallen, Liz Robertson and Joseph Millson in the leading roles, directed by Jack O'Brien, with choreography by Jerry Mitchell, will open at the Adelphi Theatre on 9th March,. It is set 10 years after the original show, in Coney Island in New York, where the Phantom is running a sideshow, at which Christine comes to perform, bringing her 10 year old son. The New York premiere will be on 11th November.

The Society Of London Theatre is looking for 14 enthusiastic and knowledgeable theatregoers to join one of the judging panels for next year's Laurence Olivier Awards. Panellists will receive a pair of free tickets for all shows playing in the West End between 1st January and 31st December. There are four panels assessing Theatre, Opera, Dance and Affiliates (covering work at the Almeida, Greenwich, Hampstead, Lyric Hammersmith, Royal Court Upstairs, Soho, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Tricycle). The Theatre panel is expected to attend about 60 play performances or 20 musicals, Opera and Affiliates about 20 each, and Dance about 40. Applications can be made online on the SOLT web site, which can be found via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet. Alternatively there are leaflets in all West End theatres. The deadline for applications is 30th November.

Moliere's The Misanthrope, in a contemporary version by Martin Crimp, with Damian Lewis, Tara Fitzgerald, Keira Knightley, Dominic Rowan and Tim McMullen, directed by Thea Sharrock, will open at the Comedy Theatre on 17th December. A British playwright, disillusioned with the hypocrisy, shallowness and vanity of the contemporary world, vows to reject society, but then falls madly in love with a visiting American film star. The producer is the Ambassador Theatre Group.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the current sellout Chichester Festival Theatre/Royal Court Theatre/Headlong Theatre production of Lucy Prebble's Enron, based on the scandal surrounding the fraudulent activities of the U.S. energy company, directed by Rupert Goold, will transfer to Broadway, opening at a Shubert theatre to be announced on 27th April. It will feature an all American cast. The producers are Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Matthew Byam Shaw, Act Productions, Caro Newling for Neal Street Productions and the Shubert Organization.

The Royal Shakespeare Company is to revive its Studio, the research and development centre that was pioneered by Michel Saint-Denis and Peter Brook in the 1960s, with David Farr and Deborah Shaw overseeing the project, beginning next spring. It will focus on three strands of work: Shakespeare and classics, new writing, and developed work such as 'verbatim theatre'. The aim of the Studio is to offer opportunities for collaborative projects with writers and directors, and explore new ways of engaging audiences.

The musical The Great Pretenders, book by Simon Jermond and Neil Harrison, music and lyrics by Neil Harrison, set backstage during auditions for tribute artists, where 'Marilyn Monroe', 'John Lennon' and 'Elvis Presley' find pretences in their own lives begin to surface, directed by Christian Durham, with musical staging by Racky Plews, will open at Upstairs At The Gatehouse, in Highgate Village, on 23rd October. The company comprises Rebecca Bainbridge, David Higgins, Luke Jasztal, Leon Kay, Susan Raasay, Jennifer Saayeng, and Crystal Van Lloy. The producers are Transpontine Productions in association with Ovation and Perfect Pitch Musicals.

The autumn season at the Library Theatre in Manchester will include Bertolt Brecht's The Good Soul Of Szechuan, translated by David Harrower, about how difficult it is to be virtuous in an inhospitable world, directed by Chris Honer, from 30th October; and Grimm Tales, Carol Ann Duffy's adaptation of stories by the Brothers Grimm, dramatised by Tim Supple, directed by Rachel O'Riordan, from 5th December.

New York TheatreNet: Hugh Dancy, Andrea Riseborough and Ben Whishaw will feature in the American premiere of Alexi Kaye Campbell's The Pride, a love triangle, replete with conflicting loyalties and passions, jumping from 1958 to the present, directed by Joe Mantello, opening Off Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on 16th February.

The Royal Albert Hall is to relaunch the Elgar Room as a new cabaret, comedy and reception space on 14th October, following a 1m refurbishment, which has seen the original floor to ceiling windows restored, and raised flooring removed to create one large space, giving a capacity of 350 standing and 110 seated at tables. The room, above the west porch, formerly the West Theatre, was previously used for rehearsals when the Central School of Speech and Drama was based there from 1906 to 1957. It will be the first time since the hall's opening in 1871, that there will be a space other than the main auditorium in which to host music and other events.

The Off Broadway musical Zombie Prom book and lyrics by John Dempsey, music by Dana P Rowe, adapted from a story by John Dempsey and Hugh M Murray, about a teenage girl whose rebel boyfriend commits suicide in a nuclear cooling tower and returns as a 'teenage nuclear zombie', directed by Ian McFarlane, will receive its British premiere at the Landor Theatre in Clapham on 22nd October. The producer is Christopher D Clegg Productions.

The next production at the Old Red Lion in Islington will be the British premiere of John Patrick Shanley's Women Of Manhattan, the play about the lives and loves of three women in New York, which predates Sex And The City, directed by Sherrill Gow, from 20th October, produced by Tasty Plan Production.

The Rumour Machine says: that David Suchet will feature in a West End production of Arthur Miller's All My Sons, as a man who sold defective airplane parts to the military, and deflected the blame to his business partner, whose complicity comes to light when his son plans to marry the partner's daughter; and that Hollywood star Kelly McGillis may feature in a UK tour of Terrence McNally's Frankie And Johnny In The Clair de Lune, about the unlikely romance between a cook and a waitress in a diner, next spring. The Rumour Machine grinds on.