News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th May 2001

Broadway theatre's Tony Awards will undoubtedly be dominated by the new musical smash The Producers as it has received a record 15 nominations. The main competition will come from the musical The Full Monty with 9 nominations, which although based on the British film, was developed (and the action relocated) wholly in America. British interest is centred on Best Play/Design - Tom Stoppard's The Invention Of Love designed by Bob Crowley; Best Musical/Book/Lyrics - John Caird's Jayne Eyre; and Best Musical Revival - Richard O'Brien's The Ricky Horror Show and Matthew Warchus production of Follies. The full list of nominees and further information can be found on the Tony Awards web site via the link from the Organisations section of TheatreNet. Stars of The Producers, Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, will host the 55th Tony Awards ceremony at Radio City Music Hall on 3rd June.

The CandoCo Dance Company is celebrating its 10th anniversary as the UK's only dance company that includes disabled performers. It is now touring with two new works that are tailored to the abilities of its latest dancers. I Hastened Through My Death Scene To Catch Your Last Act, choreographed by Javier de Frutos, is about longing, obsession and desire. Sunbyrne is a playful blend of humour, eroticism and physical dexterity, staged by Doug Elkins to the music of David Byrne and the Beach Boys. CandoCo's London appearances are at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 18th and 19th May.

The French government is to make funds available to help pay for the refurbishment of commercial theatres. Ffr5m is to be provided to pay for up to 70% of the total cost of safety and structural work and front of house improvements, made to venues classified as historic monuments. Any chance of a similar election promise here?

The 107th season of the BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts takes place at the Royal Albert Hall between 20th July and 15th September. The world's greatest classical music festival will centre on 73 main concerts (at least one every evening) with consistently low ticket prices, including 1000 "promming" tickets available each day an hour before the performance at only 3 each. In addition there will be a series of pre-Prom talks at the RAH, lunch time Chamber Music Proms at the Victoria and Albert Museum and Poetry Proms at the Serpentine Gallery. The two main themes for this year are Pastoral, exploring the many different ways composers have interpreted nature, and Exile, with music both written by composers in exile and about the experience. The Last Night will include the sixth outdoor Proms In The Park, with 35,000 people in Hyde Park joining in, and simultaneous concerts running in Liverpool, Gateshead and the Eden Project in St Austell. All four concerts culminate in live big screen link ups with the Royal Albert Hall. Full details can be found on the BBC Proms web site via the link from the Festivals section of TheatreNet.

Ruthie Henshall and Andrew Kennedy will star in the musical Peggy Sue Got Married at the Shaftesbury Theatre at the end of August, following a regional tour starting in Plymouth. The show is based on the 1986 film, in which the leading character faints at a high school reunion and finds herself thrust back in time to the 1950s, where she is given the chance to change the course of her life. Book and lyrics are by Arlene Sarner and Jerry Leichtling, and music by Bob Gaudio. Frank Gerro is the producer.

The autumn/winter season at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield will include Kenneth Branagh as Richard III directed by Michael Grandage in March; Moliere's Don Juan, in a new translation by Simon Nye, also directed by Grandage; a David Mamet double bill Sexual Perversity In Chicago and The Shawl, directed by Angus Jackson; the Cole Porter musical High Society directed by Fiona Laird; Pinter's The Birthday Party directed by Erica Whyman; and Original Sin, a new play written and directed by Peter Gill, as part of a retrospective of his work with Kick For Touch, Friendly Fire, Mean Tears and Small Change.

Following her appearance at last year's Edinburgh Fringe, Thembi Mtshali stars in A Woman In Waiting, co-written and directed by Yael Farber, at the New Ambassadors Theatre from 12th to 30th June. Based on her life story, it tells of three generations of Zulu women, from life under Apartheid to the present day.

Britain's oldest clown archive is in jeopardy as Hackney council is threatening its home in The Clown's Gallery, a former drill hall. The collection of memorabilia, which includes costumes, books, playbills and posters is owned by Clowns International, an organization which has been in existence for over fifty years. The collection has lived rent free for the last seven years, but now the council has imposed a 6000 annual charge. As a result it will have to move, and the trustees are looking for a benefactor either to offer alternative accommodation or help with the rent.

Colin Firth is to play Hamlet at Riverside Studios from 30th January to 9th March, followed by a tour to Malvern Theatre and Oxford Playhouse. Details of other casting and director are unknown, but the producer is Concentric Circles.

The Rumour Machine says: that Julie-Alanah Brighten will be in the musical based on Ian Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang directed by Adrian Noble in the autumn; that Geri Halliwell wants to star in Andrew Lloyd Webber's revival of The Sound Of Music; and that Phoenix the calf's panto appearance is now in doubt because of her fee - she obviously must have heard about having to work with Shane Ritchie so the price went up. The Rumour Machine grinds on.