News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th December 2003

A stage version of the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally, adapted by Marcy Kahan, starring Luke Perry, will receive its world premiere at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 20th February. The romantic comedy charts the relationship of two people as they go from enemies to friends to lovers to awkward friends before getting married. The show will be directed by Loveday Ingram and produced by James Tod.

It's Official! As previously forecast here Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical The Woman In White, adapted from the novel by Wilkie Collins, with book by Charlotte Jones, and lyrics by David Zippel, directed by Trevor Nunn, will open at the Palace Theatre in September.

The 26th London International Mime Festival runs from 10th to 25th January, and features 17 companies from around the world, spanning the full range of visual theatre, including leading exponents of mime, animation, circus, puppetry, clowning and vaudeville, together with a programme of talks and workshops. Among the British groups taking part are Ridiculusmus, Told By An Idiot, Gecko and the Chipolatas. International performers include Russian performance artists Akhe, the Canada Stage Company, French circus performers Companie 111 and Germany's Fabrik Company. Accompanying events include a workshop with Gandini Juggling, a two day workshop about the teachings of Jacques Lecoq, and a Winter Clown School run by The Why Not Institute. Performances are at the Albany, Battersea Arts Centre, Barbican, Circus Space, ICA, and South Bank Centre. Full details can be found on the LIMF web site via the link from the Festivals section of TheatreNet.

Cameron Mackintosh is to follow the lead of theatre owners in New York, and add a 75p 'Theatre Restoration Levy' to the price of all tickets sold for shows in his theatres. The proceeds will be deposited in a charitable fund set up to pay for essential repairs and upgrades for the buildings.

The Broadway musical Victor/Victoria, with book by Blake Edwards, music by Henry Mancini and Frank Wildhorn, and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, is to receive its British premiere at the Bridewell Theatre from 13th to 31st January. Set in 1930s Paris, it is about penniless British soprano who hits on the idea of claiming to be the world's greatest female impersonator in order to further her career singing in nightclubs. Ria Jones plays the title role, with Stewart Alexander, Emma Barton, Matthew Daines, William El-Gardi, Nikki Gerrard, Mark Halliday, Christopher Holt, Edward Law, Sorelle Marsh, Gary O'Sullivan, and Nick Sutcliffe. The production, which is a revised version with three new songs, is directed by Phil Willmott and choreographed by Jack Gunn. It is presented by Suzanna Rosenthal, The Steam Industry, TEG Productions and the Bridewell Theatre.

On The Casting Couch: David Haig, Paul Bradley, Phil Cornwell, Christian Coulson, Ben Meyjes and Geoffrey Streatfeild will star in R C Sheriff's Journey's End, directed by David Grindley, opening at the Comedy Theatre on 21st January.

Jailhouse Rock The Musical, with Mario Kombu, Lisa Peace, Roger Alborough and Gilz Terera, will open at the Piccadilly Theatre on 19th April. Based on the 1957 film that launched Elvis Presley's international career, it is the story of the transformation of a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks into a Rock and Roll megastar, with a talent forged in the harsh environment of a State Penitentiary. The show is adapted by Alan Janes, directed by Rob Bettinson, choreographed by Drew Anthony, and produced by Theatre Partners, Jailhouse Company and Volcanic Island.

Meanwhile All Shook Up, a rival American attempt to make a musical out of the Elvis back catalogue, will be tried out by Goodspeed Musicals at the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, Connecticut from 13th May to 6th June, with Broadway in mind for 2005. It will not have Elvis as a character, but be "a musical comedy about a magical jukebox and a leather jacketed stranger and the impact they have on a loveless town" (sounds a bit like an American Salad Days). The book is by Joe DiPietro and the producers are Clear Channel Entertainment and Miramax.

Round The Horne… Revisited, a stage show based on two episodes of the 1960s radio comedy series, will open at The Venue on 22nd January. Brian Cooke, the last remaining member of the Round The Horne writing team that included Barry Took, Marty Feldman and Nigel Harrison, has created the show, which comprises both original and previously unheard material. It features Charles Armstrong, Kate Brown, Nigel Harrison, Jonathan Rigby and Kenneth Sebastian, and is directed by Michael Kingsbury.

Brits On Broadway: Elaine Paige will join Mark Delavan in the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler musical Sweeney Todd for New York City Opera, directed by Harold Prince, at the Lincoln Centre from 5th to 28th March; the entire cast of the current National Theatre production of Tom Stoppard's Jumpers will transfer to New York in April, opening at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre; and the current National Theatre production of Eugene O'Neil's Mourning Becomes Electra may follow.

The Rumour Machine says: that the 1993 film Backbeat, about the Beatles early years in Hamburg, is being adapted by writer and director Iain Softley as a stage musical (with 'rock standards' not Beatles songs) and will feature the original stars Gary Bakewell, Stephen Dorff, Ian Hart, Chris O'Neill and Scot Williams; that Lenny Henry and 'director to the stars' Laurence Boswell are working on a stage adaptation of the 1993 film Mrs Doubtfire, based on Anne Fine's children's novel about a divorced man who dresses as a woman and becomes a housekeeper in order to see his children; that the film Bend It Like Beckham is to be turned into a Bollywood style musical, directed by Gurinder Chadha and produced by Deepak Nayar; that American film actor Julia Stiles is to star in a West End production of David Mamet's Oleanna in April, directed by Lindsay Posner for Blue Productions, with John Cusack as possible co-star; and that Michael Gambon and Lee Evans will star in Samuel Beckett's Endgame, directed by Matthew Warchus, in the West End in the spring - Evans is still currently the top tip to star with Richard Dreyfuss in Mel Brooks musical The Producers when it finally arrives in London next autumn. The Rumour Machine grinds on.