News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 13th February 1998

Following his statement that show parties are costing investors too much, Andrew Lloyd Webber seems to have found the solution: make them self financing by charging the guests. He is holding a 50th birthday bash at the Royal Albert Hall on 7th April, for which tickets go on sale next Thursday. The bill of fayre will include Elaine Paige, Antonio Banderas, Glenn Close, Kiri Te Kanawa, Sarah Brightman, and Michael Ball singing his past hits. Marcus Lovett and Lottie Mayor, the leads from Whistle Down The Wind, will also be performing what he hopes will be his next ones.

Bonnie Langford is to star as Sweet Charity at the Victoria Palace Theatre from 19th May, following a season at the Churchill Bromley. Also featured are newcomer Cornell John, Nicola Hughes and Mark Wynter. This is the first West End revival of the show, with book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, since the original production in the 1960's, conceived and staged by Bob Fosse. It bares the hallmarks of his characteristic style, which has been so successfully recreated in the current production of Chicago. Carol Metcalfe directs and Chet Walker choreographs after Fosse's original. Michael Rose is the producer

Following his repeated success at the Young Vic with More Grimm Tales, director Tim Supple will adapt and direct Salman Rushdie's Haroun And The Sea Of Stories for the National Theatre, opening on 10th October. It is co-adapted with David Tushingham, and will feature music by Grimm collaborator Adrian Lee, played by Japanese and Indian musicians.

Paul Nicholas and Christopher Ellison star in a revival of the comedy thriller Catch Me If You Can by Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert, directed by Bob Thompson. It is currently touring, and looking for a West End home in April. Bill Kenwright is the producer.

Crossing the pond: Disney's The Lion King, originally expected during 1999, is now rumoured for the Lyceum Theatre in November. The other musical hit of last fall - on a slightly smaller scale with its cast of seven - Triumph Of Love may also open here some time this year. It's a very stylish confection of Marivaux farce set in ancient Greece with modern attitude. Although Betty Buckley and F Murray Abraham get the billing, it is the barnstorming performance of Susan Egan, assuming countless guises of princess and peasant, female and male, which makes the show. The book is by James Magruder, music by Jeffrey Stock and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead.

Sondheim Tonight at the Barbican Hall on 17th May is a charity show in aid of the Alan Jay Lerner Fund for Research into Lung Cancer at The Royal Marsden Hospital. Devised and directed by Hugh Wooldridge, it will celebrate the work of Stephen Sondheim with the City of London Philharmonic and leading artists from Broadway and London. Musical directors are David Firman and Charles Prince.

Securing its position as: "the production which has played the greatest number of West End theatres", the Bill Kenwright/Peter Hall Company's An Ideal Husband is on the move again, this time to the Albery, from 3rd March. Luckings must be making more money out of this than anyone.