News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 13th September 1999

Jean Butler, former star of Riverdance and Colin Deane (who replaced Michael Flatley) will lead the world premiere of Dancing On Dangerous Ground, at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 30th November. Butler and Deane have created the show, which is based on the myth of Dairmaid and Grainne - an Irish Romeo and Juliet. It has original music by Seamus Egan, and features 30 dancers and musicians, directed by Ian Judge. Harvey Goldsmith is producing in association with Butler and Deane's company Tricky Feats.

Billy Connolly's previously announced season at London Apollo Hammersmith has sold out. New dates from 9th to 20th November have been added.

Suddenly Honk!, George Styles and Anthony Drewe's adaptation of The Ugly Duckling, is everywhere. As previously mentioned, Plunge Productions is presenting a small scale version at the Landor Theatre, with the hope of a transfer. Now the National Theatre has announced that it will be mounting a more lavish production with a cast of 28, opening at the Olivier Theatre on 16th December. It will be directed by Julia Mckenzie, who previously staged it at the Stephen Joseph Theatre Scarborough in 1997. This will be the first new British work ever produced at the Olivier, and the first new musical there for 20 years.

A limited number of tickets are still available for the 15th Vivian Ellis Prize Gala Showcase at the London Palladium on 21st September at 1.30pm. West End performers will present excerpts from the finalists in this year's national competition to discover, nurture and promote new writers in musical theatre working in Britain. A panel of experts chaired by Don Black will then give their verdict. Further details can be found on the Prize web site via the link from the Organisations section of TheatreNet.

Ray Manzarek, one of the original members of the rock group The Doors, is working on a musical - Celebration Of The Lizard. Based on a poem about the Apocalypse by Jim Morrison, it will use Doors songs - like a more ambitious Mamma Mia!. The show is set on the riot torn earthquake ravaged streets of Los Angeles. Billy Zane and Grace Jones took part in at reading at San Diego Rep earlier in the summer. Plans are for a full scale production at San Diego next spring, with the hope of reaching Broadway in the autumn.

DV8 Physical Theatre Company makes a rare London appearance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall from 15th to 25th September. Their new show The Happiest Day Of My Life, about the romance of the modern wedding day, poses the question Can YES ever be enough for the person who asks "Do you love me?"

When the Royal Court finally reopens in Sloane Square, it will be with the world premiere of a new work by Conor McPherson. The West End run of his play The Weir has proved to be a lifesaver for the Court during its closure. The 25m refurbishment programme has been delayed again, after flooding in its basement and underground restaurant extension, however a firm relaunch date is expected soon.

A veritable who's who in Broadway lighting design, including Peggy Eisenhauer and Mike Baldassari, led by Jules Fisher, makes up the faculty of the 7th Annual Broadway Lighting Master Classes, which will be held in New York from 9th to 12th December. The programme includes a visit to Sam Mendes production of Cabaret, and a discussion with its design team. Full details are on the ETEC - Entertainment Technology Online web site via TheatreNet's Information section.

The world premiere of Dracula - the music and the film will be at the Royal Festival Hall on 23rd and 24th October. A new score by Philip Glass will be played by Glass and the Kronos Quartet, accompanying Bela Lugosi in the original 1931 Tod Browning film.