News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 14th January 1997

Robert Stigwood really seems to be getting back the taste for producing theatre in London . In addition to a stage version of Saturday Night Fever expected at the London Palladium in the summer, he has a new project. He is bringing a musical about the Italian castrato Fairnelli, subject of a recent film, to the Queen's Theatre in October. The composer is Matthew Wilder, and the director is David Gilmore, who also directed Stigwood's production of Grease, which is still rocking at the Cambridge Theatre.

Adam Faith is to lead a revival of A Chorus Line opening at Theatre Royal Plymouth on 24th February, and touring for nine months before possibly coming to London. Hope (for our sake as well as his) that he's playing Zack, the choreographer, which is almost a non-dancing role. This is the first production of The Musicals Allliance, a partnership venture of Plymouth, Mayflower Southampton, New Victoria Woking, PACE Theatrical Inc and the Turnstyle Group.

Peter Hall's final collaboration with commercial producer Bill Kenwright, before his company's residency at The Old Vic Theatre, is Moliere's comedy The School For Wives. With the intriguing casting of Peter Bowles and Eric Sykes, it will open at the Piccadilly Theatre on 5th February. The play will follow Adventures In Motion Pictures production of Swan Lake, which has become the most successful West End ballet season ever.

Maria Friedman is to star in Lady In The Dark, the Kurt Weil and Ira Gershwin musical, opening on 11th March at the National Theatre. Directed by Francesca Zambello, the cast includes Charlotte Cornwall, Maria Kesselmann and Paul Shelley. Meanwhile, rumours of the first fruits of Trevor Nunn's regime are emerging. There may be a new play by Tom Stoppard, about the poet A E Housman (title as yet unknown) in the summer, and a revival of West Side Story the legendary Bernstein/Laurents/Sondheim musical later this year or in 1998.

The Albery Theatre will be the venue for One Word Improv a show featuring alternative comedians Eddie Izzard, Neil Mullarkey, Stephen Frost and Suki Webster, for a limited season from 28th Jan to 16th March, prior to the opening of The Goodbye Girl.

It's official! Cinderella was once again the most popular pantomime in the country this Christmas, with 31 productions. Dick Whittington came second with 28 productions, just beating Aladdin with 27. Surprisingly, Beauty And The Beast, which seemed to be everywhere, was only fifth.

Ted Rogers' tribute to Danny Kaye show, Danny And Me, which has been touring with success opens a seven week season at the Arts Theatre on 3rd February.