News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 14th March 1997

The Toronto/Broadway musical axis is in action again. Livent, the Canadian company which produced, and then transferred Kiss Of The Spider Woman and , has Candide previewing at the Gershwin Theatre in New York from 19th April. Meanwhile at the Apotex Theatre in Toronto, it is trying out a musical version of Ragtime, based on E L Doctrow's novel, with a score by Lynne Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. Plans are for a Broadway opening in the autumn and London next year. If you buy a ticket for Candide through Edwards & Edwards you could win a weekend trip to Toronto to see Ragtime.

Confirmation of yet another TheatreNet report, Master Class has finally started booking at the Queens Theatre, opening on 30th April, with Patti Lupone repeating her Broadway success. The reason for the delay may be found in The Rumour Machine below. The production, which gained Terence McNally his second consecutive Tony Award for Best Play in 1996, is still running in New York. The play explores the character of Maria Callas as she takes a group of students through workshops of operatic pieces and original Callas recordings. The director is Leonard Foglia and Robert Fox is the British producer.

In an effort to bridge the "US/UK - two nations divided by a common language" gap, Stoll Moss Theatres have adapted Sheer Madness an American "interactive comedy whodunnit" for British audiences. Through the last year, audiences in their theatres have been invited to a series of workshop presentations to gauge their reactions of British versions, presented in association with the Comedy Store Players. The result - Scissor Happy - will open at the Duchess Theatre in October, directed by Neil Mullarkey.

The next production at the Almeida Theatre will be a revival of Ubu, Alfred Jarry's cartoon style satire on bourgeois conventions of respectability. It opens on 24th April, with Phyllida Law directing, no casting is known as yet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Patti Lupone held off signing her contract for Master Class until the producer Robert Fox agreed that she would have no understudy, so if she is off the show will be cancelled. Could this be the result of her experience with her last West End producer, Andrew Lloyd Webber? When they fell out and she threatened not to play, he simply put her understudy on, and the show went ahead. Of course it is only a rumour.