News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th April 2011

The 117th season of the BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts takes place at the Royal Albert Hall between 15th July and 10th September. The world's greatest classical music festival centres on 74 main concerts (at least one every evening) with consistently low ticket prices, including half price tickets for under 16s, and 500 'promming' tickets at only £5 each, available every day 30 minutes before the doors open. In addition, there is a series of lunch time Chamber Music Proms at the Cadogan Hall, Late Night Proms, and Proms Plus events, such as pre-prom and composer portrait talks, family orchestra concerts at the Royal College of Music. All concerts are broadcast live on Radio 3, with many televised on BBC4, and available via audio and video webcasts. Among the highlights are Havergal Brian's Symphony No 1 The Gothic with a cast of 1,000, including 10 choirs, and 2 orchestras; the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra playing Mahler; the Verdi Requiem with Marina Poplavskaya and Joseph Calleja; Nigel Kennedy playing J S Bach solo works; 2 film music concerts featuring scores from James Bond to Harry Potter; and Lang Lang playing Liszt on the Last Night, conducted for the first time by Edward Gardner. The Last Night will include the 16th outdoor Proms In The Park, with 35,000 people in Hyde Park, and simultaneous concerts running across the country, plus big screen relays in other cities. Further information can be found on the BBC Proms web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

A musical adaptation of Ken Ludwig's farce Lend Me A Tenor, about the backstage panic involved in getting an opera superstar on stage in the 1930s, book and lyrics by Peter Sham, music by Brad Carroll, with Matthew Kelly, Damian Humbley, Michael Matus and Sophie-Louise Dann, directed by Ian Talbot, with choreography by Randy Skinner, which played at the Theatre Royal Plymouth last year, will open at the Gielgud Theatre on 15th June.

The Royal Opera House has announced its 2011/2012 season. Royal Opera highlights will include: new productions of Puccini's Il trittico, directed by Richard Jones, with Anja Harteros, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Lucio Gallo and Aleksandrs Antonenko; Dvorak's Rusalka, directed by Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito, with Camilla Nylund, Bryan Hymel, Alan Held and Agnes Zwierko; the British premiere of Judith Weir's Miss Fortune, based on a Sicilian folk tale, directed by Shi-Zheng Chen, with Emma Bell and Jacques Imbrailo; Verdi's Falstaff, directed by Robert Carsen; and Berlioz's Les Troyens, directed by David McVicar; plus revivals of Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro, Der fliegende Hollander, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, Otello, La traviata, Faust, La sonnambula, Rigoletto, La Fille du regiment, La boheme and Salome.

Royal Ballet highlights will include the world premieres of Metamorphosis: Titian 12, in which Christopher Wheeldon and Alastair Marriott, Wayne Macgregor and Kim Brandstrup, and Will Tuckett, Liam Scarlett and Jonathan Watkins create responses to Titian paintings inspired by scenes from Ovid's Metamorphosis; and works by Wayne Macgregor and Liam Scarlett; plus revivals of The Sleeping Beauty, Manon, The Nutcracker, Romeo And Juliet, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, La Fille mal gardee, The Prince Of the Pagodas and mixed bills featuring works by Frederick Ashton, Georges Balanchine, Kenneth MacMillan and Johan Kobborg. Further information about the opera and ballet seasons can be found on the ROH web site, via the link from London Venues, in the Links section of TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch: Paulo Szot and Loretta Ables Sayre (from the original Lincoln Center production) and Samantha Womack and Daniel Koek will head the cast of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, playing at the Barbican Theatre from 15th August; and Andrew Buchan and Eddie Redmayne will head the cast of Richard II, opening at the Donmar Warehouse on 6th December.

New York TheatreNet: The Best Is Yet To Come, a revue featuring the songs of composer Cy Coleman, devised and directed by David Zippel, with David Burnham, Sally Mayes, Howard McGillin, Billy Stritch, Lillias White and Rachel York, will play at 59E59 Theaters from 18th May. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Forthcoming productions at the Union Theatre, in Southwark, will include Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be, a musical comedy set among shady characters in 1950s London, book by Frank Norman, music and lyrics by Lionel Bart, with Hannah-Jane Fox, directed by Phil Willmott, with choreography by Nick Winston, opening on 13th May, produced by Elliot Davis and Ellie Collyer-Bristow; and 1888, a new musical set against the backdrop of the Jack The Ripper murders, book, music and lyrics by Gerry Ware, with additional material by Andrew Emerson, with Vlach Ashton, Angeline Bell, Stacey V Bland, Stephanie Hampton, Matthew Ibbotson, Stephen Lloyd , Stephanie Parry, Phineas Pett, Craig Vincent Power, Dudley Rogers and Gemma Salter, directed by Simon James Collier and Omar F Okai, opening on 7th June, produced by The Okai Collier Company for Silhouette Theatre Productions.

Potted Potter - The Unauthorised Harry Experience, all the J K Rowling books condensed to 70 minutes, written and performed by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, directed by Richard Hurst, will return to London at the Garrick Theatre for daytime performances from 18th to 29th August.

The Fat Girl Gets A Haircut And Other Stories created and directed by Mark Storor, a series of contemporary tales of love, family, sexuality and religion, told through performance, live music and 360-degree video projection, with Laurie Briggs, Alexus Burke, Jacob Crossley, Kadeem Deane, Rory Edmonds, Rosie Evans-Hill, Ashleigh Monagle, Yasmin Rackal, Miran Salman, Ishbel Tunnadine and Dharshinee Vogel, will play at The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm from 26th April.

Tactical Questioning: Scenes From The Baha Mousa Inquiry, a verbatim drama by Richard Norton-Taylor from the transcripts of the public inquiry into the death of an Iraqi suspect while under arrest by the British Army, directed by Nicolas Kent, will open at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn on 6th June.

Royal Mail has issued a range of stamps to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Royal Shakespeare Company. 6 feature a quote and a photograph of an actor from a landmark production: Hamlet with David Tennant, The Tempest with Antony Sher, Henry VI with Chuk Iwuji, King Lear with Paul Scofield, A Midsummer Night's Dream with Sara Kestelman and Romeo And Juliet with Ian McKellen and Francesca Annis. 4 feature the theatres and an actor: the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with Janet Suzman in Hamlet, the Swan Theatre with Patrick Stewart in Antony And Cleopatra, the Courtyard Theatre with Geoffrey Streatfeild in Henry V, and the Other Place with Judi Dench in Macbeth.