News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th June 2007

New York TheatreNet: Once again there is a strong showing of British talent in this year's New York Tony Awards. The big winners were The Coast Of Utopia, with 7 awards (the most of any non-musical in Tony Awards history) including Tom Stoppard - Best Play, and Jennifer Ehle - Best Actress Play (Featured). Bob Crowley took Best Scenic Design Musical and Play for Mary Poppins and The Coast Of Utopia (with Scott Pask). Best Revival Musical went to Company directed by John Doyle, and Best Revival Play went to Journey's End directed by David Grindley. The big American winner was Spring Awakening with 8 awards, including Best Musical, Best Director Musical, Best Score, Best Book and Best Choreography. Best Actress and Actor Musical went to Christine Ebersole for Grey Gardens and David Hyde Pierce for Curtains, while Best Actress and Actor Play went to Julie White for The Little Dog Laughed and Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon. The full list of winners can be found on the Tony Awards web site, via the link from Organisations, in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Robert Bathurst will perform a one man show as Alex, the Daily Telegraph's comic strip corporate financier, written by the cartoon's creators Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor, and directed by Phelim McDermott, premiering at the Arts Theatre on 10th October. The show details Alex's increasingly desperate attempts to juggle his job, marriage and social life, as crises hit all three and threaten to ruin him. Projection design by Fifty Nine will allow Alex to interact with characters from the strip and other elements of his cartoon world. The producer is Eleanor Lloyd.

A national tour of the musical Godspell, with Stephen Gately, directed by Paul Kerryson, will open at the Palace Theatre in Manchester on 25th September. The show, which relates events leading up to the crucifixion, is an adaptation of St Matthew's gospel, with book by John-Michael Tebelak, and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.

Buxton Festival, centred on the spectacular Opera House designed by Frank Matcham, running from 6th to 22nd July, continues the twin themes of opera and literature. Opera highlights include new festival productions of Donizetti's Roberto Devereux, Offenbach's Bluebeard, and a community production of Jonathan Dove's Tobias And The Angel, plus Classical Opera Company with Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Armonico Consort Opera with Purcell's King Arthur, Bampton Classical Opera with Benda's Romeo And Juliet, and Music Theatre Wales with the UK premiere of Philippe Boesmans's Julie, libretto by Bondy and Bischofberger, after Strindberg's Miss Julie. Other performance events include Independent Ballet Wales with Coppelia, plus concerts and recitals covering a wide range of music. The Literary Series boasts appearances by a variety of writers, broadcasters and personalities, including Jeremy Bowen, Joanna Trollope, Claire Tomalin, Michael Frayn, Andrew O'Hagan, Julian Barnes, Andrew Davies and Antonia Fraser. Further information can be found on the Buxton Festival web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Bad Girls The Musical, the show based on the first season of the television series set in a women's prison, book by Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus, music and lyrics by Kath Gotts, directed by Maggie Norris, which premiered at West Yorkshire Playhouse last year, will open at the Garrick Theatre in September.

The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced its autumn season in Stratford upon Avon. In the Courtyard Theatre: the culmination of The History Cycle, the two year project to present all eight history plays, from Henry IV Part 1 to Richard III in order with the same group of actors, directed by Michael Boyd; and Twelfth Night, with John Lithgow in his British stage debut, Marjorie Yates, Siobhan Redmond, Chris New, Iain McKee, Jason Merrells and Simon Merrells, directed by Neil Bartlett, opening on 5th September. In the Swan Theatre: the world premiere of The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood's stage adaptation of her novel retelling the tale of Odysseus from the point of view of his wife Penelope and her maids, through song, dance and storytelling, with Penny Downie Mojisola Adebayo, Frances Ashman, Derbhle Crotty, Pauline Hutton and Sarah Malin, directed by Josette Bushell-Mingo, opening on 2nd August, in a co-production with Canada's National Arts Centre. A revival of the 2005 production of The Comedy Of Errors, directed by Nancy Meckler, will open a national tour at The Lowry in Salford on 19th October.

The London Bubble Theatre Company is performing The Dong With A Luminous Nose, by Simin Sartin, a contemporary tale inspired by the poem by Edward Lear, as an outdoor promenade production in parks, woods and open spaces around London from 4th July until 12th August. It will be accompanied at certain locations by Forty Walls, Ten Doors, a participatory project involving over 70 people of all ages, combining theatre, live music, and storytelling, to present stories that they feel have helped to define and shape London. The locations are the previous haunts of Sydenham Wells Park, Waterlow Park Highgate, Gunnersbury Park Chiswick, Southwark Park Bermondsey, Laban Centre Deptford and Oxleas Woods Shooters Hill. Further information can be found on the London Bubble web site via the link from Theatre Companies in the Links section of TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch: Bryn Terfel will be joined by Maria Friedman, Daniel Evans, Steve Elias, Phillip Quast and Adrian Thompson, in the concert performances of Sweeney Todd at the Royal Festival Hall, from 5th to 7th July; and Michael Ball will play the drag role of the mother of Leanne Jones in Hairspray, opening at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 30th October.

The Siobhan Davies Dance Company will premiere their latest work Two Quartets, developed by Davies in collaboration with composer and musician Matteo Fargion, visual artist Sam Collins, and fashion designer Jonathan Saunders, in an Oxbridge mini festival. Performances will be at Cambridge Arts Theatre on 29th and 30th June, followed by Oxford Playhouse on 6th and 7th July.

The British Shakespeare Company, the producer of outdoor Shakespeare (with unusual casting choices) is this year presenting Henry V, directed by Robert J Williamson, and As You Like It, directed by Pippa Minnithorpe, with a company that includes James Alexandrou, Stacey Roca, David Davies, Matha Swan and Robert J Williamson. Performances will be at the Leeds Shakespeare Festival in Kirkstall Abbey Cloisters, from 24th July to 18th August, and Oxford Shakespeare Festival in Fellow's Garden Wadham College, from 21st to 26th August. Further information can be found on the BSC web site via the link from Theatre Companies in the Links section of TheatreNet.