News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th June 2012

Michael Grandage has announced a year long season of plays at the Noel Coward Theatre that he will direct and produce. The musical Privates On Parade, book and lyrics by Peter Nichols, music by Denis King, set in a British entertainment troupe in 1950s Malaya, with Simon Russell Beale, will open on 10th December; the premiere of John Logan's Peter And Alice, charting the real life meeting of the inspirations for Alice In Wonderland and Peter Pan, with Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw, will open on 25th March; Martin McDonagh's The Cripple Of Inishmaan, in which a young man desperate to break away from the tedium of daily life tries to achieve his dream, with Daniel Radcliffe, will open on 18th June; Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, with Sheridan Smith and David Walliams, will open on 17th September; and Shakespeare's Henry V, with Jude Law, will open on 3rd December.

New York TheatreNet: Despite the wealth of nominations, British talent fared poorly in this year's New York Tony Awards, with just James Corden winning Best Actor (Play) - One Man, Two Guvnors and Bob Crowley taking Best Design (Musical) - Once. The biggest winners were Once with 8, including Musical, Book - Enda Walsh, Director (Musical) - John Tiffany and Actor (Musical) - Steve Kazee; and Peter And The Starcatcher with 5, including Featured Actor (Play) - Christian Borle; Best Play was Clybourne Park; Best Musical Revival was Porgy And Bess; Best Play Revival was Death Of A Salesman; Best Director (Play) went to Mike Nichols - Death Of A Salesman; Best Choreography was won by Christopher Gattelli - Newsies; Best Actress (Play) went to Nina Arianda - Venus In Fur; and Best Actress (Musical) went to Audra McDonald - Porgy And Bess. 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, where news, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can also be found, via the link opposite below.

The autumn season at the Old Vic will include Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, in an adaptation by Brian Friel, the story of a passionate woman who feels bored and trapped in her mundane life with the dull university professor whom she has just married, with Sheridan Smith, Adrian Scarborough, Anne Reid, Buffy Davis and Fenella Woolgar, directed by Anna Mackmin, opening on 12th September; and the yet to open Chichester Festival Theatre production of the musical Kiss Me, Kate, book by Sam and Bella Spewack, music and lyrics by Cole Porter, the backstage story of a touring production of The Taming Of The Shrew, with Hannah Waddingham, Alex Bourne, Adam Garcia, Clive Rowe and David Burt, directed by Trevor Nunn, with choreography by Stephen Mear, opening on 3rd December.

The autumn season at the Royal Court Theatre will include the premieres of Caryl Churchill's Love And Information, in which more than 100 characters try to make sense of what they know, directed by James Macdonald, opening on 14th September; Lucy Kirkwood's NSFW, a tale of power games in the media and beyond, directed by Simon Godwin, opening on 31st October; and Martin Crimp's In The Republic Of Happiness, telling the story of an unexpected arrival shaking up a family Christmas celebration, directed by Dominic Cooke, opening on 12th December.

Transformation And Revelation: Gormley To Gaga. UK Design For Performance 2007 - 2011, the snappily titled display at the Victoria & Albert Museum running until 30th September, is an expanded version of the the Society of British Theatre Designers' stand from last year's Prague Quadrennial International Exhibition. The display includes drawings, paintings and photographs, 3D artefacts, scale models, props, costumes and puppets, plus interactive exhibits from lighting, video and sound designers, theatre consultants and architects. Projects by 33 designers include Sutra by Antony Gormley, War Horse by Rae Smith, Glyndebourne's Billy Budd by Christopher Oram, the Waterloo Station production of The Railway Children by Joanna Scotcher, Johan Engles's monumental sets for the floating festival at Bregenz, and Lady Gaga's Monster Ball Tour by Es Devlin.

Jonathan Lewis's Our Boys, based on the lives of five young soldiers recovering from injuries incurred in the line of duty, with Arthur Darvill, Laurence Fox and Cian Barry, directed by David Grindley, will open at the Duchess Theatre on 3rd October.

The autumn season at Hampstead Theatre will include David Hare's The Judas Kiss, about the fall from grace of Oscar Wilde, focussing on the eve of his arrest and the night after his release from two years imprisonment, with Rupert Everett and Freddie Fox, directed by Neil Armfield, opening on 12th September; and the premieres of Howard Brenton's 55 Days, charting Oliver Cromwell's struggles to create a British state and government without a monarchy, directed by Howard Davies, opening on 24th October; and Sarah Wooley's Old Money, a comedy in which a widow, now freed from the responsibilities of a 30 year marriage, opens her eyes to a world of possibilities, with Maureen Lipman and Tracy Ann Oberman, directed by Robin Lefevre, opening on 5th December.

Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy, charting the relationship that develops when the son of a widowed 72 year old Jewish woman living in midcentury Atlanta, hires an African American man as her chauffeur, with Gwen Taylor, Don Warrington and Ian Porter, directed by David Esbjornson (who directed the recent West End production) will open a regional tour at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford on 8th October. The producers are Julian Stoneman Associates and the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

The autumn season at the Rose Theatre in Kingston will include the English Touring Theatre production of W Somerset Maugham's The Sacred Flame, in which the question is raised as to whether the death of a disabled First World War hero was suicide or murder, directed by Matthew Dunster, opening a national tour on 17th September; and Arthur Wing Pinero's The Second Mrs Tanqueray, a comedy about how the past of man's second wife catches up with both of them, directed Stephen Unwin, opening on 5th October.

The Tall Stories Theatre Company production of Room On The Broom, adapted and directed by Toby Mitchell and Olivia Jacobs, from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's childrens' picture book about a witch and her cat, with Morag Cross, David Garrud and Sam Donovan, will play daytime performances at the Lyric Theatre from 21st November to 13th January.