News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th December 2006

Roger Allam, Frances De La Tour and Mark Rylance will star in Marc Camoletti and Beverley Cross's record breaking 1960s farce Boeing-Boeing, directed by Matthew Warchus, opening at the Comedy Theatre, on 15th February. It's the story of an English playboy living in Paris, with three air hostess girlfriends, whose different schedules enable him to keep them apart - until the introduction of new high speed Boeing aircraft changes their timetables. The producer is Sonia Friedman.

English National Ballet has commissioned Michael Corder to create a new three act ballet, using the full company, based on Hans Andersen's The Snow Queen, set to a Prokofiev score, taken predominantly from The Stone Flower, arranged by Julian Philips. It will receive its premiere in Liverpool in October, and then form part of the company's repertoire in its London season next Christmas.

The Birmingham Stage Company production of David Auburn's Proof, with Sally Oliver, Terence Booth, Neal Foster and Aislinn Sands, directed by John Harrison, will play at the Arts Theatre from 19th February to 17th March. It centres on the daughter of a mathematical genius who suffered from mental illness, as she seeks to discover how much of his genius - and madness - she will inherit.

The National Theatre has announced a further production. Tennessee Williams's The Rose Tattoo, with Zoe Wanamaker directed by Steven Pimlott, will open in March. More light hearted than Williams's usual steamy offerings, it revolves around a boastful Italian-American widow living in the American South, who has withdrawn from the world, but then a man resembling her dead husband arrives.

The spring season at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith will include Kneehigh Theatre Company's production of Shakespeare's Cymbeline, adapted and directed by Emma Rice, opening on 17th January; the premiere of the Indian epic tale of love, honour and revenge Ramayana, adapted and directed by David Farr, opening on 14th February; Don't Look Now, adapted by Nell Leyshon, from Daphne du Maurier's supernatural thriller set in Venice, about the loss of a child, directed by Lucy Bailey, opening on 13th March; the beggarsbelief production of The Illustrious And Unholy History Of St George And The Dragon, by Tom Morris and Carl Heap (who also directs), opening on 3rd April; the premiere of Absolute Beginners, adapted by Roy Williams, from Colin MacInnes's novel set in the summer of 1958 that ended with the Notting Hill race riots, directed by Liam Steel, opening on 3rd May; and Headlong Theatre's production of Tony Kushner's Angels In America, with Greg Hicks and Ann Mitchell, in the tale of public and private lives in 1980s America, directed by Daniel Kramer, opening on 18th June.

The Almeida Theatre has announced the first production of its 2007/2008 season. Henrik Ibsen's Rosmersholm, with Helen McCrory and Paul Hilton, directed by Anthony Page, will open in October. When an aristocrat supports a reforming government, his brother in law tries to sabotage his plans, by planting doubts in his and his lover's minds, leading to a tragic conclusion.

The James Menzies-Kitchin Memorial Trust is inviting applications for the 2007 Young Theatre Director's Award. The Trust was formed in 1996 with the aim of assisting young untried directors. A Bursary of 12,000 is awarded, together with help and support, and a space at the Battersea Arts Centre for three weeks next July/August to enable the recipient to direct a text, chosen from a selection of 25 classic plays, from Aeschylus to Tennessee Williams, made by Sam Mendes. A runner up award of 2,000 is also made. Applicants must be British theatre professionals under the age of 30 who have undergone professional performing arts training, but have directed no more than two professional productions. The deadline for applications is 9th January. Further information can be found on the JMK Trust web site via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Antony Sher will star as Kean in Jean-Paul Sartre's play, based on Alexandre Dumas pere's original, translated by Frank Hauser, directed by Adrian Noble, which opens a prospective pre West End tour at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford on 29th March. It tells the onstage/backstage story of the notorious 19th century Shakespearian actor, who combined legendary performances in all the classical roles at Drury Lane, with a very colourful private life. The producer Thelma Holt.

Jessica Lange will star in Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie, directed by Rupert Goold, opening at the Apollo Theatre on 13th February. Set in 1930s St Louis, it is the story of an overbearing mother and her son, who is torn between an obligation to his family and his desire to break away. The producer is Bill Kenwright. This show replaces the Sherman Brothers's musical Over Here, which had been previously announced for a limited run at the Apollo.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Dept A reminder that this is the peak season for the purchase of Theatre Tokens. Available in units of 5, 10, 20 and now, as a result of customer feedback, a mega 50, they can be exchanged for tickets at over 235 venues nationwide, including all West End theatres. As they have no expiry date, the recipient can choose which show they want to see, and when and where they want to see it. The Tokens are delivered in a new redesigned presentation pack, with a free theatre guide, and can be combined with chocolates, programme and drinks vouchers, accommodation or meal packages, or Christmas gift packs, with a desktop theatrical calendar, Superbreak voucher and card. Tokens are available from most theatres, major bookshops and ticket agencies, and the tkts Ticket Booths in Leicester Square and Canary Wharf. Alternatively they can be bought direct from the 24/7 Tokenline on 0870 164 8800 or online from the Theatre Tokens web site via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of TheatreNet. As they say, don't just give an object this Christmas - give an emotional experience.

Vanya On Cable Street, David Mamet's reworking of Anton Chekov's Uncle Vanya, with Rachel Stirling, Colin Stinton, Ronan Vibert, Catherine Cusack, Philip Voss, Lucinda Curtis, Michael Gunn and Marlene Sidaway, directed by Hugh Fraser, will play at Wilton's Music Hall in Wapping, from 26th January to 10th February.

The Sheffield Theatres production of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker, which explores the relationship between two brothers when a tramp enters their lives, with David Bradley, Nigel Harmon and Con O'Neil, directed by Jamie Lloyd, will play a short season at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, opening on 16th March.

The Rumour Machine says: that Jonathan Pryce is to star in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, about the cut-throat world of real estate salesmen, directed by James Macdonald, in the West End in October, produced by Jerry Frankel, Jeffrey Richards and Jam Theatricals, producers of last year's Broadway revival. The Rumour Machine grinds on.