News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th May 2008

Once again there is a strong showing of British talent in the nominations for this year's New York Tony Awards. They are led by 9 nominations for Sunday In The Park With George, including Best Musical Revival, Jenna Russell - Best Actress Musical (Leading), Daniel Evans - Best Actor Musical (Leading) and Sam Buntrock - Best Director (Musical); 6 each for Boeing-Boeing, including Best Play Revival, Mark Rylance - Best Actor Play (Leading) and Matthew Warchus - Best Director (Play); Macbeth, including Best Play Revival, Kate Fleetwood - Best Actress Play (Leading), Patrick Stewart - Best Actor Play (Leading); and The 39 Steps, including Best Play and Maria Aitken - Best Director (Play); and 4 for Rock 'N' Roll, including Best Play, Rufus Sewell - Best Actor Play (Leading) and Sinead Cusack - Best Actress Play (Featured); and The Seafarer, including Best Play and Conor McPherson - Best Director (Play). Brits took 3 of the 4 nominations for Best Play and Best Director (Play) - although the other (American) nominee, August Osage County, is likely to make a clean sweep, with 7 nominations, while the record breaker was the musical In The Heights with 13 nominations. The winners will be announced at the 62nd Tony Awards ceremony at Radio City Music Hall on 15th June. The full list of nominees, and further information about the live webcast of the event, can be found on the Tony Awards web site, via the link from Organisations section of New York TheatreNet

The next production at the Old Vic will be Alan Ayckbourn's trilogy The Norman Conquests, with Amelia Bullmore, Jessica Hynes, Stephen Mangan and Paul Ritter, directed by Matthew Warchus, from 11th September. The plays, Table Manners, Living Together and Round And Round The Garden follow a group of characters over a weekend, one showing the events taking place in the dining room, one in the living room and one in the garden. They can be seen singly and in no particular order, and will be performed as a trilogy on some Saturdays. The auditorium will be reconfigured so that they can be staged in the round, as presented in the original production.

The summer production at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury will be the musical Sunset Boulevard, adapted from the 1950 film about a faded silent film star, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, in a small scale staging with actor/musicians, directed by Craig Revel Horwood, from 9th July.

The Edinburgh Fringe hit Eurobeat: Almost Eurovision, by Craig Christie and Andrew Patterson, a spoof Eurovision Song Contest, in which the audience votes for the winner, directed by Glynn Nicholas, with choreography by Andre Hallsworth and Natalie Marsland, which is currently touring, will transfer to the Novello Theatre, from 4th September. West End casting for the show, which features a rota of celebrity guests, has yet to be confirmed.

The 32nd Spitalfields Festival, centred on Christ Church Spitalfields, runs from 2nd to 20th June, with over 40 events in 10 venues, both indoors and out, including Wilton's Music Hall, Shoreditch Church and Museum in Docklands. The programme features a wide range of music, from medieval to world premieres. Performers include soloists such as Rolf Hind, Melinda Maxwell and Mieko Kanno, and the choirs of Gonville and Caius and King's College Cambridge; and instrumental groups from Gabrielli Players and CHROMA to Silk String Quartet. In addition to the concerts, there are free lunchtime and early evening rush hour events featuring young performers and composers, plus classical karaoke, bell ringing, fringe events, walks, talks, visits and exhibitions about the Spitalfields area and Nicholas Hawkesmoor's Christ Church, one of the great baroque churches of Europe. Further information can be found on the Spitalfields Festival web site, via the link from Festivals, in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Theatre Delicatessen, the company committed to performing in new and unusual spaces, will stage a site specific production of David Hare's Fanshen, about a community in the early period of the communist revolution in China, directed by Roland Smith, in a disused and gutted space below 295 Regent Street, from 8th July to 3rd August. The company will comprise Andy Bainbridge, Olivia Brown, Nathan Brown, Josh Cass, Dan Crow, Anneka Haskins, Isaac Jones, Pedro Reichert, James Russell and Bethany Webb.

This year's season at Grange Park Opera, one of the 'alternative Glyndebournes', runs from 4th June to 9th July, with further performances at Neville Holt from 12th to 20th July. It comprises new productions of Puccini's La Fanciulla del West, with Cynthia Makris, Olafur Sigurdarson, John Hudson, Richard Coxon, Quentin Hayes, Dong Jun Wang and Timothy Dawkins, directed by Stephen Medcalf; Dvorak's Rusalka, with Anne Sophie Duprels, Clive Bayley, Jeffrey Lloyd Roberts, Anne Marie Owens, Janis Kelly, James McOran Campbell and Arlene Rolph, directed by Antony McDonald; Offenbach's Blue Beard, with Philip Langridge, Robert Poulton, George Mosley, Elena Ferrari, Janis Kelly, Yvette Bonner, Robert Burt and Eamonn Mulhall, directed by Stephen Langridge; plus a revival of Daniel Slater's production of Verdi's Falstaff. In order to accommodate a dinner interval, entry is from 3.30pm, with performances beginning at 5.20pm. Further information can be found on the GPO web site, via the link from Dance & Opera in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Jay Johnson may bring his Tony Award winning Broadway show Jay Johnson: The Two And Only, in which he analyses a lifelong obsession with ventriloquism (with the help of a number of 'characters') to London this summer; and that the Royal Shakespeare Company's Stratford production of Hamlet, with David Tennant and Patrick Stewart, will transfer to the West End for a limited run from November. The Rumour Machine grinds on.