News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th May 1997

The news of Chief Executive Genista McIntosh's sudden departure has swamped the Royal Opera House's announcement of its companies' perambulations around London during its closure. The Royal Opera, in addition to the already mentioned Autumn season at the Barbican Theatre and six month residency at the Shaftesbury Theatre, will present a large scale production of Otello at the Royal Albert Hall in November, and concert performances of rarely performed operas at the Royal Festival and Barbican Halls. There will be six new fully staged productions, with Deborah Warner, Lindsay Posner and Mark Morris making their Royal Opera directing debuts. The Royal Ballet will perform at the Apollo Hammersmith in October and November, at the Royal Festival Hall at Christmas, and at the Barbican and Coliseum next Summer. Despite rumours to the contrary Darcey Bussell, Sylvie Guillem, Irek Mukhamedov, and Viviana Durante will remain with the company.

Seventeen of the nominations just announced for Broadway's Tony Awards are British. These include Skylight and Stanley for Best Play; A Dolls House for Best Revival; Janet McTeer for Best Actress; Richard Eyre, Anthony Page and John Caird for Best Direction; and all of the Best Actor nominations - Michael Gambon, Anthony Sher, Brian Bedford, and Christopher Plummer.

Current Broadway musical hit Play On! is scheduled for the West End in October. The show relocates the story of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in 1940's Harlem and features the music of Duke Ellington. It is conceived and directed by Sheldon Epps with a book by Cheryl L West. American Producer Mitchell Maxwell is looking for a British co-producer.

Following his unsuccessful tussle with The Fix Sam Mendes returns to the calmer world of the classics, to direct Othello at the National, opening on 6th August. David Harewood plays the title role with Simon Russell Beale as Iago and Claire Skinner as Desdemona. Mendes was then to have directed the film of Jim Cartwright's The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, but has withdrawn from the project. He doesn't want to direct former girlfriend Jane Horrocks, especially in the piece which brought them together.

Riverdance stomps back to the Apollo Hammersmith for what is claimed to be a final season from 6th November to 10th January. Following that, like refugees from a broken marriage avoiding each other at a party, the ego lands at Wembley Arena as Lord Of The Dance plays 15th to 19th January.

The Rumour Machine says: that although Disney's Beauty And The Beast seems to have met with a similar professional drubbing here to that which it received in New York, as Miss Saigon - the ultimate triumph of size over content - is still running after seven years, the Great British Public will probably flock in anyway.The Rumour Machine grinds on.