News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th February 2011

The next production at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark will be Jack Rosenthal's Smash!, a comedy telling the backstage story of the production of a new musical, based on Rosenthal's experience of turning his television play Bar Mitzvah Boy into a West End musical, with Tom Conti, Kerry Shale and Natalie Walter, directed by Tamara Harvey, opening on 31st March.

Chichester Festival Theatre has confirmed its season running from 16th May to 5th November. In the Festival Theatre: Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, which retells the story of Hamlet through the eyes of two of its minor characters, directed by Trevor Nunn; the musical Singin' In The Rain, adapted from the 1952 film, book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed, set in Hollywood in the early days of the talkies, with Adam Cooper, Daniel Crossley and Scarlett Strallen, directed by Jonathan Church, with choreography by Andrew Wright; Terence Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea, the story of a woman who has abandoned her husband and life of affluence, for a thoughtless and penniless ex-RAF fighter pilot, who cannot match her blind passion, directed by Philip Franks; the premiere of Nicholas Wright's Rattigan's Nijinksy, inspired by events surrounding an unproduced television script by Rattigan about the Ballet Russes impresario Diaghilev and dancer Nijinsky; and the musical Sweeney Todd, book by Hugh Wheeler, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the Victorian melodrama about the demon barber of Fleet Street, who cut the throats of his customers, whose corpses were then baked into pies in the shop beneath, with Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, directed by Jonathan Kent, with choreography by Denni Sayers.

In the Minerva Theatre: the musical She Loves Me, book by Joe Masteroff, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, about two lovelorn assistants in a 1930s parfumerie who squabble by day and, unwittingly, correspond with each other in anonymous love letters by night, with Joe McFadden and Dianne Pilkington, directed and choreographed by Stephen Mear; Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, examining the compromises women make in the quest for success, and what happens to those left behind, directed by Max Stafford-Clark, a co-production with Out of Joint theatre company; Mike Poulton's The Syndicate, a new version of Eduardo De Filippo's dark comedy about the Mafia in 1960s Naples, with Ian McKellen and Michael Pennington, directed by Sean Mathias; and a double bill comprising Terence Rattigan's The Browning Version, about a cowed schoolmaster who finds the courage to make a stand against his bullying headmaster and his unfaithful wife, directed by Angus Jackson, and a new play by David Hare written in response to it, South Downs, directed by Jeremy Herrin.

New York TheatreNet: Ghostlight/Sh-K-Boom Records has celebrated its 10th anniversary by launching Ghostlight Radio, a dedicated channel featuring selections from the label's entire catalogue of musical theatre. Visitors can to listen to, pause and skip tracks, learn more about various artists, and click on an album cover to buy or download the music. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway, plus the Ghostlight/Sh-K-Boom web site, can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Forthcoming productions at Trafalgar Studios 2 will include the Edinburgh Fringe productions of Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig's Lidless, set in Guantanamo Bay prison, with Nathalie Armin, Christian Bradley, Antony Bunsee, Greer Dale-Foulkes and Penny Layden, directed by Steven Atkinson, opening on 15th March, produced by HighTide; and Ella Hickson's Precious Little Talent, about an unemployed graduate who flees to New York, where she learns what it is to have hope in the future, directed by James Dacre, opening on 8th April, produced by James Quaife for Tantrums.

The Cock Tavern in Kilburn will stage two previously unperformed plays by Tennessee Williams, I Never Get Dressed Till After Dark On Sundays, a play-within-a-play that is plagued by the disinterest of its money-driven director and complacent actors, despite the efforts of the alcoholic playwright to reveal its essential tragedy, directed by Hamish MacDougall, opening on 4th March; and A Cavalier For Milady, about a young, troubled woman who spends her life wearing children's clothes, emotionally deprived, heavily medicated and sequestered from society, directed by Gene David Kirk, opening on 1st April.

The Society of London Theatre and Mousetrap Theatre Projects are offering teachers the chance to find out about the educational opportunities that London theatre provides at EducationLive, an informal event at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, opposite the Shaftesbury Theatre, on 5th April. Teachers will gain information on theatre productions on offer over the coming year, as well as the educational programmes, workshops, teachers' resource materials, special events and school group rates available to support schools' theatre trips. Attendees will meet theatre industry professionals and take part in two half hour theatrical taster sessions, in addition to which they will receive a free ticket to a London show that night. Further information and booking can be found on the Learn About London Theatre web site, via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The spring season at Dundee Repertory Theatre will include Jim Cartwright's The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, about a mousey girl who lives through impersonating singers such as Judy Garland and Shirley Bassey, directed by Jemima Levick, opening on 2nd March; Neil Duffield's The Firebird, a family adventure, opening on 3rd April; Jo Clifford's adaptation of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, in which a young woman is destroyed when she attempts to live outside the moral law of her society, directed by Jemima Levick, opening on 25th May; and Dennis Kelly's After The End, about a couple trapped in a building after an explosion, directed by James Brining, opening on 17th June.

Alan Ayckbourn's Haunting Julia, about a musical prodigy who committed suicide, but 12 years later, still haunts the minds of those closest to her, with Christopher Timothy, Richard O'Callaghan, Dominic Hecht, and Louise Kempton, directed by Andrew Hall, will open at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith on 27th May. The producers are Hall & Childs Ltd in association with the Garrick Theatre Lichfield.