News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th June 1999

Blast!, a dance, brass, musical spectacular will receive its world premiere at the London Apollo at Christmas. This American production, with marching bands and dancers (as featured at football and baseball games) will play a season from 9th December to 26th February.

The Chichester Festival Theatre production of Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest is transferring to the Haymarket Theatre from 10th August. Patricia Routledge leads a cast which includes Saskia Wickham, Adam Godley, Jonathan Cecil and Sheila Reid. It is directed by Christopher Morahan and produced by Triumph Proscenium Productions.

Adventures in Motion Pictures, producers of West End and Broadway successes Swan Lake and Cinderella have a new slant on theatre investment. Instead of looking for conventional Angels to back a specific production, they are launching a Founders' Share Scheme, selling 1,000 shares in the company at 500 each. Investors will receive their original capital repaid in five or ten instalments, tax free. They will then receive a share of 0.5% royalty from the company's productions, which will be taxable, and as with any theatrical investment, dependent on the success of the shows. There are plans for a world tour of Swan Lake opening in London in the autumn, and a Broadway season of Cinderella at Christmas. You can request details on the AMP site, via the link from the UK Dance, Opera & Orchestras section of TheatreNet.

Porgy And Bess is coming to the Royal Albert Hall from 13th to 18th September. A landmark musical, being the first indigenous American folk opera, it has music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and book by DuBose and Dorothy Heywood, based on their novel. In South Carolina crippled Porgy loves Bess, and when a drug dealer lures her to New York, he goes to search for her. Raymond Gubbay presents an American production.

Inspirations: Judi Dench, when asked what there was left for her to win replied There's still Crufts.

Fosse, the three time Tony Award winner (including Best Musical) will open at the Prince Of Wales Theatre on 8th February. Following the success of Chicago, the show recreates Broadway choreographer Bob Fosse's best known routines from the original productions of The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Sweet Charity and Pippin. It has been playing in New York since January. Ann Reinking co-directs with Richard Maltby, and co-choreographs with Chet Walker. The London producer is Pola Jones.

The Theatregoers Club of Great Britain will celebrate its 21st birthday with an Awards Ceremony and Lunch at the Cafe Royal on 26th July. The already announced winners are: Judi Dench - Most Popular Actress, Tom Conti - Most Popular Actor, Ruthie Henshall - Most Popular Musical Actress, Michael Ball - Most Popular Musical Actor, and Stephanie Cole - Most Popular Comedy Performance.

Alternative Arts Open Air Opera is a season of events in Victoria Embankment Gardens over the next month. These include: 19th/20th June - The Marriage Of Figaro; 25th/26th June - An Evening Of Opera; 27th June - In A Holiday Mood; 1st July - Waltzes To Die For - Strauss And His Legacy; 7th July - Opera Excerpts; and 10th July Multicultural Songs. All events start at 6.00pm and are free. The stage is near Embankment underground station.

On The Casting Couch: The Broadway cast of Art, Judd Hirsch, Joe Morton and George Wendt will play in London for four weeks from 29th June. Wendt appeared in London last year in the first American cast exchange. Norman Pace will make his West End debut as "Mr Cellophane" in Chicago for three months from 9th August.

Bill Kenwright will bring Noel Coward's Song At Twilight to the West End in the autumn. This will be the production seen earlier this year at the King's Head Theatre, starring Vanessa Redgrave, Corin Redgrave and Kika Markham, and directed by Sheridan Morley.

The Rumour Machine says: that having notched up its 10th birthday on 20th September, Miss Saigon will celebrate the millennium, and then pass peacefully on to the great proscenium arch in the sky, around Valentine's day. Drury Lane will thus be free to house Cameron Mackintosh's first new show in four years - The Witches Of Eastwick. This is a musical adaptation by Dana P Rowe and John Dempsey of John Updike's novel, and the subsequent film. Eric Shaeffer will direct and Bob Avian choreograph. The Rumour Machine grinds on.