News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th September 2009

The 16th London Open House, the annual scheme to allow the public into architecturally interesting but usually private buildings across the capital, takes place on 19th and 20th September. Over 700 locations will include old favourites of theatrical interest such as the Almeida, Hampstead, Lyric Hammersmith, National, Richmond, Royal Court, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Wimbledon and Young Vic theatres, the Cadogan, Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival concert halls, BBC Bush House, Channel 4 building, LAMDA and RADA, Granada Tooting and Muswell Hill Odeon cinemas, and Sands Film Studio & Rotherhythe Picture Research Library. They will be joined this year by amongst others, Dominion, Hackney Empire, Hoxton Hall and Sadler's Wells theatres, King's Place and Wigmore concert halls, Alexandra Palace TV studios and theatre, Barbican Centre, the Roundhouse, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Granada Woolwich cinema. There will also be talks, conducted walks and other accompanying special events taking place at various locations over the course of the weekend. Entrance is free, but because of limited access, a few of the buildings require prebooking. Further information can be found on the London Open House web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the recent Royal Court Theatre production of Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem, a comic picture of contemporary rural England, featuring Mark Rylance and Mackenzie Crook, directed by Ian Rickson, will be remounted at the Apollo Theatre, opening on 10th February. It will be presented by Sonia Friedman Productions and Royal Court Theatre Productions.

The Finborough Theatre in Earl's Court, has announced a further production. Mikhail Bulgakov's Moliere, or The League Of Hypocrites, adapted for the stage by Michael Glenny, which equates Moliere's struggle to keep his integrity in the court of Louis XIV with life in the Soviet Union under the shadow of Stalin, directed by Blanche McIntyre, will open on 26th November. It is a co-production with JQ productions and the National Theatre Studio.

New York TheatreNet: It has now been confirmed that the current London production of the musical La Cage Aux Folles, book by Harvey Fierstein, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, with its original star Douglas Hodge, directed by Terry Johnson, with choreography by Lynne Page, which originated at the Menier Chocolate Factory, will open on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre on 18th April. It is an adaptation of the French play, centred on a gay couple starring in and producing a drag show in a Saint-Tropez nightclub. The producers are Sonia Friedman Productions, Menier Chocolate Factory, Fran and Barry Weissler and Robert Bartner/Norman Tulchin.

On The Casting Couch: Tamzin Outhwaite will be joined by Josefina Gabrielle, Tiffany Graves, Paul J. Medford, Ebony Molina, Mark Umbers in Sweet Charity, opening at Menier Chocolate Factory, on 2nd December.

The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, a partnership between the writer's estate and producer Bill Kenwright, with exclusive rights to create new touring productions of Christie's original stage plays, will mount the first major production of A Daughter's A Daughter (originally written under the pseudonym of Mary Westmacott) since its premiere in 1954, opening at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 3rd November. Set in the heady world immediately following the end of the Second World War, it involves a mother and daughter making unwise decisions in their attempts to 'live life to the full'. Prior to this, Agatha Christie's Murder On Air, three of Christie's radio plays, Personal Call, The Yellow Iris and Butter In A Lordly Dish, in the style of their original BBC broadcasts - performed on stage in an authentic studio setting with live sound effects, with Jenny Seagrove and Martin Shaw, will return to the Theatre Royal Windsor from 12th October.

Arts Council England is looking to recruit 150 arts practitioners, critics, managers and academics to carry out assessments on the work of its regularly funded organisations, which will be used to inform the body's funding decisions. These 'artistic assessors' will be appointed to report on a range of art forms including theatre, dance, music, literature, visual and combined arts, as well as specialisms such as work for children and young people, culturally specific and disability-led arts. During their two year contract, they will be expected to write between ten and 14 reports each year. The reports will be used to feed into ACE's ongoing evaluation of the organisations in its portfolio and will help provide evidence on which funding decisions will be based. Further information can be found on the ACE web site, via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Future shows at the Theatre Royal in Bath will include prospective West End productions of George Bernard Shaw's Mrs Warren's Profession, in which a prim young woman is shocked to find that her upbringing has been paid for by her mother's profits from prostitution, with Felicity Kendal and David Yelland, directed by Michael Rudman, opening on 20th October; and Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, the story of a passionate woman, who feels bored and trapped in her mundane life with a dull university professor, with Rosamund Pike, directed by Adrian Noble, opening in February.

New York TheatreNet: The Phantom Of The Opera, already the longest running show in Broadway history, passed another milestone on 17th September, when it became the first Broadway show to reach 9,000 performances. It is now in its 22nd year on the Great White Way, having begun performances at Majestic Theatre on 26th January 1988. With attendances of over 13m, the show has taken more than $740m at the box office, making it the highest grossing show in Broadway history. Worldwide, the show has played more than 65,000 performances, and has been seen by more than 100m people in 144 cities in 27 countries. There are currently 10 productions playing across the globe, with companies in London, New York, Budapest, Nagoya, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Seoul, Buenos Aires, Las Vegas and a U.S. National Tour.