News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th February 2010

It's Official! As previously forecast here, David Herson's La Bete, a Moliere style comedy pitting the head of the royal court sponsored theatre troupe against a foppish, frivolous street entertainer in 17th century France, with Joanna Lumley, Mark Rylance and David Hyde Pierce, directed by Matthew Warchus, will open at the Comedy Theatre in London on July 7th, followed by a Broadway transfer in September. The producers are Sonia Friedman Productions and Scott Landis, Roger Berlind, Robert Bartner and Roy Furman.

Chichester Festival Theatre has confirmed its season running from 15th April to 16th October. In the Festival Theatre: Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn's stage adaptation of their television sitcom Yes, Prime Minister, with David Haig and Henry Goodman; the musical 42nd Street, book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin, the legendary backstage musical in which a chorus girl is instructed to "go out there a youngster and come back a star", directed by Paul Kerryson; George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, now more famous as 'My Fair Lady without the songs', the story of the transformation of a flower seller into a lady by an eccentric phonetics professor, with Rupert Everett and Stephanie Cole, directed by Philip Prowse; last season's production of Lucy Prebble's Enron, based on the scandal surrounding the fraudulent activities of the U.S. energy company, directed by Rupert Good, opening a national tour; and Brian Friel's adaptation of Turgenev's novel A Month In The Country, charting a summer month on a country estate as a woman struggles to recover after being consumed by love for her son's tutor, directed by Jonathan Kent.

In the Minerva Theatre: Edward Bond's Bingo, which depicts Shakespeare in the last days of his life, facing poverty and lacking creative energy, with Patrick Stewart, Catherine Cusack, Ellie Haddington, Kieron Jecchinis, Richard McCabe, John McEnery, Alex Price, Michelle Tate and Jason Watkins, directed by Angus Jackson; the premiere of the musical Love Story, book and lyrics by Stephen Clark, music and lyrics by Howard Goodall, adapted from Erich Segal's novel, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh; a double bill of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Critic, which parodies the acting styles and theatrical conventions of the 18th century, and Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound, in which two critics become involved in the whodunit they have come to review, directed by Jonathan Church; Howard Brenton's new adaptation of Robert Tressells political novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, directed by Christopher Morahan; and Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder, in a new version by David Edgar, with Michael Pennington, directed by Philip Franks.

The Donmar Warehouse has confirmed its new season. Simon Gray's The Late Middle Classes, a melancholy comedy revealing the frustration, secrets and guilt of middle class respectability in 1950s England, with Helen McCrory, directed by David Leveaux, will open on 1st June; Heinrich von Kleist's The Prince Of Homburg, in a new version by Dennis Kelly, which explores honour, courage, ambition and love in the consequences of the glory hunting Prince's reckless disobedience during a crucial military operation, with Ian McDiarmid and Charlie Cox, directed by Jonathan Munby, will open on 27th July; the musical Passion, book by James Lapine, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, adapted from a Victorian novella set in an Italian military town, where a woman's obsessive love threatens a soldier and his married mistress, with Elena Roger, directed by Jamie Lloyd, with choreography by Scott Ambler, will open on 21st September; and Shakespeare's King Lear, with Derek Jacobi, directed by Michael Grandage, will open on 7th December.

The Donmar Warehouse has also announced Donmar Trafalgar, a 3 year scheme to showcase the graduates of its Resident Assistant Director programme, in 12 week seasons at the Trafalgar Studios 2. The first season will comprise Beau Willimon's Lower Ninth, concerning the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, directed by Charlotte Westenra, opening on 4th October; Alessandro Baricco's Novecento, about a legendary jazz musician, directed by Roisin McBrinn, opening on 1st November; and Jean Cocteau's Les Parents Terribles, translated by Jeremy Sams, relating a bohemian Parisian household in the 1930s, directed by Chris Rolls, opening on 29th November.

The Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark has announced a further production. Aspects Of Love, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart, based on David Garnett's novel, set in 1940s France and Italy, which explores interconnected love affairs that cross generations and family lines, directed by Trevor Nunn, who staged the West End premiere in 1989, opening on 15th July. Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that that the current production of the musical Sweet Charity, book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Dorothy Fields, with Tamzin Outhwaite and Mark Umbers, directed by Matthew White, with choreography by Stephen Mears, will transfer to the Haymarket Theatre, opening on 4th May. Adapted from the Federico Fellini film Nights Of Cabiria, the show tells of the trials and tribulations of an over optimistic New York dance hall hostess, who is a poor judge of men. The producers are Chocolate Factory Productions, David Ian Productions, the Theatre Royal Haymarket Productions and David Mirvish.

New York TheatreNet: The National Theatre's production of Michael Morpurgo's War Horse, adapted by Nick Stafford, directed by Tom Morris and Marianne Elliott, in collaboration with South African puppet company Handspring, will transfer to New York, opening at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center on 14th April next year. It tells the story of a boy who goes to the battlefield in the First World War to rescue his horse. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway, can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Future productions at the Theatre Royal Stratford East will include the musical Britain's Got Bhangra, book by Pravesh Kumar, music by Sumeet Chopra, lyrics Dougal Irvine, charting the rise of British Bhangra from the 1980s to the present day, directed by Pravesh Kumar, opening on 23rd April, a co-production with Rifco Arts and the Warwick Arts Centre; and the opera I Was Looking At The Ceiling And Then I Saw The Sky, music by John Adams, libretto by June Jordan, focussing on the lives of a group of twenty-somethings after a catastrophic earthquake occurs, when they are forced to confront unavoidable truths and their lives become irrevocably changed, directed by Kerry Michael, opening on 4th July, a co-production with the Barbican.

August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come And Gone, the story of a man newly released from prison in 1911, who arrives at a Pittsburgh boarding house filled with disperate characters who aid him in his search for inner freedom, directed by David Lan, will play at the Young Vic from 27th May.