News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th March 2004

This year's Glyndebourne season, running from 20th May to 29th August, will include two new productions: Mozart's Die Zauberflote directed by Adrian Noble, making his Glyndebourne debut, with Pavol Breslik, Lisa Milne, Peter Rose, Jonathan Lemalu and Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke; and a double bill of the first ever Glyndebourne stagings of Rachmaninov's The Miserly Knight, with Sergei Leiferkus, Richard Berkeley-Steele, Albert Schagidullin and Viateschlav Voinarovski, and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, with Alessandro Corbelli, Sally Matthews, Felicity Palmer, Massimo Giordano and Adrian Thompson, both directed by Annabel Arden. There will be four revivals: Graham Vick's production of Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande; Jean-Marie Villegier's production of Handel's Rodelinda; David McVicar's production of Bizet's Carmen; and Nikolaus Lehnhoff's production of Janacek's Jenufa. There is a programme of early evening talks about the entire repertory at The Inner Temple in London prior to the start of the season, study mornings at Glyndebourne giving historical background and musical analysis of the new productions, and pre performance talks on each of the productions. Further information can be found on the Glyndebourne web site via the link from the Regional Theatres section of TheatreNet.

The Gate Theatre's 25th anniversary season starts with Happy Yet?, four of Feydeau's farces reworked into one play by Ed Woodall and Linda McClean, from 29th March to 24th April; Gone Missing, a 'musical mockumentary' by The Civilians, a New York based company, which is a tribute to the objects lost in their city that their fellow citizens want to remember, from 3rd to 22nd May; and The Arab-Israeli Cookbook, a new work by Robin Soans, which explores the restorative role of food in a divided community, directed by Rima Brihi and Tim Roseman, from 7th June to 10th July.

Dodger Stages, a $20m new Off-Broadway theatre complex at World Plaza on West 50th Street in New York will open this autumn. Created from a relatively new underground film multiplex, the project contains five performance spaces, ranging in size from 199 to 499 seats. Broadway theatre producer and operator Dodger Stage Holding is funding the venture as a well resourced and comfortable centre within the theatre district where new works in all the performing arts can be launched. The complex will probably open with the musical The It Girl, set in the era of silent films and drawing on the 1927 Clara Bow film It, about a department store salesgirl, with book by Michael Small and B T McNicholl, music by Paul McKibbins, and lyrics by B T McNicholl who will also direct.

The second National Music Hall and Variety Festival, celebrating a century of British light entertainment, will be held from 27th April to 2nd May at the Playhouse Theatre and Winter Gardens in Weston-super-Mare, in association with the Grand Order of Water Rats and the British Music Hall Society. Among those taking part will be the Beverley Sisters, Wyn Calvin, Jim Casey and Eli Woods, Ken Dodd, Roy Hudd, Gordon and Bunny Jay, Joe Pasquale, Jimmy Perry, and Norman Wisdom. The day long programmes of events will cover everything from puppets to pantomime, and clowns to illusions, with performances, workshops, exhibitions, films and lectures. Further information can be found on the NMHVF web site via the link from the Festivals section of TheatreNet.

Nicholas Georgiadis: An Artist At The Ballet And The Opera is a new exhibition at Covent Garden that celebrates the work of the set and costume designer Nicholas Georgiadis. He considered himself primarily an artist, and the ideas explored in his paintings informed his designs. Georgiadis's theatre work began while he was a student at the Slade School of Art, when he designed Kenneth MacMillan's first commissioned ballet, Danses concertantes, for Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet in 1955. This was the beginning of a lifelong partnership which produced such works as Romeo And Juliet, Manon and Mayerling for The Royal Ballet. Among Georgiadis's designs for The Royal Opera were Aida and The Trojans. The exhibition includes paintings as well as designs, costumes, set models and production photographs.

On The Casting Couch: Helen Anker, Michael Praed, David Burt and Susannah Fellows will star in the Roger Cook-Les Reed-Kit Hesketh Harvey musical Beautiful And Damned, opening at the Lyric Theatre on 10th May; Claire Bloom and Kathryn Hunter will star in Sebastian Barry's Whistling Psyche, opening at the Almeida Theatre on 12th May; and the final casting for Tom Stoppard's new version of Pirandello's Henry IV, opening at the Donmar Warehouse on 4th May, is Ian McDiarmid, Francesca Annis, Robert Demeger, Orlando Wells, David Yelland, Brian Poyser, Nitzan Sharron, Neil McDermott, James Lance, Stuart Burt and Tania Emery; and for David Lindsay-Abaire's Fuddy Meers, opening at the Arts Theatre on 20th May, is Katie Finneran, Tim Hopper, Matthew Lillard, Nicholas Le Provost, Julia McKenzie, Charlotte Randal and John Gallagher Jr.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the musical based on the 1988 film, with book by Jeffrey Lane, and music and lyrics by David Yazbek, directed by Jack O'Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, will have its world premiere at the Old Globe in San Diego on 15th September. It tells the story of the battle between two con men preying on romance starved women on the French Riviera. Plans are for a transfer to Broadway in February 2005, produced by David Brown and Marty Bell.

The London Handel Festival, which opened this week, runs until 16th May. There are 24 events - many of which are free - including the opera Sosarme, Re Di Media, not staged in Britain since 1950, in a new translation by Simon Butteriss, directed by William Relton; and the musical drama Hercules. Events are mainly at St George's Church Hanover Square (best known as setting for the celebration of Alfred Doolittle's nuptials in My Fair Lady) plus the Britten Theatre at the Royal College of Music and the Duke's and Recital Halls at the Royal Academy of Music. Further information can be found on the LHF web site via the link from the Festivals section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that the National Theatre's presence on Broadway is to rival the West End, as both Michael Frayn's Democracy and Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman will reach the Great White Way in the autumn (no news on casting yet), plus possibly Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra - depending on Helen Mirren's availability; that Paul Elliott will bring another Stones In His Pockets style show to the West End with the AandBC company's The Tale That Wags The Dog, in which Sarah Sutcliffe and Danny Scheinmann play more than 50 characters while examining man's eternal quest for love; and that having restored the Whitehall Theatre to its full Art Deco splendour just a few years ago, the Ambassador Theatre Group is considering converting it into two studio spaces, and we know what such vandalism did to so many cinemas - time for The Theatre's Trust to put its foot down with a firm hand. The Rumour Machine grinds on.