News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 20th April 2001

Calista Flockhart's West End debut in The Philadelphia Story has been postponed indefinitely following a failure to agree on casting by the deadline for rehearsals which were scheduled to have started this week.

Details have been announced of this year's Chichester Festival Theatre season, which opens on 29th May with Tom Stoppard's farce On The Razzle, featuring David Bamber, Desmond Barrit and Jenny Quale, with Cirque du Soleil's twin-brother acrobats Andrew and Kevin Atherton, directed by Peter Wood. Terrence Rattigan's The Winslow Boy joins on 12th June, starring Polly Adams, Edward Hardwick and Rupert Wickham, directed by Christopher Morahan. The British premiere of the Broadway musical My One And Only will be on 24th July staring Janie Dee, directed by Loveday Ingram. Based on the 1927 show Funny Face, bookwriters Peter Stone and Timothy S Mayer have woven songs by George and Ira Gershwin into the story of a daredevil aviator whose plans to become the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic are thrown into disarray when he falls for a beautiful cross Channel swimmer. The season is completed by Chekhov's Three Sisters in a new version by Brian Friel opening on 28th August with Janie Dee, Hermione Gulliford, Christopher Staines and Sophie Ward, also directed by Loveday Ingram.

In the Minerva Theatre Song Of Singapore, with Issy Van Randwyck directed by Roger Redfarn, returns on 29th May starting a short tour prior to its previously mentioned West End appearance at the Mayfair Theatre. This will be presented by Joe Scott Parkinson and Richard Seddon. Catherine Johnson's Shang-a-Lang directed by Andy Brereton follows on 13th June; David Storey's In Celebration directed Sean Holmes plays from 11th July; David Hare's The Secret Rapture directed by Indhu Rubasingham opens on 8th August; and the Stephen Sondheim revue Putting It Together directed by Edward Hall completes the season on 8th September. This is a co-production with Cameron Mackintosh.

Sheridan Morley is to direct a double bill of Noel Coward plays, taken from his Tonight At 8.30 programme, running at the Jermyn Street Theatre from 9th May to 9th June. Red Peppers and Shadows Of The Evening will star Jeremy Clyde, Jane How and Annabel Leventon.

The Theatre Investment Fund, in association with the Society Of London Theatre and the Arts Council of England, is inviting further applications for a New Producer's Bursary. The bursaries are intended to support individuals in progressing their careers as theatre producers. Successful applicants will be able to use the bursary to develop and/or present a new production. In addition to a broad package of financial assistance of up to 15,000 per applicant, the scheme also provides the benefit of an established industry figure as a mentor for the project. For further information and an application form, send an A4 SAE to: New Producer's Bursary, Theatre Investment Fund, Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1V 8AY. The closing date for this round of applications is 21st May.

A stage version of Ben Elton's Inconceivable receives its world premiere at the West Yorkshire Playhouse Leeds on 25th May. Adapted and directed by Laurence Boswell, it is a co-production with Theatre Royal Plymouth where it moves from 20th June.

This year's Cadogan Opera Holland Park season runs from 12th June to 4th August, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra beginning a residency. It comprises Bizet's Carmen directed by Jamie Hayes; Lehar's The Merry Widow; the first Holland Park production of Puccini's Manon Lescaut directed by Matthais Janser; Verdi's La Traviata; and Rossini's Il Barbiere di Sivglia directed by Tim Coleman. General booking opens on 7th May at Holland Park and on 020 7602 7856.

The mystery thriller Perfect Crime, New York's "Mousetrap", entered its 15th year on 18th April at the Duffy Theater, the Off Broadway theatre which is actually located on Broadway. Written by Warren Manzi and directed by Jeffrey Hyatt, it tells the story of a psychiatrist's wife accused of murdering her wealthy but unwell husband. It stars Catherine Russell, who has missed only 4 performances out of 3095, and is also general manager, taking tickets and looking after running the theatre - this is Off Broadway after all. The statistics for New York's longest running straight play are: 5788 performances so far, employing 639,018 bullets, 154 guns, 151 actors playing the 5 roles, and 9 changes of location. Six years ago it arrived at the former Paris Burlesque, a relic of Times Square's seedier past, which was renovated and relaunched as the Duffy Theatre.

The Soho Theatre's summer season includes: Kiss Me Like You Mean It by Chris Chibnall, directed by Abigail Morris from 16th May to 16th June, starring Catherine McCormack and Jason Hughes as two people who meet at a party; and School Play by Susy Almond about potential - and wasting it - directed by Jonathan Lloyd from 20th June to 21st July.

The Rumour Machine says: that Felicity Kendal and Frances de la Tour may return to the West End in the recently departed Fallen Angels in the autumn; that August Wilson's play Jitney, about a father and son set in a cab firm, will receive its British premiere at the National also in the autumn; and that Adam Kenwright is in discussions with Ricky Martin about playing the lead in a musical based on The Mask Of Zorro with Robbie Williams contributing the songs. The Rumour Machine grinds on.