News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 23rd May 1997

Yet another Broadway hit musical revue, Bring In 'Da Noise, Bring In 'Da Funk is looking at a West End transfer next spring. Originally produced by the Joseph Papp Public Theatre, it's a celebration of the history of the beat, through tap and the percussion of NYC's subway bucket drummers. The production won four Tonys last year, including Best Choreography by Savion Glover, and Best Direction by George C Wolfe. The book and lyrics are by Reg E Gaines, with music by Daryl Waters, Zane Mark and Ann Duquesnay. The design features projections by Batwin+Robin who made such an impact with Tommy. Meanwhile the British show Tapping Harlem continues to tour the UK, circling London nervously.

We are used to the sequel/prequel syndrome with which the brain dead but powerful of southern California grind creative ideas into the ground in their efforts to make a quick buck. The theatre has generally been above that kind of thing - until now. There has only been the ill fated Annie II, and the grey area of not being able to tell if a number comes from Les Miserables or Miss Saigon. But Andrew Lloyd Webber is believed to be working on Phantom II, in which Raoul and Christine transfer to the old Metropolitan Opera in New York, pursued by you know who. Oh and Christine is pregnant - wonder who the father is? Can this really be true, or is it some elaborate hoax? It sounds more like Dracula meets Rosemary's Baby than a significant milestone in musical theatre.

On The Casting Couch (South Of The River Leg): At Shakespeare's Globe, Henry V has an all male cast with Mark Rylance joined by Ben Walden, William Russell, John McKenery, Matthew Scurfield and Toby Cockerell as Princess Katherine of France; and The Winter's Tale features Mark Lewis Jones, Belinda Davison and Nicholas le Prevost. At The Old Vic, Vanburgh's The Provok'd Wife is Alison Steadman, with Victoria Hamilton and Michael Pennington.

Tonight's first performance of the season at the Open Air Theatre, is naturally A Midsummer Night's Dream. This year's children's show is a new adaptation of Richard Adams' Watership Down by Jacob Murray and Caroline Smith. It plays matinees from 5th to 23rd August. Be warned that Caroline Smith directs a cast of sixty children.

Despite receiving mixed notices for the current tryout at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, JFK - A Musical Dream may touchdown briefly in London in the Autumn en route for Broadway in 1998. Written by Tom Sawyer and Will Holt, it is directed by Larry Fuller, and has the usual army of unlikely named American producers.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Cameron Mackintosh office is a bit busy right now - they must decide by today if The Fix is to transfer from Donmar Warehouse to the Lyric Theatre (surely not given critical and audience response); meanwhile they plan further changes to Martin Guerre which will be as radical as the last ones. The three old women of the village are not being recast as the characters are to be written out. The Rumour Machine grinds on.