News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 24th October 2008

The Old Vic Theatre has announced its next season of productions. Joe Sutton's Complicit, exploring the current American political climate through the eyes of a journalist called before a Supreme Court Special Prosecutor, directed by Kevin Spacey, will receive its world premiere on 22nd January; and Brian Friel's Dancing At Lughnasa, the story of 5 sisters in rural Ireland in the 1930s, with Niamh Cusack, Andrea Corr, Michelle Fairley and Susan Lynch, directed by Anna Mackmin, will open on 5th March, a co-production with Sonia Friedman Productions and Tulchin/Bartner. Both productions will retain the theatre's current in the round configuration.

These will be followed by the inaugural productions in The Bridge Project, the collaboration between the Old Vic and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale and Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, with Simon Russell Beale, Sinead Cusack, Ethan Hawke, Richard Easton, Josh Hamilton, Rebecca Hall, Michael Braun, Selina Cadell, Morven Christie, Josh Hamilton, Paul Jesson, Aaron Krohn, Dakin Matthews, Mark Nelson, Charlotte Parry, Jessica Pollert Smith, Gary Powell, Tobias Segal and Hannah Stokely, directed by Sam Mendes, will open on 9th June. Meanwhile, the 5th 24 Hour Plays Celebrity Gala will be staged on Sunday 30th November. A group of actors, playwrights and directors will come together on Saturday evening 29th November, and form teams to write and rehearse six short plays, to be performed 24 hours later.

Richard Greenberg's Three Days Of Rain, with James McAvoy and Nigel Harman, directed by Jamie Lloyd, will open at the Apollo Theatre on 10th February. The cast of 3 have dual roles, as both the children of architectural partners engaged in solving a mystery, and moving back in time, the partners themselves, to reveal the solution. The producers are Neal Street Productions and CMP.

New York TheatreNet: The names of this year's thespians to be inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame have been announced. They are actors Nathan Lane and Richard Easton, playwright Alan Ayckbourn, producer Emanuel Azenberg, choreographer Patricia Birch, composer Marvin Hamlisch and orchestrator Jonathan Tunick, with actor Roscoe Lee Browne inducted posthumously. The 38th annual ceremony will be held at the Gershwin Theatre on 26th January. The Hall of Fame was created to honour performers and creatives who have made a lasting impression in American theatre. To be eligible for induction, a candidate must have a career that spans 25 years, with at least 5 major stage credits. They are chosen by 350 voting members of the Theater Hall of Fame and the American Theater Critics Association. Membership is marked by a plaque in the North Rotunda in the lobby of the Gershwin Theatre.

Winyard Browne's The Holly And The Ivy, set in a Norfolk vicarage on Christmas Eve 1947, where family secrets are revealed over the festive season, with Philip Madoc, Tom Butcher, Zoie Kennedy and Corinne Wicks, directed by Michael Lunney, will open a national tour at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford on 18th November. It is a Middle Ground Theatre Company production.

Among the commissions for the 2009 Manchester International Festival, running from 2nd to 19th July, will be Prima Donna, the first opera written by Rufus Wainwright, about a faded opera singer in Paris determined to make a comeback, with Janis Kelly, Jonathan Summers, Rebecca Bottone and William Joyner, directed by Daniel Kramer, an Opera North production at the Palace Theatre; Everybody Loves A Winner, written and directed by Neil Bartlett, an exploration of the most British of gambling pastimes, for which the Royal Exchange Theatre will become a bingo hall; and an intimate concert space created in Manchester Art Gallery by Zaha Hadid Architects, in which J S Bach's solo instrumental works will be performed by, amongst others, pianist Piotr Anderszewski, cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras and violinist Alina Ibragimova.

Further productions have been announced in the Barbican Theatre's BITE: 09 season, which will now embrace the Guildhall School of Music and Drama's Silk Street Theatre, as well as the Barbican and Pit theatres. These include Cameri Theatre with Plonter, examining the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; Colin Dunne presenting his solo dance show Out Of Time; Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes performing Billy Twinkle, Requiem For A Golden Boy; Shochiku Grand Kabuki with a kabuki version of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, directed by Yukio Ninagawa; Improbable Theatre's Panic, inspired by the ancient Greek god Pan; Cheek by Jowl performing Jean Racine's Andromaque in French; the Theatre Royal Stratford East production of Boy Blue Entertainment's Pied Piper, a hip-hop street dance interpretation of the poem; Bale de Rua performing a dance show charting Brazil's history from its African heritage to the present; and the Bellboys (Les Grooms) with La Baronnade, a community procession of brass band, opera singers and ballet dancers in public spaces around the Barbican.

Broadway Babylon: Glamour, Glitz And Gossip On The Great White Way by Boze Hadleigh, published by Backstage Books, is exactly what it says on the cover. Hadleigh combines pieces on legendary figures from Broadway's past, such as Ethel Merman, Tennessee Williams, Lucille Ball, Bette Davis, Jerome Robbins and David Merrick, and interviews with (or possibly intensive googling of) names of today, such as Angela Lansbury and Tommy Tune. Together, they produce a cornucopia of Broadway legend, fable, anecdote and gossip, and while some you may know, much you will not.

The Eastern Angles/High Tide production of Joel Horwood's I Caught Crabs In Walberswick, with Andrew Barron, Aaron Foy, Harry Hepple, Gemma Soul and Rosie Thomson, directed by Lucy Kerbel, will open at the Bush Theatre on Shephards Bush Green on 13th November. The play explores modern teenage life in rural England, as three very different kids meet up on the eve of their final GCSE exam.

The next production at the Theatre Royal Stratford East will be a new version of the Grimm fairy tale Hansel And Gretel, by Hope Massiah, with Marcus Powell, Darren Hart, Nathan Amzi, Nathalie Best, Marcus Cunningham, Peter Howe, Susan Lawson-Reynolds, Josephine Lloyd Welcome, Gemma Salter and Tony Timberlake, directed by Dawn Reid, with choreography by Omar K Okai, opening on 9th December.