News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th February 2011

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Simon Gray's Butley, about a professor trying to cope with the strains of divorce and academia, with Dominic West, Penny Downie and Paul McGann, directed by Lindsay Posner, will open at the Duchess Theatre on 6th June.

Glyndebourne Opera's 2011 season, running from 21st May to 28th August, will comprise: new productions of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, with Gerald Finley, Marco Jentzsch, Anna Gabler and Johannes Martin Kranzle, directed by David McVicar; and Handel's Rinaldo, with Sonia Prina, Sandrine Piau, Brenda Rae and Luca Pisaroni, directed by Robert Carsen; plus revivals of Jonathan Kent's production of Mozart's Don Giovanni; Annabel Arden's production of Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore; Melly Still's production of Dvorak's Rusalka; and Jonathan Kent's production of Britten's The Turn Of The Screw. There are study events at Glyndebourne giving historical background and musical analysis of the new productions, and pre performance talks on each of the productions.

Forthcoming productions at the Soho Theatre will include Clean Break theatre company's Re-charged, a triple bill of plays exposing hidden stories of women in the criminal justice system, comprising Sam Holcroft's Dancing Bears, directed by Lucy Morrison, Rebecca Lenkiewicz's That Almost Unnameable Lust, directed by Tessa Walker, and Chloe Moss's Fatal Light, directed by Caroline Steinbeis, from 23rd March; and Dan Rebellato's Chekov In Hell, which imagines the Russian playwright's reaction to 21st century Britain, directed by Simon Stokes, from 20th April, a Drum Theatre Plymouth production.

New York TheatreNet: The desk and chair from which legendary caricaturist Al Hirschfeld sketched the best of Broadway for 80 years, has been permanently installed in the lobby of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The chair, which he called the "last functional chair", because it could go up, down, swivel and recline, started life in the barber shop of the Chrysler Building, and was given to him as a 90th birthday present by friends in 1993 to replace an older one. The desk and chair will be joined by a rotating installation of Hirschfeld images. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The Union Theatre production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe, a topsy-turvy love story involving fairies and members of the House of Lords, with Lewis Barnshaw, Anthony Delaney, Christopher Finn, Kingsley Hall, Tom Idelson, Matthew James Willis, Reuben Kaye, Adam Lewis Ford, Shane Lindley, Kris Manuel, Shaun McCourt, Matthew McLoughlin, Gianni Onori, Robin Rayner, Alan Richardson, Raymond Tait and Rob Wilshaw, directed by Sasha Regan, with choreography by Mark Smith, will be remounted at Wilton's Music Hall in Wapping, opening on 1st April.

Owing to the renovation of its usual home in Leicester Square, this year's West End Live, the free event showcasing West End entertainment will move to Trafalgar Square on 18th and 19th June. Cast members from West End musicals will be among those performing on the central stage, plus a host of other entertainers, exhibits and activities taking place in marquees around the square. Last year the event attracted nearly a quarter of a million visitors. Further information can be found on the WEL web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Forthcoming productions at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston will include Anna Karenina, adapted by Helen Edmundson from the novel by Leo Tolstoy with Adam Alexander, Zoe Claire, Maryanne O'Brian, Tristan Pate, Andy Rush, Elizabeth Twells and Sophie Waller, directed by Max Webster, opening on 26th March; Anton Chekov's Uncle Vanya, in a new version by Helena Kaut-Howson and Jon Strickland, directed by Helena Kaut-Howson, opening on 27th April, a co-production with Belgrade Theatre and KP Productions; and Anton Chekov's Seagull, in a new translation by John Kerr, Joseph Blatchley and Charlotte Pyke, with Geraldine James, directed by Joseph Blatchley, from 9th June, a co-production with Runaway Theatre.

Neil Fleming's The Consultant, satirising the hierarchies of the workplace, the language of business and the nature of consultancy, with Pip Donaghy, Sian Webber and Helen Millar, directed by Geoff Church, will open at the Theatre503 in Battersea on 25th March. The producer is Hydrocracker.

Forthcoming productions at the Theatre Royal Stratford East will include the Chicago Shakespeare Theater production of Funk It Up About Nothin', a hip hop adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, created and directed by The Q Brothers, with Jillian Burfete, Jackson Doran, Postell Pringle, GQ, JQ, Ericka Ratcliff and Adrienne Sanchez, from 8th April; and the premiere of the musical Takeaway, book and lyrics by Robert Lee, music by Leon Ko, the story of a young British Chinese man who works in his father's takeaway but daydreams of another life, directed by Kerry Michael, from 10th June.

Ovation, the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme, offers a 1 year programme for anyone over the age of 21 who wishes to make a career as a theatre director. Up to 3 candidates are awarded bursaries of 15,000, and attachments at theatres, starting in July, where they will gain experience in all aspects of the theatre's operations, and undertake a programme of training to include assisting on productions. Previous theatres participating in the scheme include the Royal Court, the Young Vic, Bristol Old Vic, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Birmingham Rep, Royal Exchange Manchester, Sheffield Theatres and West Yorkshire Playhouse, while Tim Albery, Michael Boyd, Vicky Featherstone, Rupert Goold, Nicholas Kent, Ken Loach, Adrian Noble, Trevor Nunn and Tim Supple are among those directors who have benefited from it. The scheme is administered by the Young Vic. The closing date for the receipt of applications is 22nd March. Further information and an application form can be found on the Ovation web site via the link from Information in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Royal Mail has issued a set of commemorative stamps paying tribute to London musicals that have conquered the world over the last 7 decades. The shows featured are We Will Rock You, Blood Brothers, Billy Elliott The Musical, Me And My Girl, Oliver!, Monty Python's Spamalot, The Rocky Horror Show and Return To The Forbidden Planet.