News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th October 2002

Malcolm Sutherland's previously mentioned stage adaptation of Gore Vidal's 1992 novel Live From Golgotha, a media satire involving the Crucifixion, will receive its world premiere at the Drill Hall from 10th November to 1st December, playing on Saturdays and Sundays only. It features James Albrecht, David De Keyser, James Frost, William Hope, Sylvester McCoy, Maggie Ollerenshaw, Bruce Purchase and Nigel Whitmey, and is directed by Sutherland.

The names of this year's thespians to be inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in the 32nd annual ceremony at the Gershwin Theatre in New York on 27th January have been announced. They include actors Stockard Channing, Tammy Grimes, Frank Langella and Jean Stapleton; playwrights Larry Gelbart and David Mamet; producer Bernard Gersten; and scenic designer John Lee Beatty. To be eligible for induction, a theatre professional must have a career that spans twenty five years, with at least five major stage credits. Membership is marked by a plaque located in the lobby of the theatre at the top of the main staircase.

The fourth London Tango Festival will be held at the Porchester Hall from 14th to 17th November. There will be daytime masterclasses and workshops at all levels, from Absolute Beginners to Semi-professional, between 10.00am and 5.00pm. In the evenings, a live tango orchestra will accompany demonstrations by some of the world's greatest tango dancers from 8.00pm to 10.00pm, followed by dancing for all until 1am. For the first time there will be trade stands with suppliers and organisers involved in tango in Britain. The festival is presented by Academia Nacional del Tango UK in association with Las Estrellas School of Tango. Full details, and videos of performers at previous festivals, are available from the London Tango Festival web site via the link from the TheatreNet Festivals section.

It's snowballs at 300 miles again this Christmas. While Raymond Brigg's The Snowman will be back at the Peacock Theatre in London, he will also be making an altogether posher appearance with Scottish Ballet in Glasgow. The Birmingham Rep production, with a score by Howard Blake, choreographed by Robert North, and directed by Bill Alexander, will be playing its fifth West End season from 11th December. Meanwhile, Scottish Ballet is presenting a second outing for the full length ballet at the Theatre Royal Glasgow from 12th December, which then tours to Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and (surprisingly) Hull. Robert North's original one act ballet version of the story was created for Gothenburg Ballet in Sweden in 1993. He then went on to work on the Birmingham Rep show in 1997. Last year North created an extended two act version of the Gothenburg ballet. All versions use the Howard Blake score from the animated film.

Woody Allen is to direct Writer's Block, a double bill of his own one act plays Riverside Drive and New Milford at the Off Broadway Atlantic Theatre Company opening on 15th May. It's a return to his roots for Allen, as he had an early success on Broadway with Play It Again Sam which he later filmed.

Last Word On: Star Casting - "These celebrities can't do it. They get ill or lose their voices after 20 minutes and you're left with the understudy. At least it is a proper understudy." - Alan Ayckbourn (who has fallen out with his long time West End producer Michael Codron over the change in scheduling of his Damsels In Distress trilogy, which has resulted in two of the plays being seen only once a week).

Scene-Unseen: A Celebration Of London's West End is an exhibition of photographs of theatres taken by Derek Kendall, on behalf of English Heritage. About 50 poster sized images, selected from over 2000 created over the last eighteen months, can be seen along the outside walls of the Albery and Wyndham's Theatres, in St Martin's Court (which runs between Charing Cross Road and St Martin's Lane) until 16th November. They feature not only close ups of splendid architectural detailing of exteriors and auditoria, but backstage views, activities and people. Some of these images are also featured in the London Theatre Guide, along with histories and seating plans of the theatres, how to book, where to sit, and a host of inside information about people, places and events of interest to theatergoers, from Metro Publications, for which a special offer can be found in the ShowSavers area of TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch: Francesca Annis and Chiwetel Ejiofor will be joined by Bette Bourne, Deborah Findlay, Mark Umbers and Indira Varma in Noel Coward's The Vortex, Michael Grandage's debut production at the Donmar Warehouse opening on 10th December.

Philip On Film Live is a celebration of 25 years of film music composed by Philip Glass that runs from at the Barbican 7th to 11th January. It comprises classic films Cocteau's La Belle et la Bete, Godfrey Reggio's Powaqqatsi and Koyaanisqatsi, and Bela Lugosi's Dracula, together with Shorts - several short films made by cutting edge directors specially commissioned for the event - all featuring new music by Glass. Each of the 35mm films will be projected onto a large screen in the Barbican Hall, with live music performed by Philip Glass and the Philip Glass Ensemble, conducted by Michael Riesman. There will also be a series of pre-screening talks by Glass and some of the directors.

Broadway's Martin Beck Theatre is to be rechristened the Al Hirschfeld in honour of the artist whose sketches of actors have been part of Broadway theatre for 75 years. The renaming ceremony will held be on 21st June, Hirschfeld's 100th birthday, and will include the unveiling of a new theatre marquee, and the opening of a gallery in the venue featuring his drawings. It is considered an acknowledgement that they have 'arrived' for actors to receive the honour of a Hirshfeld sketch. His work is a regular feature of the theatre section of the New York Times, and many originals adorn the walls of Sardi's, the world's ultimate showbiz restaurant. They are even featured on Sardi's web site, which can be found via the link from The Emporium section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Bill Kenwright and Thelma Holt are to join forces to bring the Royal Shakespeare Company season of five Jacobean plays from the Swan in Stratford to the Gielgud Theatre in December; that Steven Berkoff and Jerry Hall may tackle a Shakespeare play together next year; and that Mum's The Word, the Canadian comedy about new mothers, which is currently touring with Beverley Callard, Tina Malone and Julia Watson, is looking for a West End home in the new year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.