News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th November 2011

The Royal Shakespeare Company productions of Much Ado About Nothing, with Meera Syal, directed by Iqbal Khan, and Julius Caesar, with Adjoa Andoh, Ray Fearon, Paterson Joseph, Jeffery Kissoon and Joseph Mydell, directed by Gregory Doran, will transfer from Stratford to London, playing a season at the Noel Coward Theatre from late August to October next year.

A cabaret show, Frank Skinner And Friends, will play a 2 week season at the Noel Coward Theatre from 23rd January. The comedian will be joined by 4 different guests each night, including Al Murray, Richard Herring, Brendon Burns, Carl Donnelly, Isy Suttie, Nick Helm, Andy Zaltzman, Phil Nichol, Beardyman, The Magnets and Doc Brown.

Highlights of this year's Evening Standard Theatre Awards include: Best Actor - Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller - Frankenstein; Best Actress - Sheridan Smith - Flare Path; Best Play - Richard Bean's The Heretic and One Man, Two Guvnors; Best Musical - Matilda The Musical; Best Director - Mike Leigh - Grief; and a special award for Michael Grandage for his work at the Donmar Warehouse. The full listing can be found at This Is London, via the link from Guides in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Alan Ayckbourn's Joking Apart, which explores the relationships of the friends of a perfect couple through a series of parties in their garden over a 12 year period, with Jamie Kenna, Andrew Obeney, Charlotte Moore and Claire Marlowe, directed by Ben De Wynter, will open at the Union Theatre, Southwark, on 15th December. The producer is Regan De Wynter Productions.

New York TheatreNet: The recent Paper Mill Playhouse production of Newsies, a musical adaptation of the 1992 Disney film inspired by the real life Newsboy Strike of 1899, book by Harvey Fierstein, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, directed by Jeff Calhoun, with choreography by Christopher Gattelli, will open at the Nederlander Theatre on 29th March, with most of the original cast expected to make the transfer; and the West End production of Peter Quilter's End Of The Rainbow, a play with music about the last days of Judy Garland, with original star Tracie Bennett, joined by Americans Michael Cumpsty, Tom Pelphrey and Jay Russell, directed by Terry Johnson, will open at the Belasco Theatre on 2nd April. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

On The Casting Couch: Tobias Menzies, Mackenzie Crook, Nancy Carroll, Mark Gatiss, Rachael Stirling and Gawn Grainger will head the cast of George Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer, opening at the Donmar Warehouse on 14th February.

The spring season at the Liverpool Playhouse will include Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire, which follows the woes of a faded Southern belle, and her road to madness aided by her violent brother in law, with Amanda Drew, Sam Troughton, Leanne Best, Annabelle Apsion, Matthew Flynn and Alan Stocks, directed by Gemma Bodinetz, from 17th February; and Alan Ayckbourn's trilogy The Norman Conquests, in which the story of a group of characters over a weekend is played out simultaneously in three different areas of a house with Table Manners in the dining room, Living Together in the living room and Round And Round The Garden in the garden, directed by Philip Wilson, in May.

Stephen Sondheim's second volume of his collected lyrics, Look, I Made A Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981-2011) with Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes And Miscellany has just been published by Knopf. The book combines the lyrics from Sondheim's shows from Sunday In The Park With George to Sondheim On Sondheim, and material from films and television, plus songs cut from shows, written for personal special occasions, and even unproduced projects. As with the first volume, all are combined with personal reflections and stories about their creation and production. His anecdotes are rich with history, personal insights, and intimate details, in addition to which, there is a wealth of background material, with manuscript pages, first night telegrams, typescripts and pencil notes all reproduced. Throughout the book, Sondheim analyses his work and dissects his own songs, as well as offering candid views on the work of others. Brilliant, poignant, scathing, and funny, it gives an unparalleled insight into the craft of theatre songwriting.

The spring season at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow will include Harold Pinter's Betrayal, the semi autobiographical play about a wife who has a long term affair with her husband's best friend, which starts with the crumbling of the marriage and unravels backwards in time to the night the affair began, with Cal Macaninch, from 2nd March; Shakespeare's King Lear, with David Hayman, from 20th April; and a double bill of Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape and Footfalls, from 30th May, all directed by Dominic Hill.

Giles Cole's The Art Of Concealment: The Life Of Terrence Rattigan, in which, on the first night of his last play, the playwright looks back over his life, with Dominic Tighe, Alistair Findlay, Daniel Bayle, Judy Buxton, Charlie Hollway, Christopher Morgan, Graham Pountney and Benedict Salter, directed by Knight Mantell, will open at the Jermyn Street Theatre on 11th January. The producers are John B Hobbs and GC Productions.

Forthcoming productions at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds will include in the Courtyard Theatre: Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot, in which, famously, nothing happens - twice, directed by Ian Brown, opening on 7th February, a co-production with Talawa Theatre Company; and in the Quarry Theatre: the premiere of Louise Rennison's Angus, Thongs, And Even More Snogging, developed from her series of novels charting the exploits of a teenage girl, opening on 15th February, a co-production with Micklelou Productions.