Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews
The Donmar Warehouse has announced a further production. Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, in which a woman rebels against the confines of a Victorian marriage, in a new version by Zinnie Harris, with Gillian Anderson, directed by Kfir Yefe, will open in the spring. Meanwhile, Elena Roger will be joined by Shane Attwooll, Phillip Browne, Lorraine Bruce, Luke Evans, Michael Hadley, Katherine Kingsley, Leon Lopez, Stuart Neal and Steve John Shepherd in Pam Gems's Piaf, opening on 13th August.
The next production at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark will be the musical They're Playing Our Song, book by Neil Simon, music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, with Connie Fisher and Alistair McGowan, directed by Fiona Laird, with choreography by Sam Spencer-Lane, opening on 4th August. The semiautobiographical show tells the story of the relationship - both professional and personal - of a neurotic but successful composer, and an eccentric lyricist (with seemingly multiple personalities) who dresses in cast off theatre costumes.
The autumn season at Hampstead Theatre will include the British premiere Bertolt Brecht's last play Turandot, a comedy inspired by the Chinese fairytale, in a newly translation by Edward Kemp, with Chipo Chung and David Yip, directed by Anthony Clark, opening on 8th September; the Shared Experience production of Mine, a new play written and directed by Polly Teale, about a couple who have everything they ever wanted - except a baby, opening on 9th October; the world premiere of Alexis Zegerman's Lucky Seven, a comedy telling the story of three participants in a documentary series who meet once every seven years to have their lives scrutinised by the nation and each other, directed by Anthony Clark, opening on 4th November; Michael Pennington performing his one man shows about Shakespeare and Chekhov, Sweet William and Anton Chekhov, from 24th to 29th November; and The Little Prince, adapted and directed by Anthony Clark, from Antoine de Saint-Exupery's classic French children's book, opening on 8th December.
The next back catalogue 'musical' off the production line will be Daydream Believer, using the hits of The Monkees to tell the story of four boys who audition for a band, and become stand-ins for the group, written by Peter Benedict, and directed by David Taylor, which will open a national tour at the Theatre Royal Plymouth on 26th August.
A Conversation With Edith Head, written and performed by Susan Claassen, based on the book Edith Head's Hollywood by Edith Head and Paddy Calistro, will open at the Arts Club at the Arts Theatre, off Charing Cross Road, on 31st July. It provides a behind the scenes view of Hollywood as observed by the legendary costume designer, who worked on 1,131 films, and received 35 Academy Award nominations, winning 8 Oscars.
The autumn season at Sadler's Wells will include visits by New Ventures with Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray and Edward Scissorhands; Rosas with a programme including two new works by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Four Organs and Eight Lines, set to music by Steve Reich; Richard Alston Dance Company with a programme including the premiere of Alston's Blow Over, set to music by Philip Glass; Australian Ballet and Bangarra Dance Theatre with Stephen Page's Rites and Massine's Les Presages; the Mariinsky Ballet with mixed bills of modern works, and Mariinsky Opera with Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tale Of Tsar Saltan; Batsheva Dance Company with the UK premiere of Ohad Naharin's Three; Birmingham Royal Ballet with David Bintley's Beauty And The Beast and a Stravinsky triple bill comprising Firebird, Petrushka, and Michael Corder's new version of Le Baiser de la fee; Royal Ballet of Flanders with William Forsythe's Impressing The Czar; Rambert Dance Company with the premiere of Mark Baldwin's Eternal Light, set to music by Howard Goodall; and Sankai Juku with Kinkan Shonen and Toki.
All Quiet On The Western Front, adapted by Robin Kingsland, from the novel by Erich Maria Remarque, about a group of idealistic boys who join up to fight in the First World War, but are quickly disillusioned as they experience the full horror of life in the trenches, with James Alexandrou, directed by Giles Croft, will open a national tour at the King's Theatre in Edinburgh on 28th October.
On The Casting Couch at the Almeida Theatre: Nancy Carroll, Will Keen, Richard Cordery, Patrick Drury, Peter Eyre, Helen Lindsay, Hugh Ross and Michael Thomas will feature in Waste, opening on 2nd October; and David Morrissey and Steven Mackintosh will star in In A Dark Dark House, opening on 27th November.
Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband, in which a woman's attempt to ruin a politician's career by producing incriminating evidence about his past is thwarted by the faithfulness and forgiveness of his wife, with Tony Britton, Robert Duncan, Fenella Fielding, Kate O'Mara, Michael Praed and Carol Royle, directed by Peter Hall, will open a national tour at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 26th August. The producer is Bill Kenwright.
The autumn BITE: 08 season at the Barbican, in addition to the already announced Lipsynch, the latest epic work by Robert Lepage exploring the voice as a metaphor for human expression and interaction, and the return of Complicite's A Disappearing Number, conceived and directed by Simon McBurney, inspired by the story of Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujany, will include Merce Cunningham Dance Company with its latest work Xover, set to music by John Cage, in two triple bills that include Crises, Biped, Crwdspcr and Split Sides; Brazilian company Nos do Morro with a physical theatre production of Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen Of Verona; Theatre O with Enda Walsh's Delierum, a radical reinterpretation of The Brothers Karamazov, the tale of family rivalries; Iranian Mungu Theatre Company with Daedalus & Icarus, a contemporary version of the Greek myth, directed by Homayun Ghanizadeh; Catherine Wheels Theatre Company with a promenade production of the Grimm fairy tale Hansel And Gretel; and Ida Barr: So This is Christmas, written and performed by Christopher Green, as a former music hall singer turned elderly rap star and purveyor of her own brand of RnB Artificial Hip Hop.
The Rumour Machine says: that the first African-American cast Broadway production of Tennessee Williams's Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, featuring James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad, Terrence Howard and Anika Noni Rose, directed by Debbie Allen, which has just completed a successful run, may be West End bound; that Hugh Jackman is now the frontrunner to play the title role in the Mark Bramble-Michael Stewart-Cy Coleman circus musical Barnum, about the American showman P T Barnum, directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford, produced by Cameron Mackintosh, late next year; and that Flamen'ka, a dance show featuring flamenco, tango and modern ballet, created and directed by Craig Revel Horwood, is aiming for the West End in September. The Rumour Machine grinds on.