News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 27th November 2009

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the Theatre Royal Windsor production of Agatha Christie's A Daughter's A Daughter (written under the pseudonym of Mary Westmacott) set in the heady world immediately following the end of the Second World War, involving a mother and daughter making unwise decisions in their attempts to 'live life to the full', with Jenny Seagrove, Honeysuckle Weeks, Tracey Childs, Simon Dutton and Ann Wenn, directed by Roy Marsden, will open at Trafalgar Studios 1 on 15th December.

The usual suspects featured heavily in this year's Evening Standard Theatre Awards. The Royal Court was the biggest hitter with its productions of Jerusalem taking Best Play and Best Actor: Mark Rylance, Enron taking Best Director: Rupert Goold, and Alia Bano named Most Promising Playwright for Shades. The other highlights were: Best Actress: Rachel Weisz in A Streetcar Named Desire, Best Musical: Hello, Dolly!, Outstanding Newcomer: Lenny Henry in Othello, and Special Award for his contribution to British theatre for Ian McKellen.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the recent production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot, in which, famously nothing happens - twice, directed by Sean Mathias,will return to the Haymarket Theatre, opening on 27th January, with Ian McKellen and Ronald Pickup reprising their performances, joined by Roger Rees and Matthew Kelly.

In a possibly suicidal move, a new London Festival Fringe will be staged from 6th to 30th August, putting it in direct competition with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world's biggest arts festival. It is a development of the London Bridge Festival, which ran in July this year, and aims to replicate the Edinburgh Fringe, showcasing work from across the world, covering music, theatre, comedy, poetry and film. Discussions are currently taking place between the organisers and venues about their participation. Further information can be found on The London Festival Fringe web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

New York TheatreNet: The world premiere of The Scottsboro Boys, a musical about the 1930s Scottsboro Case, in which a group of innocent African American teenagers in Alabama were unjustly accused of attacking two white women, book by David Thompson, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, will open at Off Broadway at the Vinyard Theatre on 10th March, with a Broadway transfer in mind.

Love&Madness Theatre Company will play a season at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, comprising Sam Shepard's Fool For Love, a two hander set in a motel room with two doomed lovers uncovering dark secrets, with Sadie Frost and Carl Barat, directed by Neil Sheppeck, opening on 28th January; Shakespeare's Richard III, directed by Ben Kidd, opening on 2nd February; and Demi-Monde, devised by the company in association with Jack Shepherd, about the designer and socialist William Morris, opening on 16th February.

The spring season at Hampstead Theatre at Swiss Cottage, will include: A Jubilee For Anton Chekov, a week of events celebrating the Russian writer, featuring all star guests, hosted by Michael Pennington, from 18th to 23rd January; and the previously mentioned Royal Shakespeare Company's new writing season, comprising David Greig's Dunsinane, set in 11th century Scotland at the height of a battle for the succession to the throne, directed by Roxana Silbert, opening on 17th February; and Dennis Kelly's The Gods Weep, about a man whose decision making ability fails him during a corporate power struggle involving national security, directed by Maria Aberg, opening on 17th March.

Nadine's Window will stage Denise Deegan's schoolgirl saga Daisy Pulls It Off, set in 1927, and following the trials and tribulations of a working class scholarship girl at a public school, directed by Nadine Hanwell, at the Arts Theatre off Charing Cross Road, opening on 21st January. The cast will include Lucy Austin, Rebecca Haigh, Fiona Domenica, Jennifer Page, Emma Scholes, Joanne Gale, Lulu Miller, Maxine Scholfield, Christopher Kouros and Kate Sandison.

Forbidden Broadway: Behind The Mylar Curtain by Gerard Alessandrini, creator of the legendary theatrical spoof, recently published by Applause Books, documents and dishes the dirt on the long running show, which played to acclaim both Off Broadway and across the U.S. The book, co-authored with Michael Portantiere, boasts hundreds of photos of the various incarnations of Forbidden Broadway, which has spoofed musicals from Cats to The Light In The Piazza, as well as stars including Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters and Barbra Streisand. It includes not only the history of the show, together with behind the scenes stories, but over 100 parody lyrics. The Tony and Drama Desk Award winning musical revue premiered at Palsson's Supper Club in January 1982, and concluded performances at the 47th Street Theatre on 1st March this year.

The Imperial Ice Stars, with a cast of 25 Olympic, World, European and National Championship skaters, will perform Cinderella, choreographed by Tony Mercer, to a specially composed score by Tim A Duncan and Edward Barnwell, at the Royal Albert Hall from 24th to 28th February.

Forthcoming productions at New End Theatre in Hampstead will include The Great American Seasonal Songbook, with Louisa Parry and David Martin, directed by Heather Simpkin, from 8th December, produced by Toby Cruse; Tap And Chat With Lionel Blair, in which the legendary performer and choreographer talks about his career, and performs some classic songs, from 13th December; and Rites Of Privacy, in which a diverse group of characters reveal their darkest secrets, written and performed by David Rhodes, directed by Charles Loffredo, from 13th January, a Moving Parts Theatre production.

The Rumour Machine says: that the current production of Breakfast At Tiffany's, adapted by Samuel Adamson from Truman Capote's novella, with Anna Friel and Joseph Cross, directed by Sean Mathias, has plans to transfer to Broadway; and that the revised version of the 1981 musical Dreamgirls, directed and co-choreographed by Robert Longbottom, co-choreographed by Shane Sparks, which is currently premiering at the Apollo Theatre in New York prior to an American national tour, is looking to make its West End debut in 2011. The Rumour Machine grinds on.