News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th November 2008

The usual suspects featured heavily in this year's Evening Standard Theatre Awards. The Donmar Warehouse was the biggest hitter with its productions of The Chalk Garden taking Best Actress: Margaret Tyzack and Penelope Wilton, Othello taking best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Best Director: Michael Grandage. The Young Vic productions of Street Scene won Best Musical, and In The Red And Brown Water and The Brothers Size won Most Promising Playwright: Tarell Alvin McCraney; the National Theatre production of The Pitmen Painters by Lee Hall took Best Play; and there were special awards for Michael Boyd for the Royal Shakespeare Company's History Cycle, and Kevin Spacey for bringing new life to the Old Vic. The full list of nominees and winners can be found on the This Is London web site via the link from Guides, in the Links section of TheatreNet.

New York TheatreNet: Michael Jacobs's Impressionism, about a world travelling photojournalist and a New York gallery owner who discover each other - and that there might be an art to repairing broken lives, featuring Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen, directed by Jack O'Brien, will receive its world premiere at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on March 12th. The producer is Ostar Productions.

Oxford based Creation Theatre Company performs in unusual locations, dividing its time between outdoors Shakespeare seasons in the summer and indoors at the BMW car factory in Cowley in winter. This time it is a mixture of both, as it stages Hans Christian Andersen's Magical Tales, adapted by Lizzie Hopley, in a 100 year Mirror Tent, in the BMW car park, until 17th January. The show features many of the favourite fairytales, including The Little Mermaid, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Match Girl, The Snow Queen and The Ugly Duckling, performed by Jonathan Baker, Jordsn Bernarde, Sophie Duval, Lowri Gwynne, Adam Henderson-Scott and Olivia Mace. Further information can be found on the CTC web site, via the link from Theatre Companies in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Victoria and Albert Museum is to open new Theatre and Performance Galleries next March, displaying some of the materials from the now defunct Theatre Museum, featuring around 250 objects from all forms of live performance over the last 350 years. Among the exhibits will be a 1623 first folio of Shakespeare's plays; the only known Handel prompt book produced during his lifetime; an early draft manuscript of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's comedy The School For Scandal; an original 1957 poster for Look Back in Anger at the Royal Court Theatre; the 1971 score for Jesus Christ Superstar, marked with alterations made by the musical director during rehearsals; a guitar Pete Townshend smashed during a 1970s performance with The Who; and costumes worn by leading actors, such as Richard Burton, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. A specially commissioned film will feature interviews with playwright Michael Frayn, directors Peter Hall and Peter Brook, and actor Henry Goodman. Visitors will also be able to see archive footage and photographs of well known performances and performers.

On The Casting Couch at the National Theatre: Toby Jones and Joseph Millson will head the cast in Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, opening on 26th January; Ciaran Hinds and Rory Kinnear will be joined by Michelle Dockery in Burnt By The Sun, opening on 3rd March; Anastasia Hille will play the title role in Dido, Queen Of Carthage, opening on 24th March; and Francesca Annis and Adrian Scarborough will feature in Time And The Conways, opening on 5th May.

In The Fame Formula: How Hollywood's Fixers, Fakers And Star Makers Created The Celebrity Industry, recently published by Pan Macmillan, Mark Borkowski, one of the Britain's leading publicists, casts an insider's eye over the astonishing growth of the fame industry, from silent movies to the internet and the instant news age. The book offers insights into how to become famous, and how to maintain that fame, using the stunts and practises of great, though often forgotten, publicists as illustrations. It highlights the extraordinary leaps of imagination (desperation?) that publicists used to promote films, people and products. These are the people who sat on and hatched an ostrich egg to promote the film The Egg And I; insured Betty Grable's legs for $1m to get her into the press; dressed Marilyn Monroe in a potato sack for a glamour shoot; spun webs of invented life for film stars whose sexual preferences would have outraged the public in the early days of Hollywood; and sold a vision of Hollywood that has become reality. As they say: "Takes one to know one".

The next production by Holiday On Ice will be Magic, which explores enchantment and illusion from an enchanted Goblin Forest to Alice and the Mad Hatter's tea party, featuring a cast of skaters from around the world, directed by Anthony Van Laast, and choreographed by Robin Cousins, which will open a national tour at the Brighton Centre on 9th January.

Angels, Britain's premiere costumiers, are holding a vintage sale, offering a unique opportunity to buy genuine retro clothing, accessories and jewellery from the 1920's to the 1990's, contemporary clothing and period military uniforms, at their stores at 3 Boundary Road, Wembley, from 9am to 5pm on Saturday 6th December. Buyers will be able to take away all the costumes they can fit in a small bag for 10, a medium bag for 20, or a large bag for 50. Further information, and an opportunity to win VIP entry to the sale, can be found on the Angels web site, via the link from Suppliers in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Liverpool Everyman/Playhouse and Headlong Theatre production of King Lear, with Pete Postlethwaite, which opened to largely negative reviews, is being reworked by director Rupert Goold, prior to its transfer to the Young Vic; that a stage adaptation of the film All About Eve, inspired by Mary Orr's backstage story of an over ambitious understudy, (not the musical version Applause) may join the season at the Haymarket Theatre; and that Jeffrey Archer is adapting A Prison Diary, the memoir about his time in clink, for the stage, to be produced by Marc Sinden. The Rumour Machine grinds on.