News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 29th June 2012

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the musical Viva Forever!, book by Jennifer Saunders, featuring the back catalogue of the Spice Girls, about a candidate on a television talent show and the ramifications of overnight fame, directed by Paul Garrington, with choreography by Lynne Page, will open at the Piccadilly Theatre on 11th December. The producer is Judy Cramer, association with the Spice Girls, Simon Fuller and Universal Music.

Alan Ayckbourn's A Chorus Of Disapproval, set amid the rivalries of an amateur operatic society production of The Beggar's Opera, with Rob Brydon, Nigel Harman, Ashley Jensen, Teresa Banham, Daisy Beaumont, Georgia Brown, Rob Compton, Matthew Cottle and Steven Edis, directed by Trevor Nunn, will open at the Harold Pinter Theatre on 27th September. The producer is Sonia Friedman.

After many false starts, the St James Theatre, which has risen from the ashes of the Westminster Theatre, in Palace Street in Victoria, will finally open on 18th September with Sandi Toksvig's Bully Boy, exploring the moral issues of contemporary military occupation and its effect on the mental health of soldiers, with Anthony Andrews and Joshua Miles, directed by David Gilmore, a co-production with Lee Dean, Charles Diamond, Daniel Schumann and Royal & Derngate Northampton. It will be followed by the musical Daddy Long Legs, book and direction by John Caird, music and lyrics by Paul Gordon, adapted from Jean Webster's novel about an orphan and her anonymous benefactor, with Megan McGinnis and Robert Adelman Hancock, opening on 31st October; the Travelling Light production of Cinderella, a contemporary reworking of the Brothers Grimm story rather than a pantomime, devised by the company, directed by Sally Cookson, with choreography by Joel Daniel, opening on 12th December; and the previously announced Out Of Joint production of Timberlake Wertenbaker's Our Country's Good, set around a theatre production of George Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer mounted by a convict settlement in Australia in the 1780s, directed by Max Stafford Clark, opening on 30th January. The new complex, which includes a 312 seater main house, 100 seater studio, bar and brasserie, will also present comedy, jazz and cabaret.

New York TheatreNet: Forbidden Broadway: Alive And Kicking, the legendary revue lampooning New York theatre, created and written by Gerard Alessandrini, with Jenny Lee Stern, Natalie Charle Ellis, Scott Richard Foster and Marcus Stevens, directed by Alessandrini and Phillip George, will return to the 47th Street Theatre, opening on September 6th. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The musical Scrooge, book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bruicusse, adapted from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, with Tommy Steel, directed by Bob Tomson, with choreography by Lisa Kent, and illusions by Paul Kieve, will open at the London Palladium on 6th November, and play until 5th January. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

On The Casting Couch: Vanessa Kirby, Mariah Gale and Gala Gordon will head the cast in Anton Chekov's Three Sisters, opening at the Young Vic Theatre on 8th September; Jonathan Pryce will be joined by Jenny Jules, Phoebe Fox, Zoe Waites, Kieran Bew, Michael Byrne, Steven Elliott, Ian Gelder, Richard Goulding and Richard Hope in Shakespeare's King Lear, opening at the Almeida Theatre on 11th September; and Bonnie Langford, Jackie Clune, Natalie Casey, Amy Lennox and Ben Richards will head the cast of Patricia Resnick and Dolly Parton's 9 To 5: The Musical, opening a prospective pre West End tour at the Opera House Manchester on 16th October.

Scottish Opera's 50th anniversary season will include new productions of Mozart's The Magic Flute, directed by Thomas Allen; Massenet's Werther, directed by Pia Furtado; Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, directed by Harry Fehr; and Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates Of Penzance, directed by Martin Lloyd-Evans, a co-production with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. There will also be an Edinburgh Festival production in its Five:15 series of 15 minute operas by new Scottish writing partnerships: Clemency, music by James MacMillan, libretto by Michael Symmons Roberts; The Lady From The Sea, music by Craig Armstrong, libretto by Zoe Strachan; The Locked Room, music by Huw Watkins, libretto by David Harsent; and Ghost Patrol, music by Stuart MacRae, libretto by Louise Welsh.

Musical Theatre A History by John Kenrick, published by Continuum International Publishing, presents a comprehensive history of stage musicals that is both informative and entertaining. It charts musical theatre from the earliest accounts of the ancient Greeks and Romans, for whom songs were common elements in staging, to Jacques Offenbach in Paris during the 1840s, to Gilbert and Sullivan in Britain, to the rise of music hall and vaudeville, to the Broadway's Golden Age with Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Leonard Bernstein, and on to Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber and the shows of today. The book is an accessibly written history of musical theatre that is richly illustrated with anecdotes of shows and show people.

The autumn season at Nottingham Playhouse will include Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest, the 'trivial comedy for serious people' about living a double life, hailed as the funniest comedy in the English language, directed by Giles Croft, from 31st August; William Ivory's Diary Of A Football Nobody, adapted from the memoir of former Notts County player David McVay, directed by Matt Aston, from 5th October; John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men, the classic tale of the American depression of two itinerant farm workers who buy a small farm of their own, but find the ensuing hardship tests their friendship to its limits, directed by Giles Croft, from 2nd November; and Robin Hood And The Babes In The Wood, written, directed by and featuring Kenneth Alan Taylor, from 30th November.