News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 29th July 2011

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night, a semiautobiographical work about a family as they battle their demons of alcohol and drug addiction during a long summer's day, with David Suchet, directed by Anthony Page, will open at the Apollo Theatre on 10th April. The producers are Kim Poster and Nica Burns.

The Theatre Royal Bristol production of Swallows And Amazons, by Helen Edmunson, with music by Neil Hannon, adapted from the book by Arthur Ransome, about children on a sailing holiday in the Lake District in 1929, directed by Tom Morris, with movement direction by Toby Sedgwick, will play a Christmas season at the Vaudeville Theatre opening on 19th December, prior to a national tour. It is presented by by the National Theatre and the Children's Touring Partnership.

The autumn season at the at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich will include 20th Century Boy, a biomusical about Marc Bolan, book by Peter Rowe and Gary Lloyd, featuring George Maguire, Jenna Lee James, Donna Hines, Craig Storrod, Greg Barnett, Katie Bernstein, Peter Manchester and Matthew Ashcroft, directed by Gary Lloyd, opening on 8th September.

The all male Propeller theatre company, directed by Edward Hall, will open a national tour of Shakespeare's Henry V at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford on 9th November, joined by The Winter's Tale opening at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham on 19th January, which will conclude at Hampstead Theatre from 4th July.

New York TheatreNet: the recent Lincoln Center Theater production of Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities, a family drama that takes place over the course of a Christmas Eve, with a former matinee idol turned politician, his screenwriter wife and their novelist daughter, with Stockard Channing, Stacy Keach, Thomas Sadoski, Judith Light and Rachel Griffiths, directed by Joe Mantello, will be remounted on Broadway, opening at the Booth Theatre on 3rd November. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Red Handed Theatre Company and Peter Huntley Productions will stage Hannah Cowley's The Belle's Stratagem, the Georgian romantic comedy about a group of wily ladies determined to get their own way, with Hannah Spearritt, Gina Beck, Jackie Clune and Maggie Steed, directed by Jessica Swale, at Southwark Playhouse from 6th September.

An arena version of Birmingham Royal Ballet's production of The Nutcracker, with choreography by Peter Wight, Vincent Redmon and Lev Ivanov, featuring over 60 dancers, accompanied by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, will play at the O2 Arena from 27th to 30th December. The producer is Victor Hochhauser in association with Universal Music Arts and Entertainment.

The autumn season at Nottingham Playhouse will include the premiere of Michael Pinchbeck's The Ashes, exploring the controversy surrounding England's 'bodyline' attack during the 1932 test match series against Australia, directed by Giles Croft, from 2nd September; Noel Coward's Private Lives, about a divorced couple who, finding themselves honeymooning with new partners in adjoining suites in the south of France, also find that their relationship is actually not over, with Janie Dee and Rupert Wickham, from 7th October; Bertolt Brecht's The Resistible Rise Of Arturo Ui, which satirises the rise of Hitler in Germany through the story of a Chicago gangster's takeover of the city's greengrocery trade, translated by Stephen Sharkey, directed by Walter Meierjohann, from 26th October; and Cinderella, written and directed by Kenneth Alan Taylor, with John Elkington, Anthony Hoggard, Rebecca Little and Jeffrey Longmore, from 25th November.

Christmas With The Rat Pack, the seasonal compilation show featuring the songs of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, set on a night at The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas in 1960, will return to the West End at Wyndham's Theatre, opening on 20th December, switching to the original The Rat Pack Live From Las Vegas version for 2 weeks from 9th January.

The Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn will stage Lee Blessing's A Walk In The Woods, charting the developing relationship of two cold war arms negotiators, with Myriam Cyr and Steven Crossley, directed by Nicolas Kent, from 12th October.

The autumn season of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, currently playing away while the theatre is refurbished, will include at the Old Rep: Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest, characterised by Wilde as 'a trivial comedy for serious people', about mistaken and assumed identities, from 9th September, playing in repertoire with Tom Stoppard's Travesties, which imagines James Joyce, Vladimir Lenin and Tristan Tzara meeting in Zurich at the height of the First World War, with calamitous mix-ups and mistaken identities, from 17th September, both directed by Philip Wilson, with Emily Bowker, Nick Caldecott, Tom Davey, Matthew Douglas, Abigail McKern, Emerald O Hanrahan, Roger Ringrose and Giles Taylor; at the Crescent Theatre: Sleeping Beauty, by Rufus Norris, adapted from the story by Charles Perrault, directed by Sarah Esdaile, with choreography by Etta Murfitt, from 23rd November; and at the ICC: the return of Raymond Briggs's The Snowman, with a score by Howard Blake from the animated film, choreographed by Robert North, directed by Bill Alexander, from 16th December.

Following its first pantomime last Christmas, Pitlochry Festival Theatre is to extend its season through to January for the first time. The 2009 production of Whisky Galore - A Musical!, adapted from the novel by Compton McKenzie, about Scottish islanders hiding the whisky they have liberated from a wrecked ship during the Second World War, book by Shona McKee McNeil, music and lyrics by Ian Hammond Brown, directed by Ken Alexander, with choreography by Rita Henderson, will open on 21st October; and Sleeping Beauty will open on 15th December.

Jason Hall's Third Floor, a thriller set on the third floor of a block of flats, with Emily Head and Craig Gazey, will play at the Trafalgar Studios 2 from 11th October. The producers are Sally Humphreys and Jason Haig Ellery.

The Rumour Machine says: that a stage adaptation of the 1994 film Backbeat, about the Beatles early years in Hamburg, written and co-directed by the film's director Ian Softly, which premiered at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre last year, is aiming for the West End this autumn; and that Hugh Jackman will perform his musical theatre In Concert show in London next spring, while he is filming Les Miserables, courtesy of producer Robert Fox. The Rumour Machine grinds on.