News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 30th December 1999

Elsewhere, it is customary at this time to look back over the year, and review triumphs and failures. Well we don't do that because we're more interested in the future than the past, so the tradition here is to look forward to what will happen - all based on hard, solid, um, er, rumour.

American actress Kathleen Chalfant will make her West End debut in Wit in the spring. Margaret Edson's Pulitzer Prize winning play about a woman dying of cancer is still playing Off Broadway. Derek Anson Jones directs and the producer is Daryl Roth.

Hedda Gabler, starring Francesca Annis, Peter Bowles and Robert Bathurst, which is currently touring is expected to find a West End home soon.

Producer Michael Rose is still working on Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, which showcased last year with Millicent Martin, Jan Hartley, Paula Wilcox and Christopher Biggins, directed by David Taylor, and choreographed by Gillian Gregory. It is based on Robert Aldrich's 1962 film, with book by Henry Farrell (from his original novel) music by Lee Pockriss, and lyrics by Hal Hackaday.

The Don Black compilation show Black Goes With Everything, directed by Alene Phillips, will open in Bromley in March, hopefully prior to the West End. Michael White is the producer. Black is working on a musical of Graham Greene's Brighton Rock with John Barry which may be ready next winter.

Despite (or perhaps because of) the fatwah issued on author Terence McNally, Corpus Christi "the gay Jesus play" which received its UK premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe, and transferred to the London Pleasance, may yet reach the West End.

The Reduced Shakespeare Company's latest show The Complete Millennium Musical (abridged) presenting one thousand years in one hundred minutes, which is currently touring, is pencilled for the West End in the autumn.

Bryony Lavery's play Frozen is may join the New Ambassadors season in the spring.

Although it has missed the centenary, Masterpieces, a new Noel Coward revue by Christopher Luscombe and Malcolm McKee, produced by Duncan Weldon, may still come to London.

Lee Hall's Cooking With Elvis, another Edinburgh Fringe success, is still looking for a West End home. The premise is the interaction of a food loving 14 year old girl, her paraplegic father (formerly an amateur Elvis impersonator), her sex driven anorexic mother, and the man both mother and daughter fall for. It features Sharon Percy, Trevor Fox and Joe Caffrey, and is directed by Max Roberts. PW Productions presents the Live Theatre Production.

Dusty - The Musical will open at the Churchill Bromley on 23rd February, possibly with Mari Wilson in the title role, prior to a tour and eventual West End appearance in the autumn. The book is by Paul Prescott, Bob Tomson directs, and the producer is Paul Farrah.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton's The Beautiful Game, the football musical set in Northern Ireland, should arrive in the autumn.

A musical based on James Fenimore Cooper's The Last Of The Mohicans is scheduled for a spring opening at a regional theatre and West End transfer. The action is set in America in 1757 during the colonial wars, when British and French forces set the native Mohican and Huron tribes against each other. The show is written by Julian Ronnie and Paul Miller, and the director is David Taylor.

Richard O'Brien is seriously(!) working on a sequel to The Rocky Horror Show, which seems to have been continuously touring for its entire 26 year lifespan. It is to be called inevitably Rocky Horror: The Second Coming. Most of the numbers have been completed, and it should arrive next winter.

Ian Judge is to direct Twiggy in the stage version of the Betty Comden, Adolf Green and Julie Styne film musical Bells Are Ringing in the autumn. Its stage debut on Broadway a few years ago included a real ice rink for the skating scene.

Cameron Mackintosh's millennial revival of My Fair Lady with Jonathan Pryce as Higgins will probably be pushed back to 2001 owing to witches.

Still claiming to be alive, and may yet start kicking, these were predicted for the West End in '99 (some even in '98) and could make it in '00:

The 1981 Tony award winning musical Dreamgirls, previously unseen in this country. With book and lyrics by Tom Eyen, and music by Henry Krieger, it portrays the backstage drama surrounding the rise to fame of a '60's Motown style girl group. Originally staged by Michael Bennett, a reworked version is now touring America prior to a possible Broadway reappearance. Mark S Hoebee is likely to direct here for a battery of producers including Sacha Brooks and Adam Spiegel.

Peter Shaffer's new play, about the relationship between (Pyotr) Tchaikovsky and his brother Modest.

Steel City, a new show by Australian choreographer Dein Perry, creator of Hot Shoe Shuffle and Tap Dogs.

The Pet Shop Boys musical, with a book by Jonathan Harvey, which is set in a club.

Jean de Florette, a musical inspired by the films Jean de Florette and Manons des Sources - but will it feature the famous theme which sold a million pints of lager?

Christopher Plummer in Barrymore, his portrait of the flamboyant actor, which enjoyed Broadway success a couple of years ago.