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News and Events

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th July 2014

The Menier Chocolate Factory, in Southwark, will stage a new production of the show that put it on the map in 2004, Becky Mode's one man show Fully Committed, with Kevin Bishop as a struggling actor/reservation maker at Manhattan's most fashionable restaurant, directed by Mark Setlock, who performed in the original production, opening on 10th September.

On The Casting Couch: Daniel Betts, Zackary Momoh, Christopher Akrill, Phil King, Geoff Aymer, David Carlyle, Natalie Grady, Susan Lawson-Reynolds, Christopher Saul, Jamie Kenna and Victoria Bewick will feature in To Kill A Mockingbird, opening at the Open Air Theatre Regent's Park on 28th August; and David Bedella, Sarah Ingram, Mark McKerracher and Zoe Curlett will head the cast of the Hugh Wheeler-Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd, opening at the Twickenham Theatre on 16th September.

Aria Entertainment and Guy James in association with Penny Rock Theatre Productions will stage the premiere of the musical The Return Of The Soldier, book and lyrics by Tim Sanders, music by Charles Miller, adapted from the novel by Rebecca West, relating the very different love of three women for a soldier returning home with shell-shock after the First World War, directed by Charlottoe Westenra, opening at Jermyn Street Theatre, off Piccadilly, on 4th September.

Forthcoming productions at the Theatre Royal Stratford East will include Beauty And The Beast, book and lyrics by Paul Sirett, music and lyrics by Wayne Nunes and Perry Melius, directed by Dawn Reid, from 29th November; the return of the 50th anniversary production of its greatest success, Oh! What A Lovely War, the musical documentary about the First World War created by director Joan Littlewood and members of the company, from Charles Chilton's original radio documentary, directed by Terry Johnson, opening a national tour on 29th January, presented in association with Judy Lloyd and Matthew Mitchell; and Sophocles's Antigone, in which the laws of the gods are pitted against the laws of men, when Antigone is not allowed to bury her apparently traitorous brother, in a contemporary adaptation by Roy Williams, opening on 21st February.

New York TheatreNet: The musical An American In Paris, adapted from the 1951 film about a former GI starting over in a city rebuilding after the Second World War, featuring a score by George and Ira Gershwin, book by Craig Lucas, directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, which is debuting at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris in December, with Robert Fairchild, Leanne Cope, Veanne Cox, Jill Paice, Brandon Uranowitz and Max von Essen, will open at the Palace Theatre on 12th April. Second Stage Theatre will stage the musical adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho, book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik, about a 1980s 'having it all' Wall Street trader who is also a serial killer, directed by Rupert Goold, who directed the London premiere, opening next March. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The final season at York Theatre Royal before it closes for refurbishment will include in the Main House: Harold Pinter's Betrayal, the semi autobiographical play about adultery, whose story unfolds backwards, directed by Juliet Forster, opening on 7th October; Old Mother Goose, written, directed by and featuring Berwick Kaler, with Martin Barrass, co-directed by Damian Cruden, opening on 12th December; and Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge, the story of a Brooklyn longshoreman who has raised his orphaned niece, but become infatuated with her, and jealousy transforms him from a respected, honourable man to a virtual stranger, shamed and broken by his own actions, directed by Damian Cruden, opening on 17th February, produced in collaboration with the Touring Consortium Theatre Company; and in the Studio: Steve Trafford's The Restoration Of Nell Gwyn, in which the royal mistress and her maid speculate on her and the nation's fate as Charles II lies dying, with Elizabeth Mansfield and Angela Curran, directed by Damian Cruden, opening on 14th October, a co-production with Ensemble; and Ingmar Villqist's Helver's Night, in a translation by Jacek Laskowski, about a boy fascinated with the bravura of fascism, directed by Hal Chambers, opening on 31st October, a co-production with Company of Angels in association with University of York.

Forthcoming productions at the Southwark Playhouse, at the Elephant and Castle, will include Shakespeare's As You Like It, directed by Derek Bond, , opening on 22nd September, produced by Peter Huntley Productions and W14 Productions; Carl Grose's Grand Guignol, a black comedy, a demented, psychological thriller and an unrepentant splatter-fest, directed by Simon Stokes, from 23rd October, a Theatre Royal Plymouth production; and Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo, an epic comic book adventure with bandit racoons, feline ninjas and warring animal clans set in 17th century Japan, adapted by Stewart Melton, directed by Amy Draper, from 28th November.

Nothing Like A Dame, by theatre journalist Eddie Shapiro, published by Oxford University Press, comprises in-depth conversations with 20 leading women of Broadway from different generations. The women he interviewed discussed their careers, offering insights into the iconic shows, changes on Broadway over the last century, and the art (and thrill) of taking the stage night after night. Participants include Elaine Stritch, Carol Channing, Chita Rivera, Donna McKechnie, Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel and Sutton Foster. Each of these conversations is guided by Shapiro's expert knowledge of these women's careers, Broadway lore, and the details of famous (and infamous) musicals. The book also includes dozens of photographs of these players in their best-known roles.

Giuliano Crispini's Lotty's War, a story of passion, courage and sacrifice set in Second World War enemy occupied Channel Islands, based on unpublished diaries found in Guernsey, dramaturgy by Clare Slater, with Olivia Hallinan, Mark Letheren and Adam Gillen, directed by Bruce Guthrie, will open a national tour at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford on 3rd September.

The autumn season at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff will include Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet, in a contemporary production, directed by Rachel O'Riordan, opening on 6th October; Hans Andersen's The Ugly Duckling, adapted by Katherine Chandler, translated into Welsh by Mererid Hopwood, directed by Sara Lloyd, a co-production with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, from 8th December; and Arabian Nights, adapted by Dominic Cooke, directed by Rachel O'Riordan, opening on 8th December.


Opening This Week

Porgy And Bess - Open Air
George and Ira Gershwin’s folk opera adapted from DuBose Heyward’s novel set in the black quarter of Charleston, South Carolina in 1912, where a cripple offers shelter to a woman who has left her brutish lover, directed by Timothy Sheader.


First Nights

28th - Porgy And Bess - Open Air
3rd - Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part 2 - Garrick
5th - My Night With Reg - Donmar Warehouse
6th - Hetty Feather - Vaudeville
6th - King Lear - Shakespeare’s Globe
8th - I Believe In Unicorns - Vaudeville


26th - Fathers And Sons - Donmar Warehouse
2nd - Handbagged - Vaudeville
2nd - Hotel - National Shed
9th - The Nether - Royal Court
23rd - Porgy And Bess - Open Air
23rd - Daytona - Haymarket
23rd - King Lear - Shakespeare’s Globe
23rd - 1984 - Playhouse
23rd - Skylight - Wyndham’s
23rd - Great Britain - National Lyttelton