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News and Events

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 31st October 2014

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the musical Bend It Like Beckham, book by Gurinder Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges, music by Howard Goodall, lyrics by Charles Hart, based on the 2002 film about a teenage Sikh girl in London infatuated with football but forbidden to play by her parents, directed by Gurinder Chadha, with choreography by Aletta Collins, will open at the Phoenix Theatre on 24th June. The producer is Sonia Friedman.

The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre 2015 season will comprise J M Barrie's original stage adaptation of Peter Pan, co-directed by Timothy Sheader and Liam Steel, opening on 21st May; Anton Chekov's The Seagull, in a new version by Torben Betts, which relates the romantic entanglements and regrets of a group of actors, writers and artists gathered on a Russian estate, directed by Matthew Dunster, opening on 24th June; the musical Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, adapted from the 1954 film, book by David Landay, music by Gene De Paul, lyrics by Johnny Mercer with Helena Blackman and Sam Attwater, in which a rancher brings his new wife home, in 1850s Oregon, where she finds he has six uncouth younger brothers (all looking for wives) who she endeavors to reform, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, with choreography by Alistair David, opening on 23rd July; and the return of the 2011 production of William Golding's Lord Of The Flies, adapted by Nigel Williams, the story of a group of schoolboys who are marooned on a desert island and soon fall into anarchy, directed by Timothy Sheader, opening a national tour on 5th September.

A revised version of Peter Morgan's The Audience, which charts the Queen's relationships with her 12 Prime Ministers through their weekly meetings, with Kristin Scott Thomas, directed by Stephen Daldry, will open at the Apollo Theatre on 5th May. The producers are Matthew Byam Shaw, Robert Fox and Andy Harries.

The Secret Theatre's Company's A Series Of Increasingly Impossible Acts, a devised piece that features a new protagonist, chosen by the audience, put through an endurance test of a performance each night, written by Caroline Bird, directed by Sean Holmes, will play at the Tricycle Theatre, in Kilburn, from 12th January.

Little Spaniel Theatre, which produces classical European plays, is to become resident company at St Bartholomew the Great church, in West Smithfield in the City, where it will stage Everyman, the medieval morality play, with Ava Amande, Clare Brice, Pip Brignall, Anna Buckland, Tyrone Coogan, Jack Cooper Stimpson, Edward Fisher, Elund Hawkins, Claire-Monique Martin, Damian Regan, Edmund Sage-Green and Tom Wornsby, directed by Cecilia Dorland, opening on 8th November.

New York TheatreNet: Heart And Lights, the show featuring the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, which was cancelled just before it started previewing last March, will re-emerge as New York Spring Spectacular, with a storyline by Joshua Harmon about three New Yorkers who change each other's lives in unexpectedly wonderful ways on a tour of the city, directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, with Diane Paulus and Randy Weiner as co-creative directors, opening on 26th March. The production will retain the previous costumes and innovative technology, including 3D effects, elaborate animatronics and GPS elements, and feature original songs, classics and pop hits. The recent award winning MCC Theater production of Robert Askins's irreverent puppet comedy Hand To God, about a foul-mouthed sock puppet who teaches students at the Christian Puppet Ministry that urges that can drive a person to give in to their darkest desires, with Steven Boyer, Geneva Carr, Marc Kudisch, Sarah Stiles and Michael Oberholtzer, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, with fight direction by Robert Westley, will be remounted on Broadway, opening at the Booth Theatre on 7th April. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Gare St Lazare Ireland will stage Samuel Beckett's First Love, a monologue by a man about his expulsion from the family home, how he arrived at a park bench, and became infatuated with the woman he met there, performed by Conor Lovett, directed by Judy Hegarty Lovett, will open at the Arcola Theatre, in Dalston, on 21st November.

The musical The Producers, book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, adapted from the 1968 film, about an unsuccessful Broadway theatre producer who enlists the help of his timid accountant to make a fortune by presenting a sure fire flop, and oversubscribing the investment, directed by Matthew White, will open a national tour at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley from 6th March. It is produced by Adam Spiegel.

Aria Entertainment for Evergreen Theatrical Productions will stage Mordaunt Shairp's The Green Bay Tree, in which a young man is forced to choose between the love of his fiancee and the lifestyle of his male mentor, with Alister Cameron, Poppy Drayton, Richard Heap, Christopher Leveaux and Richard Stirling, directed by Tim Luscombe, at the Jermyn Street Theatre, off Piccadilly, from 25th November.

The winter season at Salisbury Playhouse will include Mother Goose, written by Andrew Pollard, with Kieran Buckeridge, directed by Joyce Branagh, with choreography by Maggie Rawlinson, from 3rd December; and 84 Charing Cross Road, adapted and directed by James Roose-Evans, from the book by New York writer Helene Hanff, derived from her correspondence with the London bookseller Frank Doel, charting their unlikely long distance relationship from the 1940s to the 1960s, with Janie Dee, from 5th February.

The Edinburgh Fringe has launched its annual Roadshow seminars to give would be producers an idea of what is involved in taking part. Dates and locations are: Shaw Theatre, London, on 22nd November; Quaker Meeting House, Edinburgh, on 29th November; Live Streamed Roadshow, on 4th December; and Methodist Church, Edinburgh on 7th February. Events are free. Further information about the Fringe and these events can be found on the Fringe web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that the upcoming Sydney production of Rupert, a biographical play in the Shakespearian mould about Rupert Murdoch, by David Williamson (Australia's Alan Ayckbourn), currently featuring James Cromwell, is looking for a West End transfer next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.


Opening This Week

Dance ‘Til Dawn - Aldwych
Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace lead a company of 18 in a dance extravaganza set in 1940s Hollywood, about the romance between a starlet and her lover, featuring music and dances of the period.
John - National Lyttelton
DV8 Physical Theatre’s new verbatim dance theatre work exploring men’s stories of love, sex and personal struggles, conceived and directed by Lloyd Newson.
Made In Dagenham - Adelphi
Gemma Arterton and Adrian Der Gregorian in a new musical by Richard Bean, David Arnold and Richard Thomas, adapted from the film about the 1968 Ford factory women's strike for equal pay, directed by Rupert Goold.
2071 - Royal Court
Duncan Macmillan and Chris Rapley’s new play examining science and asking what do we owe future generations and how can we protect them, directed by Katie Mitchell.


First Nights

3rd - Dance ‘Til Dawn - Aldwych
4th - John - National Lyttelton
5th - Made In Dagenham - Adelphi
6th - 2071 - Royal Court
12th - White Christmas - Dominion
18th - Behind The Beautiful Forevers - National Olivier
26th - Room On The Broom - Lyric
29th - Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 - Barbican Theatre


1st - Evita - Dominion
14th - Romeo And Juliet - National Temporary
15th - 2071 - Royal Court
22nd - Forbidden Broadway - Vaudeville
29th - Henry IV - Donmar Warehouse
29th - Speed-the-Plow - Playhouse