Multi-Oscar nominee Ellen Burstyn to join Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss in The Children’s Hour

Ellen Burstyn. Photo: Howard Schatz

Ellen Burstyn. Photo: Howard Schatz

Further casting has been announced for The Children’s Hour, previewing at the Comedy Theatre from 22 January 2011.

Joining Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss in Ian Rickson’s new production of Lillian Hellman’s classic, controversial play is American actress Ellen Burstyn, who will make her London stage debut in the production.

Other cast will include well-known US stage and screen star Carol Kane, Bryony Hannah, Tobias Menzies, Nancy Crane, Amy Dawson and Isabel Ellison.

Academy, Tony and BAFTA award-winning actress Ellen Burstyn will play Amelia in the drama. Her long and successful movie and stage career includes six Oscar nominations for movies that include The Exorcist, Same Time Next Year and Requiem for a Dream.

Carol Kane will feature as Lily, and is best known for her appearance in US sitcom Taxi and has enjoyed multiple TV and movie roles, along with high-profile stage performances including Madam Morrible in Wicked on Broadway and in Nora and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss and What I Wore.

Elisabeth Moss, who plays ambitious young copywriter Peggy Olson in the hit AMC series Mad Men will play Martha Dobie in the play, alongside Keira Knightley as Karen Wright. Elisabeth Moss has performed on stage in the 2008 Broadway revival of David Mamet’s Speed The Plow. Keira Knightley will make a return to the West End after her success in The Misanthrope at the Comedy Theatre earlier this year.

Lillian Hellman’s 1934 play The Children’s Hour, will see Moss and Knightley play two schoolmistresses who run a girl’s boarding school in the 1930s. When a schoolgirl’s whisper spreads, it triggers a chain of events with extraordinary consequences.

The last London production of The Children’s Hour was at the National Theatre in 1994 starring Clare Higgins and Harriet Walter. Movie director William Wyler produced two films based on the play, the first in 1936 which had to adapt the story into a heterosexual love triangle, and again in 1961 starring Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine and James Garner.

Ex-Royal Court artistic director Ian Rickson will direct The Children’s Hour, following his huge hit with Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem in 2009. The play will be produced by Sonia Friedman and Scott Landis and is widely tipped to transfer to Broadway following its West End run.

Book tickets to The Children’s Hour at the Comedy Theatre in London

CAST CREDITS

Ellen Burstyn

Nominated six times for an Oscar for her roles in The Last Picture Show, The Exorcist, Same Time Next Year, Resurrection and Requiem for a Dream, Ellen’s many film credits include Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore for which she won the Best Actress BAFTA as well as the Academy Award. Her more recent film credits include Olivier Stone’s W. in which she played Barbara Bush, Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain and Neil LaBute’s remake of The Wicker Man. She can be seen on screen in the forthcoming The Mighty Macs and Main Street. Her many US theatre credits include Same Time Next Year for which she won the Tony Award, 84 Charing Cross Road, Shirley Valentine and Long Day’s Journey Into Night, as well as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s production of The Little Flower of East Orange for the Public Theater and LAByrinth Theater Company. Burstyn’s television credits include the title role in The People vs. Jean Harris and Pack of Lies, for both which she was Emmy nominated, That’s Life, The Five People You Meet in Heaven and The Book of Daniel.

Carol Kane

Carol Kane is best known on television for playing Simka Dahblitz-Gravas, wife of Latka Gravas, in the hugely popular US sitcom Taxi for which she won two Emmy awards. Her other television credits include regular roles in the American sitcoms All is Forgiven and American Dreamer as well as guest appearances in Chicago Hope, Seinfeld, Pearl, Two and a Half Men and Ugly Betty. Her film roles include Gitl in Hester Street for which she was Academy award-nominated, Allison Portchnik in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, Dog Day Afternoon, The Princess Bride, Scrooged, Addams Family Values, The Pacifier and My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. She began her professional theatre career in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and has more recently played Madam Morrible in Wicked on Broadway, on tour in the US and in Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Her other theatre credits include The Tempest and Macbeth at the Lincoln Centre Theater and earlier this year she was seen off Broadway in Nora and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss and What I Wore.

Nancy Crane

Nancy is currently featuring in Design for Living at the Old Vic. Her other theatre credits include Love the Sinner and Angels in America for the National Theatre, Now or Later, The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, Our Late Night and The Strip for the Royal Court, Chains of Dew and Trifles at the Orange Tree, Girl in the Goldfish Bowl and Six Degrees of Separation for Sheffield Theatres and Habitat for Manchester Royal Exchange. On television her credits include Law & Order, Cambridge Spies, Strike Force, The Last Days of Patton and 92 Grosvenor Street. Her film credits include The Special Relationship, The Dark Knight, The Road to Guantanamo, The Machinist and The Fourth Protocol.

Amy Dawson

Amy’s stage credits include That Face for Sheffield Theatres, Edmond for the Theatre Royal Haymarket, I’ll Leave It To You for Pentameters Theatre and Accidental Heroes and School Journey to the Centre of the Early both for the Lyric Hammersmith.

Isabel Ellison

Isabel trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and has recently been seen in Red Bud at the Royal Court Theatre.

Bryony Hannah

Theatre credits for the National Theatre include Earthquakes in London, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, The Pillowman and War Horse. Her other theatre credits include Breathing Irregular for the Gate Theatre, The Winter’s Tale for Headlong, The Crucible for Sheffield Theatres, The 24 Hour Plays for the Old Vic and The Black Sheep at the Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh. On screen her credits include Cemetery Junction and Reversals.

Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley recently starred on stage in Thea Sharrock’s acclaimed production of The Misanthrope at the Comedy Theatre in 2009. Her many film credits include Never Let Me Go which opened the 2010 London Film Festival, Bend It Like Beckham, Love Actually, The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, King Arthur, The Jacket, Pride and Prejudice, Domino, Silk, Atonement, The Edge of Love, The Duchess, Last Night and the forthcoming London Boulevard and A Dangerous Method. Her television credits include the critically-acclaimed remake of Doctor Zhivago, Oliver and Coming Home.

Tobias Menzies

Tobias is best known for playing Brutus in BBC and HBO’s Rome. On stage his many credits include Edgar in King Lear at the Young Vic, Cloud Nine and Platonov for the Almeida Theatre, The Cherry Orchard for Sheffield Theatres, The History Boys for the National Theatre, the title role in Rupert Goold’s production of Hamlet at the Theatre Royal Northampton and Michael Blakemore’s production of Three Sisters at the Playhouse Theatre. His film credits include Atonement, Pierrepoint, Casino Royale and Anton Chekhov’s The Duel. His further television credits include Spooks, The Deep, Pulling and Persuasion.

Elisabeth Moss

Elisabeth is best known for playing the role of Peggy Olson in the ongoing award-winning television series Mad Men, for which she has received both Emmy Award and SAG Award nominations, as well as for the role of Zoe Bartlett in The West Wing. Moss made her Broadway stage debut in David Mamet’s Speed- the-Plow in 2008. Her film credits include Get Him to the Greek, Did you Hear About the Morgans? and Girl, Interrupted, as well as the forthcoming On the Road and Darling Companion.

Book tickets to The Children’s Hour at the Comedy Theatre in London