La Clique, the hard-to-define show that blurs the lines between burlesque, circus and cabaret, has extended its run at the Hippodrome until 14 June.
Nominated in this year’s Olivier awards, a brand new line up includes hula-hoop artist Marawa, comedienne Amy G and trapeze artist Erna Sommer. They join an eclectic and wildly talented mix of performers who include aerial hoop artist Bret Pfister, the Skating Willers and performance artist Ursula Martinez. Cabaret has never been so stylish and sexy.
In other extensions news, Alan Bennett’s Enjoy (see Review) starring Alison Steadman is extending at the Gielgud Theatre until 16 May, plus Michael Jackson tribute Thriller – Live and perennial thriller favourite The Woman In Black are also playing on.
9 to 5 The Musical
We await the opening of Dolly Parton’s new musical 9 to 5 with more than a little excitement. Scheduled to start previews on 24 March at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway, the reviews for its pre-Broadway LA outing at the Ahmanson Theatre weren’t overly glowing but we still think this is going to be a big crowd-pleaser. And with Allison Janney (The West Wing) starring as Violet – the role created by Lily Tomlin in the hit movie, plus all the songs penned by Dolly, we can’t see how this could go wrong.
Jane Fonda starred in the original movie version of 9 to 5 but obviously could not be tempted to resurrect her role in the Broadway show – opting instead for new play 33 Variations by Moisés Kaufman – which is now in previews at the Eugene O’Neill Theater (replacing recently closed Spring Awakening), with the opening night on the 9 March. The play revolves around a mother (Fonda) coming to terms with her daughter against a composer coming to terms with his genius – all separated by 200 years. Also starring is Colin Hanks – Tom Hanks’ oldest son.
Spider-Man – the musical
Is Spider-Man about to come to the rescue of Broadway?It seems so, as next year will see a major new musical featuring the comic book superhero, directed by Julie Taymor (The Lion King).The infamous Marvel Comics creation will feature in Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark which is being penned by Taymor and playwright Glen Berger with music by Bono and The Edge from U2.
It promises designs and theatrical set pieces never seen before on stage and if it succeeds on Broadway there is sure to be a West End transfer for the show.The show will feature choreography by Daniel Ezralow, scenic designs by George Tsypin (The Little Mermaid), and costume designer Eiko Ishioka (Bram Stoker’s Dracula).
We await casting news with baited breath. Also slated for next year is a new take on TV and movie hit The Addams Family. It seems likely that the trend for seeing movies on stage is only going to increase as the recession continues to hit Broadway.
Starting previews tomorrow is Blithe Spirit, Noël Coward’s classic comedy at the Shubert Theater on Broadway. Our very own Rupert Everett heads the cast as a successful novelist haunted by his biggest fan — his deceased first wife. Angela Lansbury also stars as the inimitable Madam Arcati. Directed by Michael Blakemore.
The 4th March 2009 will mark the 1,000th performance of the show that continues to pack them in. The 39 Steps started out as a small show that no-one predicted would still be around 1,000 performances later – much less also running on Broadway.
Not even the Hitchcock original – or Rupert Penry-Jones’ recent attempt – can match the brilliant and hilariously recreated stage antics of this show, created by Patrick Barlow and directed by Maria Aitken. It deserved to win the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy as a group of four fearless actors, play 139 roles in 100 minutes of fast-paced fun and thrilling action.
John Buchanan would be proud.
In “Not In Front of the Audience”, Nicholas de Jongh’s 1992 book about homosexuality on stage, there is no mention of John Gielgud’s 1953 arrest and conviction for “importuning male persons for an immoral purpose”.
It was a significant event in Gielgud’s career and in queer British history, but its omission highlights the respect and courtesy Gielgud commanded during his lifetime.
De Jongh finally gets to address the omission in his new play Plague Over England, first performed at the Finborough Theatre and now at the Duchess Theatre for a limited run.
When it first premiered in London in 1980, Alan Bennett’s short-lived ‘Enjoy‘ had so many critical brickbats hurled at it, it was buried alive. Despite the fact it resonated with echoes of Pinter, Orton and Beckett, it was an unpleasant and unenjoyable concoction for a West End audience who preferred their Bennett served up in a cosier more straightforward manner. It was also far too long and suffered fatally from a clash of styles.
Christopher Luscombe’s revival, despite a 15% cut in the text, is still a tad too long, and stylistically still veers all over the place like a drunken navvy. But its time has finally come and it now emerges as a seriously funny social satire on the disappearing life-style of the lower middle-classes.
After Gareth Gates, do we have a new Joseph?
Gareth Gates seems to be doing a fine job in Joseph at the Adelphi Theatre – at least if comments on the westendtheatre blog are anything to go by. Whilst musing on Spring Awakening’s demise on Broadway, we turn our attention to Hunter Parrish – pot smoking star of TV’s Weeds – who recently played the lead role of Melchior on Broadway.
Well known for his love of all things theatrical, in a recent interview he said: “I want them to bring back Joseph [and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat]. If anyone has that idea, I’m your man!” Could he be prize casting post-Gareth – or in any future Andrew Lloyd Webber Broadway plans?
August the Movie?
Apparently a film version of August: Osage County, the play by Tracy Letts that wowed critics and audiences alike at the National Theatre recently, is on the cards. Written by Letts herself, the Weinstein Company is backing the adaptation and aiming for a 2011 release. There are some potential dream casting scenarios for this one.
There is much oo-ing and ahh-ing over this year’s Chichester Festival Theatre season, with lots of big name stars. Chief amongst them is Joseph Fiennes who is to headline Trevor Nunn‘s staging of Cyrano de Bergerac; also Rupert Goold directs Enron before it makes it’s way to the Royal Court; Oklahoma! gets a revival from Sweeney Todd stage director John Doyle, Iain Glen stars in a new adaptation of Friedrich Schiller play Wallenstein, and Diana Rigg stars as Judith Bliss in a revival of Noel Coward’s Hay Fever.
A Little Night Music
After much speculation, Trevor Nunn’s critic-pleasing revival of A Little Night Music will wing its way across the river and into the Garrick Theatre from 28 March, replacing Zorro. Following the Menier Chocolate Factory’s sell out production of Stephen Sondheim’s lyrical musical, the talented and accomplished cast includes Hannah Waddingham as Desiree, Maureen Lipman as Madame Armfeldt, Alexander Hanson as Fredrik, Kelly Price as Countess Charlotte Malcolm and Jessie Buckley as Anne Egerman.
Also controversial and oh so hip musical Spring Awakening based on Frank Wedekind’s classic play, will transfer from the Lyric Hammersmith to the Novello Theatre in mid March after Avenue Q has vacated the building. Spring Awakening shocked Broadway recently when it closed on 18 January after a respectable but all-too-brief run of two years despite winning eight Tony awards.
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Writer Lucy Prebble
Well not quite “the musical” but it would be fabulous! Ridiculously young and talented playwright Lucy Prebble (creator of the Secret Diary of a Call Girl TV series) is turning the infamous American corporate scandal into a new play, which also promises music, movement and video. This could all go so easily wrong if it wasn’t that man of the moment Rupert Goold (Oliver!), teaming up again with Oliver! designer Anthony Ward, is at the helm. Promising to cast new light on the scandal, the play opens at the Royal Court Theatre in September.
It was a good night for Shakespeare yesterday at the Whatsonstage Theatregoers Choice awards, held at the Prince of Wales theatre in London.
There were a number of awards for the Donmar’s Othello, including Best Shakespearan production, best director for Michael Grandage and best supporting actor for Tom Hiddleston. Also the RSC’s Hamlet received gongs for best regional production and theatre event of the year – to celebrate David Tennant’s performance and return to the stage.
As is often the case with awards chosen by the public, the spread of shows and talent was very wide, ranging from awards for musicals La Cage Aux Folles, West Side Story and Jersey Boys, to plays Under the Blue Sky, Fat Pig and The Female of the Species.
Kenneth Branagh must also be particularly delighted to have received best actor for Ivanov after being passed over by the Olivier Awards panel.
Othello – Donmar West End. Photograph: Tristram Kenton
Best Actress in a Play – Katy Stephens – The Histories, RSC at the Roundhouse
Best Actor in a Play – Kenneth Branagh – Ivanov, Donmar West End at Wyndham’s
Best Supporting Actress in a Play – Sophie Thompson – The Female of the Speciesat the Vaudeville
Best Supporting Actor in a Play – Tom Hiddleston – Othello at the Donmar Warehouse & Ivanov, Donmar West End at Wyndham’s
Best Actress in a Musical – Sofia Escobar – West Side Story at Sadler’s Wells
Best Actor in a Musical – Ryan Molloy – Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical – Tracie Bennett – La Cage aux Folles at the Playhouse
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical – Stephen Ashfield – Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward
Best Solo Performance – Eddie Izzard – Stripped at the Lyric
Best Ensemble Performance – Into the Hoods – at the Novello
Best Takeover in a Role – Daniel Boys – Avenue Q at the Noël Coward
Best New Play – Under the Blue Sky by David Eldridge – at the Duke of York’s
Best New Comedy – Fat Pig by Neil LaBute – at Trafalgar Studios & the Comedy
Best New Musical – Jersey Boys by Bob Gaudio, Bob Crewe, Rick Elice & Marshall Brickman – at the Prince Edward
Best Play Revival – Ivanov, Donmar West End – at Wyndham’s
Best Musical Revival – West Side Story – at Sadler’s Wells
The Best Shakespearean Production – Othello – at the Donmar Warehouse
Best Director – Michael Grandage – Othello & The Chalk Garden at the Donmar Warehouse & Ivanov, Donmar West End at Wyndham’s
Best Set Designer – Klara Zieglerova – Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward
Best Lighting Designer – Malcolm Rippeth – Brief Encounter at The Cinema, Haymarket & Six Characters in Search of an Author at the Gielgud
Best Choreographer – Lynne Page – La Cage aux Folles at the Menier Chocolate Factory & Playhouse
London Newcomer of the Year – Josh Hartnett – Rain Man at the Apollo
Best Off-West End Production – Come Dancing – at Theatre Royal Stratford East
Best Regional Production – Hamlet – RSC at the Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Theatre Event of the Year – David Tennant returning to the stage in Hamlet for the RSC
Helen Mirren will take her starring role in Phedre, premiering at the National Theatre in June, to the USA. She will perform at Washington, D.C.’s Shakespeare Theater Company. Directed by Nicholas Hytner and co-starring Dominic Cooper fresh from his Mamma Mia movie success, Jean Racine’s tragedy will also be broadcast in the UK on cinema screens in a new trial by the National to broaden its audience.