March 5, 2014
The hype surrounding the new movie version of hit West End and Broadway show Wicked probably didn’t need a boost.
But a boost it got when the The Sun newspaper ran gossip that One Direction’s Harry Styles has been tipped to play Fiyero in the new big-budget movie version of the musical.
The producers of the movie and the stage show, Marc Platt and David Stone, were not playing the game and refused to comment on the gossip – but it has set the interweb on fire with rumours that 1D may split, that Harry could launch himself a new acting career, or even that Mr Styles may move to musicals in the not-too-distant future.
Either way it seems that production on the Wicked movie is picking up pace, with Universal Pictures on board for distribution (their theatre division Universal Stage Productions co-produce the stage show, and they had more than a little success distributing Cameron Mackintosh’s movie blockbuster Les Miserables).
Other rumours are that Stephen Daldry, director of Billy Elliot – the movie and musical, is set to take the helm as director, and that Glee’s Lea Michele is under consideration for Elphaba.
Movie musicals are having a massive boost post Les Mis, with Sondheim’s Into The Woods set for release later this year (Christmas Day in the USA and 9 January 2015 in the UK) in Rob Marshall’s starry movie featuring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine amongst others.
March 3, 2014
Olivier Award winning actress Ruthie Henshall to join the cast of Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre.
Much-loved West End and Broadway star Ruthie Henshall is to join the cast of multi-award winning musical Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre.
Taking the role of Billy’s dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson, Ruthie will star in the show from 12 May 2014.
Billy Elliot has played for nearly nine years at the Victoria Palace Theatre and has been seen by over 9.5 million people worldwide.
Directed by Stephen Daldry with choreography by Peter Darling, the show features music by Elton John, has a book and lyrics by Lee Hall.
Also joining the cast in May is Chris Grahamson as Billy’s brother Tony and Barnaby Meredith returns to play Older Billy. Ann Emery will continue to play Grandma, with Deka Walmsley will continue as Billy’s dad.
The full cast from 12 May 2014 features: Ruthie Henshall (Mrs Wilkinson), Deka Walmsley (Dad), Chris Grahamson (Tony), Ann Emery (Grandma), Howard Crossley (George) and Barnaby Meredith (Older Billy). They are joined by Claudia Bradley and David Muscat in their new roles as Dead Mum and Mr. Braithwaite respectively. Ensemble members are Craig Armstrong, David Bardsley, Paul Basleigh, Spencer Cartwright, Lucinda Collins, Gillian Elisa, Lee Hoy, Ruri James, Chris Jenkins, Charlie Martin, Alan Mehdizadeh, Steve Paget, Ben Redfern, Charlotte Riby, Mark John Richardson, Mike Scott, Phil Snowden, Wendy Somerville, Spencer Stafford and David Stoller.
The role of Billy is alternated by Elliott Hanna, Bradley Perret, Redmand Rance and Mitchell Tobin. Zach Atkinson, Zak Baker, and Freddie Butterfield play the role of Billy’s best friend Michael. Dayna Dixon, Demi Lee and Millie Thornton play Debbie.
February 14, 2014
Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan star in Stephen Daldry’s new production of David Hare’s play Skylight at the Wyndham’s Theatre.
Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) directs a new production of David Hare’s acclaimed play Skylight, which will play the Wyndham’s Theatre from 6 June 2014 to 23 August 2014.
Cary Mulligan (The Great Gatsby) makes her West End debut in the play, alongside Bill Nighy (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and Matthew Beard (An Education).
The show’s designs are by Bob Crowley with lighting by Natasha Katz, sound by Paul Arditti and music by Paul Englishby.
Teacher Kyra Hollis (Carey Mulligan), who is eking out an existence in London, is visited on the same evening by a father and son: she had been living years earlier with the Sergeant family but left after an affair with the father, Tom Sergeant (Bill Nighy). The son Edward (Matthew Beard) saw her as a big sister who abandoned him and demands to know why she left in the way she did. Later, Tom arrives, her much older ex who is a successful restaurant entrepreneur. Where once they shared opinions on everything, from politics to class, now they stand divided.
The play features major Hollywood stars Carey Mulligan as Kyra Hollis, Bill Nighy as Tom Sergeant, alongside Matthew Beard as Edward.
March 8, 2013
Production photos of The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre starring Helen Mirren
Stephen Dalrdy’s production of The Audience by Peter Morgan has opened at the Gielgud Theatre in London.
Joining Helen Mirren who plays The Queen in the world premiere of Peter Morgan’s The Audience are Michael Elwyn as Anthony Eden, Haydn Gwynne as Margaret Thatcher, Richard McCabe as Harold Wilson, Nathaniel Parker as Gordon Brown, Paul Ritter as John Major, Rufus Wright as David Cameron and Edward Fox as Winston Churchill. The Equerry is Geoffrey Beevers and the role of Young Elizabeth is played by Bebe Cave, Maya Gerber and Nell Williams. David Peart plays James Callaghan who is joined by ensemble members Jonathan Coote, Ian Houghton and Charlotte Moore.
The Audience runs until 15 June 2013 at the Gielgud Theatre. Designs are by Bob Crowley with lighting by Rick Fisher, sound by Paul Arditti, music by Paul Englishby and video by Ian William Galloway.
Photos by Johan Persson
Viewing this on a tablet or mobile? Click here to see photos
March 8, 2013
A round-up of reviews of The Audience starring Helen Mirren at the Gielgud Theatre.
Helen Mirren follows her acclaimed on-screen performance as Elizabeth II in a new play by The Queen writer Peter Morgan, charting the 60 years of weekly audiences the Queen has granted her Prime Ministers.
Award-winning director Stephen Daldry directs Mirren and an all star cast of British Prime Ministers through the ages including Michael Elwyn as Anthony Eden, Haydn Gwynne as Margaret Thatcher, Edward Fox as Winston Churchill, Richard McCabe as Harold Wilson, Nathaniel Parker as Gordon Brown, Paul Ritter as John Major and Rufus Wright as David Cameron. The Equerry is Geoffrey Beevers and the role of Young Elizabeth will be played by Bebe Cave, Maya Gerber and Nell Williams.
Read reviews of The Audience, below, from the Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, Evening Standard and more.
February 14, 2013
Helen Mirren as Her Majesty The Queen in Peter Morgan’s new play The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre in London.
The first photo has been released of Dame Helen Mirren as The Queen in new play The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre in London.
Written by “The Queen” screenwriter Peter Morgan, the play is set during the Queen’s weekly audience with her Prime Ministers and spans The Queen’s entire 60 year reign.
Stephen Daldry directs Mirren and an all star cast of British Prime Ministers through the ages including Michael Elwyn as Anthony Eden, Haydn Gwynne as Margaret Thatcher, Robert Hardy as Winston Churchill, Richard McCabe as Harold Wilson, Nathaniel Parker as Gordon Brown, Paul Ritter as John Major and Rufus Wright as David Cameron. The Equerry is Geoffrey Beevers and the role of Young Elizabeth will be played by Bebe Cave, Maya Gerber and Nell Williams.
The Audience is now playing at the Gielgud Theatre in London until 15 June 2013.
Photo by Johan Persson.
February 1, 2013
Rehearsal photos of The Audience starring Helen Mirren at the Gielgud Theatre.
Some productions are hyped as “greatly anticipated” and some actually deserve the badge. In the last few years it’s hard to think of a new West End play that has created such a buzz as The Audience, the latest work by The Queen and The Deal scriptwriter Peter Morgan.
Morgan returns to the subjects of Her Majesty The Queen and government in this new play set during the Queen’s weekly audiences with her Prime Ministers.
Directed by Stephen Daldry, fresh from managing the success of the opening and closing ceremonies at London’s Olympic games, The Audience sees Helen Mirren put her crown back on as The Queen, following her Oscar winning movie performance as the monarch.
She is joined by a solid line-up of talent to play her prime ministers through the ages, including Michael Elwyn as Anthony Eden, Haydn Gwynne as Margaret Thatcher, Robert Hardy as Winston Churchill, Richard McCabe as Harold Wilson, Nathaniel Parker as Gordon Brown, Paul Ritter as John Major and Rufus Wright as David Cameron. The Equerry is Geoffrey Beevers and the role of Young Elizabeth will be played by Bebe Cave, Maya Gerber and Nell Williams.
The Audience kicks off at the Gielgud Theatre from 15 February 2013.
Photos by Johan Persson.
Viewing this on a tablet or mobile? Click here to see photos
January 17, 2013
Oscar winning actress Helen Mirren returns to the role of Her Majesty The Queen in Peter Morgan’s new drama The Audience.
Helen Mirren has never been scared of returning to play a character that she loves. She immortalised DCI Jane Tennison in the extraordinary ITV detective series Prime Suspect over a period of 15 years, with the final two instalments both coaxing her back to the part.
So it’s not unexpected that Mirren has agreed to return to another role for which she has enjoyed huge acclaim, and another notably strong female character at that.
Her Oscar-winning performance in Peter Morgan’s film The Queen, set against the death of Princess Diana, was a career-defining role for the actress.
And now Peter Morgan has returned to the subject of Her Maj in new stage play The Audience, that covers The Queen’s weekly private audiences with her Prime Ministers, to open at the Gielgud Theatre from 15 February 2013.
Helen Mirren stars as The Queen in Peter Morgan’s The Audience alongside Michael Elwyn as Anthony Eden, Nathaniel Parker as Gordon Brown, Rufus Wright as David Cameron, Haydn Gwynne as Margaret Thatcher, Robert Hardy as Winston Churchill and Paul Ritter as John Major.
With Stephen Daldry, fresh from his Olympics success, directing the play and Bob Crowley designing, we expect great things.
November 26, 2012
At a starry ceremony last night at the Savoy Hotel in London, the Evening Standard presented the winners of its annual theatre awards, hosted by James Corden.
The Royal Court enjoyed a timely success as its West End transfer of Constellations starring Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall scooped a Best New Play award for Nick Payne. Currently playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre, Payne, at 29, is the youngest playwright to win the award.
Royal Court associate director Simon Godwin also won a new award, the Burberry award for emerging director, after being nominated last year for best newcomer for Nick Payne’s Wanderlust at the Royal Court. His recent Royal Court productions include The Acid Test, Goodbye To All That and The Witness.
This year’s ceremony felt dominated by the world of fashion, including a star-turn by American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who is daughter of the late Standard editor Charles Wintour, and sponsorship by Burberry, with their chief creative officer Christopher Bailey co-hosting the awards.
Charles Wintour’s name is associated with the most promising playwright award, which this year went to Lolita Chakrabarti for her sell-out play Red Velvet starring Adrian Lester at the Tricycle.
The creativity of the London Olympics opening ceremony was honoured as Danny Boyle and his team took home the Beyond Theatre award, with Boyle using his acceptance speech to argue for the inclusion of arts subjects in the English Baccalaureate. Creative director of the Olympic ceremonies Stephen Daldry was also presented with a special award at the end of the evening by Stephen Fry.
Dame Judi Dench received an award for her contribution to world theatre, saying that she loved making movies such as recent James Bond film Skyfall but that her “absolute passion is the theatre”. She will star alongside Skyfall’s Ben Wishaw this March in Peter and Alice, part of Michael Grandage’s new season of plays at the Noel Coward Theatre.
First up in the Grandage season is Privates on Parade starring Simon Russell Beale, who took home the best actor award last night for his performance as Stalin in Collaborators at the National Theatre.
It was a good night for the National with the National Theatre’s artistic director Nicholas Hytner winning the best director gong for his production of Timon of Athens – which also starred Simon Russell Beale – and the Lebedev special award for Hytner’s dynamic directorship of the National Theatre. David Hare, who has had a long and successful association with the National Theatre, was awarded the Editor’s award for his contribution to theatre.
Nicholas Hytner joined the protests about Arts cuts saying that they made no economic sense and calling for Culture Secretary Maria Miller to fund theatres to stimulate philanthropic giving.
The Donmar Warehouse’s first season under the stewardship of Josie Rourke saw the best design award go to Soutra Gilmour for Inadmissible Evidence plus design of Antigone at the National, and much talked-about young British actor Matthew Tennyson won a Milton Shulman award for outstanding newcomer for the Donmar’s Making Noise Quietly.
In other categories, Hattie Morahan won the best actress prize for her performance as Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the Young Vic and best musical went to Jonathan Kent’s production of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, which transferred from Chichester to the Adelphi Theatre.
Hosts of the awards included Homeland’s Damian Lewis and Tinie Tempah, with guests including Colin Firth, Sir Ian McKellen, Ruth Wilson, Bill Nighy and Ralph Fiennes.
[prw username="westendtheatre" boardname="west-end-awards" maxfeeds="3" target="newwindow" showfollow="medium"]
November 2, 2012
Joining Helen Mirren as The Queen in the world premiere of Peter Morgan’s The Audience will be Haydn Gwynne who will play Margaret Thatcher, Robert Hardy as Winston Churchill and Paul Ritter as John Major. Stephen Daldry’s production will preview at the Gielgud Theatre from 15 February 2013, with press night on 5 March 2013 and is currently booking to 15 June 2013. Designs are by Bob Crowley, lighting by Rick Fisher and sound is by Paul Arditti and video by Ian William Galloway. Further casting will be announced shortly.
For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace – a meeting like no other in British public life – it is private. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said. Not even to their spouses.
The Audience breaks this contract of silence – and imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister has used these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional – sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive. In turn, the Queen can’t help but reveal her own self as she advises, consoles and, on occasion, teases.
From young mother to grandmother these private audiences chart the arc of the second Elizabethan Age. Politicians come and go through the revolving door of electoral politics, while she remains constant, waiting to welcome her next Prime Minister.
Haydn Gwynne is reunited with Stephen Daldry having played Mrs Wilkinson in the world premiere of Billy Elliot The Musical, a role she later recreated on Broadway where she won the Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. She can currently be seen on tour playing Stephanie Abrahams opposite William Gaunt in Duet for One. Her other recent theatre credits include Queen Elizabeth I in Richard III in Sam Mendes’ The Bridge Project, Susan in Becky Shaw at the Almeida Theatre and Mrs Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor in Greg Doran’s Royal Shakespeare Company production. On television her credits include Midsomer Murders, The Great Game, New Tricks, Dalziel & Pascoe, Consenting Adults and Drop the Dead Donkey. Her film credits include Hunky Dory, These Foolish Things, Remember Me and The Pleasure Principle.
Paul Ritter has recently been seen at the National Theatre in Marianne Elliot’s sell-out production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. His other National Theatre credits include The Hothouse, The Reporter, The Coast of Utopia, Howard Katz and Coram Boy and for the Royal Shakespeare Company his credits include Troilus and Cressida and The White Devil. His other theatre credits include The Norman Conquests and The Birthday Party in the West End and Accidental Death of An Anarchist for the Donmar Warehouse. On television he can currently be seen in Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner. His other television credits include The Function Room, Vera, Great Expectations, Land Girls, The Night Watch and Lark Rise to Candleford. His film credits include Complicit, The Eagle, Nowhere Boy, Quantum of Solace, On a Clear Day, The Libertine and The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz.
Theatre, film and television actor Robert Hardy has previously played Churchill seven times including Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years and most recently in Celui qui a dit Non in Paris in French. His extensive theatre career includes four seasons in Stratford for the Royal Shakespeare Company and two seasons at the Old Vic. In the UK and US his theatre credits include Hamlet, Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and King Lear and in the West End his credits include Rosmersholm, The Rehearsal, A Severed Head, The Constant Couple, Habeas Corpus and Dear Liar. His film credits include The Shooting Party, The Far Pavilions, Paris by Night, War and Remembrance, Sense and Sensibility, Mrs Dalloway, The Titchborne Claimant ,The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and four Harry Potter films as Cornelius Fudge. He played Siegfried Farnon in the television adaptation of James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small and was made a CBE in the 1981 Queen’s Birthday honours.
The Audience is produced in the West End by Matthew Byam Shaw for Playful Productions, Robert Fox and Andy Harries.
Release issued by: Premier PR