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News and Events

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th June 2018

The autumn/winter season at the Old Vic will include the premiere of Angela Carter's Wise Children, about twin chorus girls and their theatrical family, adapted and directed by Emma Rice, opening on 17th October; the return of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, in the version by Jack Thorne, with Stephen Tompkinson, directed by Matthew Warchus, opening on 5th December; and the premiere of Luke Harding's A Very Expensive Poison, an expose of the events surrounding the death of Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, adapted by Lucy Prebble, in January.

The Broadway League has announced that Broadway shows broke the all-time revenue record during the 2017/2018 theatre season, a 53 week leap year running from 22nd May 2017 to 27th May 2018, grossing $1.69bn, up from $1.45bn the previous year, with 13.79m paid attendances, again the highest ever, up from 13.27m the previous year. In 2017/2018 there were 33 new productions, down 1 from the previous year, comprising 10 musicals (7 new and 3 revivals), 20 plays (10 new 10 and revivals), and 3 special events, performing for a total of 1,624 playing weeks, up from 1,580 the previous year. Broadway attendance was more than 3.5m greater than the home attendance of New York and New Jersey's 10 professional sports teams combined.

Seussical The Musical, based on characters from the stories of Dr Seuss (children's author Theodore Geisel), book and lyrics by Lyn Ahrens, book and music by Stephen Flaherty, co-conceived with Eric Idle, directed by James Tobias, with choreography by Chris Whittaker, will open at Southwark Playhouse, at the Elephant and Castle, on 27th November.

The autumn season at Nottingham Playhouse will include the musical Sweet Charity, book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Dorothy Fields, adapted from the Federico Fellini film Nights Of Cabiria, telling of the trials and tribulations of an over optimistic New York dance hall hostess who is a poor judge of men, with Rebecca Trehearn, Marc Elliiot, Amy Ellen Richardson, Carly Mercedes Dyer, Danny Collins and Carl Sanderson, directed by Bill Buckhurst, with choreography by Alistair David, opening on 5th September; Diane Samuels's Kindertransport, the story of a 9 year old girl transported from Germany to Manchester in 1938, as part of the evacuation of around 10,000 unaccompanied Jewish children, directed by Fiona Buffini, opening on 9th October; and Alan Bennett's The Madness Of George III, the epic play combining drama, politics and humour into a vivid theatrical portrait of 18th century English history, with Mark Gattiss and Adrian Scarborough, directed by Adam Penfold, opening on 6th November.

The new season at the Gate Theatre in Noting Hill Gate will include Jean Cocteau's The Human Voice, a young woman's phone conversation with her lover as he tells her he is leaving her, translated and directed by Daniel Raggatt, opening on 18th September; Jamaica Kincaid's A Small Place, examining Western colonial exploitation, directed by Anna Himali Howard, opening on 13th November; Sarah Ruhl's Dear Elizabeth, based on over 400 letters between American poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, directed by Ellen McDougall, opening on 22nd January; and Wolfram Lotz's The Ridiculous Darkness, looking at Western society's inability to comprehend the realities of distant warzones and global trade, translated by Daniel Brunet, adapted and directed by Daniel Simpson Pike, opening on 5th March.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Broadway musical Come From Away, book, music and lyrics by David Hein and Irene Sankoff, about the day when 38 planes from around the world, with 7,000 passengers and crews, were diverted to a small Canadian community, on September 11, 2001, will transfer to the Phoenix Theatre next February. The Rumour Machine grinds on.


Opening This Week

Sea Wall - Old Vic
Andrew Scott performing Simon Stephens's play in which a seemingly happy and content man talking about his family gradually descends into darker thoughts, directed by George Perrin.
Kiss Me, Kate - London Coliseum
Cole Porter's classic backstage musical about a touring production of The Taming Of The Shrew, with a feuding ex-married couple playing the leading roles - not to mention two gangsters 'brushing up their Shakespeare'.


First Nights

12th - The Lehman Trilogy - National Lyttelton
19th - Sea Wall - Old Vic
19th - The Jungle - Playhouse
20th - Kiss Me, Kate - London Coliseum
25th - The Turn Of The Screw - Regent's Park Open Air
27th - The Winter's Tale - Shakespeare's Globe
30th - Imperium Parts I & II - Gielgud
3rd - The King And I - London Palladium
4th - The Lieutenant On Inishmore - Noel Coward
5th - The Jungle - Playhouse
11th - As You Like It - Regent's Park Open Air


15th - Peter Pan - Regent's Park Open Air
16th - Mood Music - Old Vic
16th - Absolute Hell - National Lyttelton
16th - Quiz - Noel Coward
23rd - Macbeth - National Olivier
30th - The Turn Of The Screw - Regent's Park Open Air
30th - The Moderate Soprano - Duke of York's
30th - Sea Wall - Old Vic
30th - The Two Nobel Kinsmen - Shakespeare's Globe
30th - Kiss Me, Kate - London Coliseum
14th - An Ideal Husband - Vaudeville