News Archive

19th December 1997
Maggie Smith will be followed at the Haymarket Theatre by an even grander theatrical Dame in Edna: The Spectacle. After a Christmas break, A Delicate Balance will extend its run until 21st March, and Dame Edna Everage will open on 21st April. She will be assisted in her endeavours...
12th December 1997
EXCLUSIVE! Even before its Playhouse season of The Judas Kiss opens, the Almeida Theatre is planning a much more ambitious step. It is poised to sign a year long deal with a West End theatre, to present a repertory programme of four shows, each running for 12 weeks. This will be ...
5th December 1997
The National Theatre has announced two "outside the bunker" projects. Fiona Shaw is to perform T S Eliot's epic poem The Waste Land at Wilton's Music Hall in the East End. It is directed by Deborah Warner, and plays from 14th December to 11th January, mostly twice nightly at 7.30pm...
28th November 1997
Juliette Binoche is the latest name to be wooed by the Almeida Theatre. She will star in Pirandello's rarely performed Naked, directed by co-artistic director Jonathan Kent. The play tells the story of a woman who attempts suicide when a relationship goes wrong, but is redeemed by...
14th November 1997
Joining the wave of Fosse-mania sweeping the West End as a result of Chicago, Bonnie Langford is to star in Sweet Charity at the Queens Theatre next March. This will be the first major British revival since the original mid 1960's production, which firmly established the distinctive...
7th November 1997
The Chichester Festival Theatre production of Pinero's farce The Magistrate is transferring to the Savoy Theatre, opening on 9th December. It stars Ian Richardson and Abigail McKern, and is directed by Nicholas Broadhurst, with Duncan Weldon producing. The play was last seen in the...
31st October 1997
Only three months after its last financial crisis, the Royal Opera House is staring at a Wagnerian abyss once again. 230 casual staff have not been paid for up to three months, and pay cheques for some regular staff have bounced. A disastrous start to its first peripatetic season...
24th October 1997
Rumour has crystallised into fact regarding David Hare's new play, directed by Richard Eyre, in his first assignment since leaving the National Theatre, and starring Liam Neeson. It will definitely be titled The Judas Kiss (not Tree), and it will open directly in the West End, as...
17th October 1997
Michael White is transferring The King's Head production of The Boys In The Band to the Aldwych Theatre on 29th October for a short season. Matt Crowley's 1968 play is about a group of gay New York friends unexpectedly confronting a homophobic ex-college chum. Trailblazing in its...
10th October 1997
Liverpool Playhouse is in financial crisis, and has gone into administration for the second time in six years. Once again accountants Ernst and Young have taken charge of the theatre's financial management. The situation was resolved last time by the venue's debtors accepting part...
3rd October 1997
Lord Gowrie has resigned as Chairman of the Arts Council after being unable to reach a suitable working relationship with the Labour administration. He is regarded by the new brooms as elitist. This dramatic event comes at a time of mounting concern with the redefined "peoples lottery...
11th September 1997
In a game of West End musical chairs, the resurrection of Damn Yankees will now take place at the Savoy Theatre, instead of the Victoria Palace, with Jerry Lewis doing his Lazarus routine on 10th October. The switch has been made to enable the previously mentioned Play On! to benefit...
5th September 1997
The Royal Shakespeare Company has staged a commercial coup by securing the rights for the British premiere of L'Homme Du Hasard, a new play by Yasmina Reza, author of the hit comedy Art. It will be realised by the dream team of translator Christopher Hampton and director Matthew ...
29th August 1997
Reports are circulating that the government intends to cap the Arts Council's share of Lottery funding at 100m a year - less than half its current level - in order to divert money to pay for its health and social services election promises. The addition of a sixth "good cause" to...
22nd August 1997
The Old Vic is up for sale at a price of 7.5m. The Canadian owners, Ed Mervish and his son David, have conceded defeat in their struggle to make the historic theatre financially viable. Losses sustained by the current Peter Hall Company season have proved too great. Although artistically...
15th August 1997
Sandpiper Productions has secured a unique deal to bring The Slow Drag, which premiered at the Freedom Theatre in February, to the West End, opening on 5th November. The musical will share the Whitehall Theatre with the Jack Docherty TV programme. Recording of the Channel 5 chat ...
25th July 1997
Producers Duncan Weldon and Paul Elliot are to revive their long standing relationship to produce the new musical version of The Three Musketeers. With book by Peter Raby, music by George Stiles and lyrics by Paul Leigh it came second in last year's International Musical Of The Year...
18th July 1997
Bill Kenwright's troubled production of Pygmalion is now on its fourth director as Ray Cooney replaces Anne Mitchell. Hopefully our veteran farceur will make it to the Albery. Surprisingly the show is still on its second Eliza (Carli Norris) as no star name seems prepared to accept...
11th July 1997
Despite denials that anything has been decided, English National Opera looks set to abandon the London Coliseum in St Martin's Lane for a derelict site in the wasteland of London Bridge. ENO managers seem prepared to ignore the views of their board and supporters to pursue plans ...
4th July 1997
There is no news yet as to who the West End Eliza Doolittle will be in Bill Kenwright's troubled production of Pygmalion heading for the Albery Theatre on 28th July. But I can confirm that it will be followed at the Albery in October by Stepping Out The Musical. This is the adaptation...
27th June 1997
The inaugural Peter Hall Company Old Vic season looks to be heading for a £1m loss. Although it is claimed that the opening weeks went well, business has slumped recently, missing the 65% capacity target, and the 10 performance/7 day a week repertoire is proving more expensive...
20th June 1997
Apropos of Always, The Guardian asks: Is this the worst musical of all time? My response is: you should get out more. Of course it's a prize clunker which has no place in a West End theatre and is a complete waste of money which could have financed four interesting small scale shows...
13th June 1997
The previously mentioned stage version of Dr Dolittle is to star Phillip Schofield as the man who could talk to the animals. The possibilities of jokes based on that simple sentence are so vast that I cannot confine myself to just one - if you feel similarly inspired e-mail me your...
6th June 1997
The West End conquered Broadway in this year's Tony Awards with A Doll's House winning Janet McTeer - Best Actress, Owen Teale - Best Featured Actor, Anthony Page - Best Director, and Bill Kenwright in tandem with original London producer Thelma Holt - Best Revival Of A Play. Thelma...
30th May 1997
Plans have been announced for a new theatre on the site of Collins Music Hall, the famous venue at the northern end of Islington Green, which closed in the late 1950's. The building was gutted and used as a warehouse, and has been semi derelict for some years. The Royal Shakespeare...
23rd May 1997
Yet another Broadway hit musical revue, Bring In 'Da Noise, Bring In 'Da Funk is looking at a West End transfer next spring. Originally produced by the Joseph Papp Public Theatre, it's a celebration of the history of the beat, through tap and the percussion of NYC's subway bucket...
16th May 1997
The news of Chief Executive Genista McIntosh's sudden departure has swamped the Royal Opera House's announcement of its companies' perambulations around London during its closure. The Royal Opera, in addition to the already mentioned Autumn season at the Barbican Theatre and six ...
9th May 1997
Revival fever hits the West End! First there is confirmation of my rumour that the Donmar Warehouse has been outbid over Kander and Ebb's Chicago, which they were to have staged at Christmas. A British version of the current Broadway production will now open in the West End (probably...
1st May 1997
Word is that Andrew Lloyd Webber has drastically revised his plans for Whistle Down the Wind following the mixed reviews it received at the Washington try out, which stalled plans for a Broadway opening. He has parted company with both director Hal Prince and America. Gayle Edwards...
25th April 1997
The Mercury Workshop - the only writer-based organisation in Britain dedicated to the development and presentation of new musical theatre - has a new sponsorship plan to support the cause of new musical writing. To find out how you could become a Friend, a Good Friend, a Best Friend...
18th April 1997
The Ken Hill Memorial Trust is to offer a biennial Musical Theatre Award to help nurture new writing. The award will be a total of 5,000 for the winner - 1000 in cash, with the balance going towards the production costs of a week's showcase at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, ...
14th April 1997
As The Goodbye Girl finally reaches the Albery Theatre, changes appear in the billing. "A Musical Play" becomes "The Comedy Musical", and original lyricist David Zippel has asked for his name to be removed, since changes have been so radical that additional lyricist Don Black now...
4th April 1997
The Playhouse Theatre will reopen in June under new management as a producing venue for quality drama. These will be straight runs, as opposed to the repertoire system at the Old Vic. The opening production will be The Wood Demon, Chekov's second full length play, which was unsuccessful...
21st March 1997
The Vivian Ellis Prize for new musical theatre writing is being relaunched in its 13th year. A new charity, the Vivian Ellis Prize Ltd has been set up, sponsored by the Performing Rights Society, with support from the Friends of Vivian Ellis Prize, and in collaboration with Stoll...
14th March 1997
The Toronto/Broadway musical axis is in action again. Livent, the Canadian company which produced, and then transferred Kiss Of The Spider Woman and
7th March 1997
Have the lunatics taken over the asylum? The Battersea Arts Centre is offering four critics the opportunity to direct plays, which will be reviewed by performers and directors. Nicholas de Jong of the Evening Standard will stage Jean Anouilh's The Traveller Without Luggage to be ...
28th February 1997
Revue returns to the London stage with Then Again... at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith from 27th March to 19th April, with Desmond Barrit, Dawn French, Sheila Hancock, Neil Mullarkey and John Gould at the piano. Among those contributing material are Geoff Atkinson, Nicolas Bloomfield...
21st February 1997
The RSC production The Herbal Bed, written by Peter Whelan, is transferring from The Pit to the Duchess Theatre on 10th April, following Maureen Lipman's Live And Kidding. This new play is based on a true story about Shakespeare's eldest daughter and her affair with a married neighbour...
14th February 1997
Donmar Theatre's plans for this year include three musicals. The first is The Fix previously mentioned here, about an American political campaign, opening on 24th April. The second, opening on 11th September, is
7th February 1997
Although doom and gloom headlines abound regarding shows closing - as is customary every January and February - quite a few new shows have been announced this week. As exclusively revealed here last week, Ben Elton's Popcorn opens at the Apollo Theatre on 20th March. It features...
31st January 1997
Rumour has it that Ben Elton's stage adaptation of his novel Popcorn will be coming to the Apollo Theatre soon. The novel (currently being remaindered!) centres on the theme of violence in the movies, as two killers hold hostage a Hollywood director, on the evening he receives an...
24th January 1997
Members of the Society Of London Theatres have voted overwhelmingly against a proposal to publish weekly box office figures, as is normal for Broadway shows. Last year a number of leading producers said they were prepared to reveal returns if everyone else did. The majority view ...
14th January 1997
Robert Stigwood really seems to be getting back the taste for producing theatre in London . In addition to a stage version of Saturday Night Fever expected at the London Palladium in the summer, he has a new project. He is bringing a musical about the Italian castrato Fairnelli, ...
3rd January 1997
Good reports of the try-out production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Whistle Down The Wind in Washington. Based on Bryan Forbes's film of Mary Hayley Bell's novel, it relocates the action in the bible belt of the American deep south, of the 1950's. The story is about an escaped killer...