Category Archives: London

‘Frankenstein’ returns for Halloween; National Theatre Live schedules Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart


Very smart programming for National Theatre Live to re-release Frankenstein,” directed by Danny Boyle and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller,” in time for Halloween.

It certainly is creepy, especially when you can see the  “Monster’s” eyes (Johnny Lee Miller) in closeups when he realizes  he can think and act independently, which you would totally miss in a theater.

Really ugly, but sensitive and emotional, the Monster tries to fit into human society, but is shunned, which leads him to seek revenge against his creator. But he is rejected, essentially, for being different.    And that’s scary, given how people who are different, unattractive, physically disabled or had “massive weight gain” are talked about by Presidential candidate Trump who seems to be a role model for many people.  It returns to movie theaters beginning Oct. 25.

Cumberbatch also returns in the title role of “Hamlet,” beginning Nov. 15. The Encore Series closes with the international hit “War Horse,”  from Dec. 6. The play is much more theatrical and visceral on stage than is the 2011 movie because of the remarkable Handspring Puppet Co., the genius behind “War Horse.” Learn about it in this TED Talk video.

Continue reading ‘Frankenstein’ returns for Halloween; National Theatre Live schedules Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart

‘Potter’ refuses resold tickets; Schumer wants law against U.S. scalpers

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" is running at the palace Theatre.
“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is running at the Palace Theatre in London.

Is the secondary ticket market finally under siege on both sides of the Atlantic? Yes! And it’s about time.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is proposing stiff fines for reselling Broadway tkts and in London “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is refusing to honor tkts not sold by legit vendors. In some cases — like for “Hamilton” — we’re talking hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Ouch!

“Hamilton” star and creator Linn-Manuel Miranda and Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin are supporting Schumer‘s sponsorship of legislation that would impose a $16,000 fine on those who use automated ticket purchasing software to purchase tickets online.What’s not clear to me, at this point, is that per transaction? If not, paying the fine could be cheaper — much cheaper — than scalping tkts, as it used to be known. The story  on Playbill.com doesn’t say.

Continue reading ‘Potter’ refuses resold tickets; Schumer wants law against U.S. scalpers

Will ‘Cursed Child’ play encourage fans to read more play scripts?

Platform 9 3/4 in London is the point pf departure for students to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Platform 9 3/4 in London is the point pf departure for students to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

As millions — possibly trillions — of Harry Potter fans eagerly await the release tonight of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” I gotta wonder if  they realize it’s not a book they will be buying. It’s the script of the smash-hit play that opened last week in London to rave reviews.

And that’s not a bad thing.

Continue reading Will ‘Cursed Child’ play encourage fans to read more play scripts?

Judy Dench sets record for most Olivier awards

Image of the Olivier Awards, the British equivalent of Broadway's Tony Award, are being presented Sunday in London at Covent Hall.
The Olivier Awards, the British equivalent of Broadway’s Tony Award.

Judi Dench, who since 1998 has received 7 Oscar nominations — the most earned after age 60 by any performed — last night took home her eighth Olivier Award, more than any other actor has ever collected.

Dench won for best supporting actress for her performance in “The Winter’s Tale,” produced by the Kenneth Branagh Theater Company,  a troupe he spent around two years putting together.

Imelda Staunton won for lead actress in a musical for the great role of Momma Rose in “Gypsy.”

Continue reading Judy Dench sets record for most Olivier awards

2016 Olivier Award nominations announced today in London

Image of the Olivier Awards, the British equivalent of Broadway's Tony Award, are being presented Sunday in London at Covent Hall.
The Olivier Awards, the British equivalent of Broadway’s Tony Awards, were announced today in London. The ceremony is scheduled for April 3.

The Olivier Award nominations for 2016 — the 40th anniversary year of the Awards — were announced today.

On the heels of Mark Rylance’s well-deserved Oscar win for Best Supporting Actor in “Bridge of Spies” yesterday, he was nominated today for Best Actor in the Shakespeare’s Globe West End transfer of “Farinelli and the King.” The play received a total of 10 nominations.

The televised announcement was hosted by Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, best known in this country for playing Dolores Umbridge in the “Harry Potter” movies. She also was a nominee for one of the greatest theatrical roles for women, Momma Rose in the London revival of “Gypsy,” which moved from the Chichester Festival Theatre to the West End’s Savoy, The production itself earned eight nominations, the most of any other shows. Staunton has performed in a variety of plays and musicals, winning three Laurence Olivier Awards; two for Best Actress in a Musical for her roles as the Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods” (1991) and Mrs. Lovett in “Sweeney Todd” (2011) and one for Best Supporting Performance for her work in both “A Chorus of Disapproval” (1985) and “The Corn is Green” (1985).

The  Chichester Festival Theatre also sent “Guys and Dolls” to the  West End and it earned four nominations making that theaters total to 12 nominations, the most of any theater.

The Branagh Company earned seven nominations, including six for “A Winter’s Tale” starred Kenneth Branagh and supporting star Judi Dench, making it her 15th Olivier nomination. She’s won six awards and one special award, the most of any performer.

The National Theatre took seven nominations, including four for “People, Places and Things”; the Almeida got three nominations (all for “Oresteia”; the Royal Court three nominations for “Hangmen” (which can be seen in the USA Thursday night, March 3, where available as part of National Theatre Live), and the RSC got one nomination “Oppenheimer.”

To find a local place to see “The Hangman,” click here

http://bit.ly/21m4bZ1

The awards ceremony will be take place April 3 at London’s Royal Opera House and can be seen on the Olivier Awards’ YouTube channel worldwide outside the U.K.

Following is the list of all the nominees

 

Best Revival

Hamlet at Barbican Theatre
Les Liaisons Dangereuses at Donmar Warehouse
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at National Theatre, Lyttelton
The Winter’s Tale at Garrick Theatre

Best New Comedy

A Christmas Carol at Noël Coward Theatre
Hand To God at Vaudeville Theatre
Nell Gwynn at Apollo Theatre
Peter Pan Goes Wrong at Apollo Theatre

Best Costume Design

Gregg Barnes for Kinky Boots at Adelphi Theatre
Hugh Durrant for Nell Gwynn at Apollo Theatre
Jonathan Fensom for Farinelli And The King at Duke of York’s Theatre
Katrina Lindsay for Bend It Like Beckham at Phoenix Theatre

Blue-i Theatre Technology Award for Best Set Design

Hildegard Bechtler for Oresteia at Almeida Theatre
Es Devlin for Hamlet at Barbican Theatre
Jonathan Fensom for Farinelli And The King at Duke of York’s Theatre
Anna Fleischle for Hangmen at Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court & Wyndham’s Theatre

White Light Award for Best Lighting Design

Neil Austin for The Winter’s Tale at Garrick Theatre
Natasha Chivers for Oresteia at Almeida Theatre
James Farncombe for People, Places And Things at National Theatre, Dorfman
Mark Henderson for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre

Best Sound Design

George Dennis for The Homecoming at Trafalgar Studios 1
Tom Gibbons for People, Places And Things at National Theatre, Dorfman
Christopher Shutt for The Father at Wyndham’s Theatre
Christopher Shutt for Hamlet at Barbican Theatre

Best New Opera Production

Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci at Royal Opera House
The Force Of Destiny at London Coliseum
Morgen Und Abend at Royal Opera House

Outstanding Achievement in Opera

English National Opera Chorus and Orchestra for The Force Of DestinyLady Macbeth Of Mtsensk and The Queen Of Spades at London Coliseum
Felicity Palmer for The Queen Of Spades at London Coliseum
Sir Antonio Pappano for his conducting of Cavalleria Rusticana/PagliacciGuillaume Tell and Król Roger at Royal Opera House
Tamara Wilson for The Force Of Destiny at London Coliseum

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

David Suchet is nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting role for playing Lady Bracknell in "The Importance Of Being Earnest."
David Suchet as Lady Bracknell

Mark Gatiss for Three Days In The Country at National Theatre, Lyttelton
Michael Pennington for The Winter’s Tale at Garrick Theatre
Tom Sturridge for American Buffalo at Wyndham’s Theatre
David Suchet for The Importance Of Being Earnest at Vaudeville Theatre

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Judi Dench for The Winter’s Tale at Garrick Theatre
Michele Dotrice for Nell Gwynn at Apollo Theatre
Melody Grove for Farinelli And The King at Duke of York’s Theatre
Catherine Steadman for Oppenheimer at Vaudeville Theatre

Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre

Barbarians at The Clare, Young Vic
Phil Dunster for his role in Pink Mist at Bush Theatre
Pat Kinevane and Fishamble for Silent at Soho Theatre
Violence And Son at Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court

Virgin Atlantic Best New Play

Farinelli And The King at Duke of York’s Theatre
The Father at Wyndham’s Theatre
Hangmen at Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court & Wyndham’s Theatre
People, Places And Things at National Theatre, Dorfman

Best Actor

Kenneth Branagh for The Winter’s Tale at Garrick Theatre
Kenneth Cranham for The Father at Wyndham’s Theatre
Benedict Cumberbatch for Hamlet at Barbican Theatre
Adrian Lester for Red Velvet at Garrick Theatre
Mark Rylance for Farinelli And The King at Duke of York’s Theatre

Benedict Cumberbatch for Hamlet at Barbican Theatre
Benedict Cumberbatch as you-know-who.

 

Best Actress

Gemma Arterton for Nell Gwynn at Apollo Theatre
Denise Gough for People, Places And Things at National Theatre, Dorfman
Nicole Kidman for Photograph 51 at Noël Coward Theatre
Janet McTeer for Les Liaisons Dangereuses at Donmar Warehouse
Lia Williams for Oresteia at Almeida Theatre

Best Entertainment and Family

Alice’s Adventures Underground at The Vaults
Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax at The Old Vic
I Want My Hat Back at National Theatre, Temporary Theatre
Peter Pan at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical at Apollo Theatre

Best New Dance Production

He Who Falls (Celui Qui Tombe) by Compagnie Yoann Bourgeois at the Barbican
Romeo Et Juliette by Les Ballets de Monte Carlo at London Coliseum
Woolf Works by Wayne McGregor at Royal Opera House

Outstanding Achievement in Dance

Alessandra Ferri for her performances in Chéri and Woolf Works at Royal Opera House
Javier De Frutos for his choreography of Anatomy Of A Passing Cloud at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House
Sasha Waltz for her choreography of Sacre at Sadler’s Wells

Autograph Sound Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music

Bend It Like Beckham – Music by Howard Goodall, Lyrics by Charles Hart and Orchestrations by Howard Goodall and Kuljit Bhamra at Phoenix Theatre
Farinelli And The King – Claire van Kampen for Musical Arrangements, the Musicians and Lestyn Davies and the Singers who alternated the singing role of Farinelli at Duke of York’s Theatre
In The Heights – Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda at King’s Cross Theatre
Kinky Boots – Music and Lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, Music Supervision, Arrangements and Orchestrations by Stephen Oremus at Adelphi Theatre

Best Theatre Choreographer

Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright for Guys And Dolls at Savoy Theatre
Drew McOnie for In The Heights at King’s Cross Theatre
Stephen Mear for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre
Jerry Mitchell for Kinky Boots at Adelphi Theatre

Best Director

Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh for The Winter’s Tale at Garrick Theatre
Matthew Dunster for Hangmen at Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at Royal Court & Wyndham’s Theatre
Robert Icke for Oresteia at Almeida Theatre
Jonathan Kent for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical

David Bedella for In The Heights at King’s Cross Theatre
Dan Burton for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre
Peter Davison for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre
Gavin Spokes for Guys And Dolls at Savoy Theatre

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical

Preeya Kalidas for Bend It Like Beckham at Phoenix Theatre
Amy Lennox for Kinky Boots at Adelphi Theatre
Lara Pulver for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre
Emma Williams for Mrs Henderson Presents at Noël Coward Theatre

Best Musical Revival

Bugsy Malone at Lyric Hammersmith
Guys And Dolls at Savoy Theatre
Gypsy at Savoy Theatre
Seven Brides For Seven Brothers at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Best Actor in a Musical

Ian Bartholomew for Mrs Henderson Presents at Noël Coward Theatre
Killian Donnelly for Kinky Boots at Adelphi Theatre
David Haig for Guys And Dolls at Savoy Theatre
Henry for Kinky Boots at Adelphi Theatre
Jamie Parker for Guys And Dolls at Savoy Theatre

Best Actress in a Musical

Tracie Bennett for Mrs Henderson Presents at Noël Coward Theatre
Natalie Dew for Bend It Like Beckham at Phoenix Theatre
Laura Pitt-Pulford for Seven Brides For Seven Brothers at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Imelda Staunton for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre
Sophie Thompson for Guys And Dolls at Savoy Theatre

MasterCard Best New Musical

Bend It Like Beckham at Phoenix Theatre
In the Heights at King’s Cross Theatre
Kinky Boots at Adelphi Theatre
Mrs. Henderson Presents at Noël Coward Theatre

UK drama schools leaving accredited association

RADA, popular with serious American actors, is just one of the schools that left Drama UK, the organisation, that accredits drama training in the UK as well as acting as an advocacy body. (RADA Studios. Photo: John M)
RADA, popular with serious American actors, is just one of the schools that left Drama UK, the organisation, that accredits drama training in the UK as well as acting as an advocacy body. (RADA Studios. Photo: John M)

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) are no longer with Drama UK, an  advocacy group for vocational drama training. But should Americans care?

Probably not, especially if it’s a quality drama school you seek. It seems like it’s more of an accounting issue as the problem centers on high accreditation fees, which don’t fluctuate due to the size of the school — 80 vs. 14,000, according to BroadwayWorld.com. The group also certifies vocational university and college courses.

To read more, click here.

Harry Potter sequel to be stage play summer of 2016

The "eighth" story in the Harry Potter series will be its first stage play and is scheduled to open in London during the summer of 2016.
The “eighth” story in the Harry Potter series will be its first stage play and is scheduled to open in London during the summer of 2016.

If you, and your family, love all things Harry Potter, start planning a summer family vacation to London in 2016 to catch “Harry  Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II,” a stage play sequel taking place 19 years after the end of the book/movie series.

Tickets go on sale Oct. 30 for performances that begin in late May 2016 at the Palace Theatre, London, with an opening planned in July 2016. Sign up for priority booking here.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, the “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” play is written by Thorne and features a cast of more than 30. It will be directed by Olivier and Tony award winner Tiffany.

Continue reading Harry Potter sequel to be stage play summer of 2016

Cell phones causing trouble during Cumberbatch’s ‘Hamlet’

Benedict Cumberbatch has begun performances in "Hamlet" at the National Theatre in London's West End. (PHOTO: National Theatre)
Benedict Cumberbatch has begun performances in “Hamlet” at the Barbican Centre in London’s West End. (PHOTO: Barbican Centre )

Patti LuPone has a vocal ally in Benedict Cumberbatch, currently starring in the title role in the West End production of “Hamlet,” who pleaded with fans to turn off their cell phones during performances of Shakespeare’s drama at the Barbican Centre.

“I can see cameras, I can see red lights in the auditorium. And it may not be any of you here that did that but it’s blindingly obvious, like that one there, that little red light,” the NYTimes reported  Cumberbatch said to theatergoers who crowded around the stage door during the first days of a limited engagement in London. Its  12-week run ends Oct. 31 and tickets sold out in about seven hours.

Earlier that night he stopped then resumed the famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy because saw a “little red light” near the third row during the performance.

Continue reading Cell phones causing trouble during Cumberbatch’s ‘Hamlet’

Hottest ticket in the world may be National Theatre’s ‘Hamlet’

Benedict Cumberbatch (bottom) and Jonny Lee Miller (both of whom play Sherlock Holmes characters on TV) starred opposite each other in the NTL production of "Frankenstein." To make things more fun, they learn both roles for the production. Here, Cumberbatch as Victor Frankenstein and Miller as The Creature. (Photo: National Theatre).
Benedict Cumberbatch (left) and Jonny Lee Miller (both of whom play Sherlock Holmes characters on TV) starred opposite each other in the NTL production of “Frankenstein.” To make things more fun, they learn both roles and switched parts during the production. (Photo: National Theatre).

The National Theatre in London is mounting a new production of “Hamlet” and people are going wild trying to get tickets to the 12-week limited run. They’re calling the box office and signing on to multiple devices  from such places as Siberia, New Zealand, Peru, Japan and Indonesia to get the coveted tickets. And why? Benedict Cumberbatch.

Continue reading Hottest ticket in the world may be National Theatre’s ‘Hamlet’

National Theatre Live offers encore of Helen Mirren in ‘The Audience’

Helen Mirren stars in the Broadway production of "The Audience." She won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Drama for her performance.
Helen Mirren stars in the Broadway production of “The Audience.” She won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Drama for her performance.

If you can’t get to Broadway to see Helen Mirren in her Tony Award-winning performance in “The Audience,” National Theatre Live is offering an encore presentation of the Olivier Award-winning London performance at venues around the world beginning June 25.

Both the London and Broadway productions include Olivier and Tony awards winner  Richard McCabe, who portrays Harold Wilson in Peter Morgan’s 2013 play.

I saw the NTL showing at Monmouth University, West Long Branch, when it first was offered. As a fan of English history and fan of Helen Mirren, I loved it. Even better, I think director Stephen Daldry is a genius and have admired his work for years as well as the work of six-time Tony Award-winning set and costume designer Bob Crowley.  It boasts one of the most remarkable onstage costume changes I’ve seen in more than 40 years of theatergoing — a mature Queen Elizabeth changing into her younger self in seconds.

Click here to find a venue near you. At least I hope you find one. Tickets are usually $22 for adults, cheaper for students.