The week ahead in London and beyond, October 7-13
I’ve just had a whirlwind trip to New York, from where I returned on Saturday after seeing 6 shows in four days and doing interviews with legendary Broadway composer John Kander at his townhouse on the Upper West Side and director/choreographer Susan Stroman in her midtown studio, ahead of the transfer to London’s Young Vic of The Scottsboro Boys that Stroman originally directed and choreographed off-Broadway in 2010 before it moved to Broadway.
Stroman is duly following me to London today, after the opening of her latest show on Broadway last night – Andrew Lippa’s new musical Big Fish, which I saw on Thursday at a press performance for which Ben Brantley was seated across the aisle from me. If I’m ever tempted – as I regularly am – to complain about how ferociously busy I can be, I should only think of Stroman and her packed schedule of creating new shows. Before the end of the season, she’ll also have a stage version of Woody Allen’s Bullets over Broadway on the boards here, and she’s meanwhile developing yet another new show The Little Dancer with Lynn Ahrens (who lives right across the street from her) and Stephen Flaherty that will premiere at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center next year.
In New York, of course, I can’t give up the London day job, either, so while I was there also did a phoner catch up with Nick Hytner for an interview about the National’s 50th anniversary celebrations that ran in yesterday’s Sunday Express. Meanwhile, this week could bring news of who his successor as artistic director at the NT will be.
And the National, of course, is where the year’s most eagerly awaited new musical is opening this week. That’s The Light Princess, opening on Wednesday in the Lyttelton, that has been through several workshops at the NT Studio. I interviewed star Rosalie Craig (who plays the title role) in last week’s copy of The Stage that is online here, and I have to confess that I couldn’t wait to see it — so I bought a ticket for a preview before I went to New York. I am now looking forward to seeing it again at Wednesday’s opening.
This week also sees a clash of openings tomorrow, with The Commitments, adapted by Roddy Doyle from his novel of the same name and brought to the stage by director Jamie Lloyd, opening at the Palace Theatre, while Arnold Wesker’s Roots is revived by director James Macdonald at the Donmar Warehouse with a cast that inlcudes Linda Bassett, David Burke, Jessica Raine, Emma Stansfield, and Michael Jibson. I’m sorting out the clash by going in a night early to The Commitments tonight, then the Donmar tomorrow.
That means, alas, that I will once again miss Australian drag star Trevor Ashley in his show Liza (on an e) that comes to the Lyric for one night only tonight, but there’s a feast of cabaret ahead elsewhere ahead thanks to the launch this coming weekend of the inaugural London Festival of Cabaret. I’ll be at the St James Theatre’s studio on Sunday to see the fantastic Leigh Zimmerman and her musician husband Domenick Allen in their show A Love Affair from A2Z, who I’ve also interviewed in the current issue of The Stage.
Also this week I’m happy to say I’ll be catching up with Sweeney Todd at the West Yorkshire Playhouse that I missed the opening of last week, and I also need to catch up with Handbagged at the Tricycle and Ghosts at the Almeida.
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