Category Archives: Events

‘HENRY V’; ‘VARDY V ROONEY’; ‘¡SHOWMANISM!’–REVIEW ·

(Susannah Clapp’s article appeared in the Observer, 11/27; via Pam Green; Photo: ‘Utterly concentrated’: Oliver Johnstone as Henry V. Photograph: Johan Persson.)

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse; Wyndham’s, London; Ustinov Studio, Bath

Oliver Johnstone mesmerises as Henry V, Vardy and Rooney go head to head, and Dickie Beau lipsyncs a swarm of voices, from Hitchcock to Fiona Shaw.)

Imagine Henry V without crowd-lashing feats of oratory. Imagine it without crowds. Without the patriotic fervour of Olivier’s 1944 film, the sceptical disaffection of Nicholas Hytner’s 2003 production. Without some of the most flaring speeches: no “muse of fire”! You might think you would hardly recognise Shakespeare’s play. Well think again. In an extraordinary stripped-back version, for which the playwright Cordelia Lynn was the dramaturg and Holly Race Roughan the director, you seem to be looking into the core of the young king. The battlefield may be France, the site of contention England. But it is also the self.

There is little rush and roar on this stage. Under the stately glow of the Wanamaker candelabra, Moi Tran’s design begins with unfortunate ruched curtains but moves revealingly to a glorious background of tarnished mirrors. The cast are in modern dress (Fluellen wears a Scandi jumper), often seated on chairs. Dialogue is intimate and intense.

Oliver Johnstone is terrific: utterly concentrated; steadily growing; a young king propelled by anger but riven. There are reminders of Hamlet and of Richard II. He delivers “once more unto the breach” hugging his knees, not roaring at troops but willing himself into action. The deathbed scene from Henry IV Part 2 is helpfully imported at the beginning so that inheritance haunts the action.

I have never seen a Henry with such an inner life – nor one so evidently toxic. He gloats over the dead. His threats to the French – basically, I’ll kill your babies – are not hurled from a distance but delivered with intimate menace. They have never sounded so horrifying, or so like curses – which are usually women’s work.

The personal and political are intertwined, growing one from another, helped by fine, crisp acting throughout, particularly from Eleanor Henderson as the dauphin. When the French princess Katherine – oh these familiar names – is handed over to seal the peace, the action is freezing, forced, brutal. You might expect a coda involving 21st-century British immigration officials to be embarrassing and obtrusive, yet the past seeps naturally into the present. What a feat.

There is a shift in outrage as the filthy online abuse hurled at Vardy is repeated

Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial is a game of two halves. Half-panto, half-audience provocation. With impressive speed, Liv Hennessy has adapted the transcript of the mind-boggling court proceedings earlier this year between footballers’ wives Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Lisa Spirling directs the result to make a springy insta-success.

Framed by avid commentators who deliver match reports on the action, the trial takes place in a set as flimsy as the evidence; the judge blows a whistle to declare time. It is not hard to reproduce the appearance of women branded from head to foot – tiny top-of-the-head buns, big top-of-the-range handbags – but Lucy May Barker (Rebekah Vardy) and Laura Dos Santos (Coleen Rooney) are vibrant with attitude.

Barker enters to boos and proceeds to do brilliant f***-off acting, much of it with her neck. Brass neck. Dos Santos, who grew up in Liverpool, emphasises Rooney’s Liverpudlian accent to an extent that a London audience found hilarious, and gets approving murmurs. She emits resigned attention – spelling out the word “Wags”, as she doesn’t use the term – her sharpness honed by a canny lifetime of dealing with the media. Beside her, Nathan McMullen’s Wayne looks bewildered.

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LONDON’S THEATER CUTS MATTER, ON BROADWAY AND BEYOND ·

(Matt Wolf’s article appeared in The New York Times, 11/24; via Pam Green;  Photo: Rebecca Humphries and Alex Austin in “Blackout Songs,” directed by Guy Jones at the Hampstead Downstairs.Credit…Robert Day.)

The cushion of state money let the Hampstead and Donmar playhouses develop broad programs with international reach. Now they must find creative ways to play on.

LONDON — Standing ovations at London theaters are drearily routine these days, but I experienced one a few weeks ago that felt genuinely impassioned. I’m thinking of the fervent audience response to a new two-character play, “Blackout Songs,” on Hampstead Theater’s intimate second stage. (The show runs at the 100-seat Hampstead Downstairs until Dec. 10.)

Chronicling the bruised and bruising relationship between two self-destructive drinkers who meet at an A.A. meeting, Joe White’s spiky tragicomedy is impressive on several fronts. Its performers, Alex Austin and Rebecca Humphries, fearlessly inhabit two restless lovers trying to stave off psychic and physical ruin. The writing plays with time, asking the audience to piece together a fragmented narrative that views these characters — unnamed until the very end — at critical points as they ricochet in and out of each other’s lives.

The play asks a lot of the two actors, who meet its demands with force. But there was an additional reason for the palpable excitement in the house at the show’s end that night. The excellence of the show dealt a direct rebuke to the still fresh news of major cuts in government ‌subsidies for arts institutions across London, in which the Hampstead lost its entire grant. Work like “Blackout Songs” is what the Hampstead exists to do, and suddenly the theater felt at risk.

The same fate befell the venerable Donmar Warehouse, another small theater with an outsize reach. Might the activity of two playhouses so crucial to the theatrical ecosystem — not just in London — be somehow curtailed? Would they have to become safer, less adventurous?

Both houses have long shown their importance, here and overseas. Equipped with three auditoriums between them (the Hampstead has a 370-seat main stage as well), they have generated a substantial body of work, sending shows from London into the world and also offering homes to shows from abroad. The Donmar has just staged the European premiere of “The Band’s Visit”; a second American musical, “Next to Normal,”

To cut these theaters’ subsidies is to advocate, willingly or not, for shrunken ambitions. Philanthropy and commercial activities can pick up the slack, of course, as in the United States. But donor bases don’t arrive overnight. The cushion of state money let the Hampstead and the Donmar develop broad programs with international reach. Unless the theaters tread carefully, the effects of the cut will be felt far beyond London.

I can easily see international producers snapping up “Blackout Songs,” not least because its compactness — two characters, one set — is attractive financially. But the director Guy Jones’s production sets the bar high. On a bare stage with just a few chairs, the play’s jagged, nonlinear style is accompanied by whiplash shifts in mood that Humphries and the compellingly volatile Austin capture with ease. The impact couldn’t be stronger, prompting the best sort of guessing game about where the play might end up next.

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‘THE MOUSETRAP’: AGATHA CHRISTIE’S WEST END HIT TO MAKE BROADWAY DEBUT AFTER 70 YEARS ·

(Chris Wiegand’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/25; via Pam Green; Photo:  It’s a scream … Mary Law in the West End production of The Mousetrap in 1957. Photograph: Mirrorpix/Getty Images.) 

Whodunnit running in the West End since 1952, interrupted only by Covid, will open in New York in 2023

The world’s longest-running play, The Mousetrap, is to finally make its Broadway debut. The announcement was made on Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of the London production of Agatha Christie’s whodunnit.

The only surviving piece of the original set from 1952, a mantelpiece clock, will be lent from London for the run in New York when it opens in 2023. The play will be co-produced by The Mousetrap’s UK producer, Adam Spiegel, and US producer Kevin McCollum, whose credits include Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights and the Broadway outings of the British am-dram spoof The Play That Goes Wrong and the musical Six.

McCollum said that Christie’s murder mystery “changed popular theatre” and had long been a landmark attraction for US visitors to London. Theatregoers are encouraged to keep secret the identity of the murderer in the play, in which a group of strangers are snowed in at a remote guesthouse.

Roughly a third of the play’s West End audiences are believed to be foreign tourists. He added: “I’m excited for the huge Christie fanbase in North America, and for the acting company in New York who will join the esteemed ranks of The Mousetrap alumni.” Casting has not yet been confirmed.

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IRENE CARA OBITUARY ·

(Adam Sweeting’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/27;  Photo: Irene Cara as Coco Hernandez in Fame, 1980, directed by Alan Parker. She also sang the title song, which topped the British singles chart. Photograph: MGM/Allstar.)

American actor and singer best known for her role in the film Fame and co-writing the 1983 hit Flashdance … What a Feeling

Although her catalogue of recordings was not large, there were two songs that guaranteed Irene Cara a permanent place in the pop music hall of fame. In 1980 Cara, who has died unexpectedly aged 63, announced herself by topping the British singles chart with Fame, which also went to No 4 in the US.

It was the title song of Alan Parker’s eponymous film, documenting the struggles of students at New York’s High School of Performing Arts. Cara’s character, Coco Hernandez, was originally a dancer, but

The song’s pumping, anthemic tune and ecstatic lyric made it the perfect embodiment of every wannabe star’s ambitions – “I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly … I’m gonna make it to heaven, Light up the sky like a flame.” Its aspirational influence reached down the years through a string of talent shows such as American Idol, Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor. Cara also became an inspiration for other Latin artists. The actor John Leguizamo tweeted: “She made me believe that if you were Latin you could make it! She fuelled my community.”

Both Fame and another single from the film soundtrack, Out Here on My Own (a Top 20 US hit), were nominated for Oscars, and since both were sung by Cara she achieved the rare feat of singing more than one song at an Academy Awards ceremony. Fame took the best original song statuette on the night. But her best was yet to come. Oscar night, 1984, found Cara back in the spotlight, basking in the glow of her huge success with Flashdance … What a Feeling.

It was the title song from Adrian Lyne’s film Flashdance, and it occupied the No 1 slot on Billboard’s Hot 100 for six weeks while topping numerous other charts around the world. This time Cara was one of the songwriters, along with Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey, and shared in the triumph when it won the Oscar for best original song.

It also picked up a Golden Globe and two Grammys. The film was the story of an ambitious dancer trying to win a place at an elite dance conservatory, and Cara wanted the lyric to show how the character is “in control of her body when she dances and how she can be in control of her life”. She added: “I did sense that I had something special with this song.”

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HOW ‘THE LION KING’ GOT TO BROADWAY AND RULED FOR 25 YEARS (SO FAR) ·

(Michael Paulson’s article appeared in The New York Times, 11/16; via Pam Green; Photograph: Julie Taymor, who not only directed the show but also designed its costumes, puppets and masks, became the first woman to win a Tony Award for directing a musical. “I like challenges,” she said of the project.Credit…Kenneth Van Sickle.)

A surprising collaboration between an entertainment giant (Disney) and an avant-garde

 

A quarter century is about twice as long as the life span of your average wild lion. But there’s nothing average about “The Lion King.”

In the years since it opened on Broadway, the musical, thanks to 27 productions that have filled 112 million seats and have played on every continent but Antarctica, has grossed nearly $10 billion, more than any other stage show and more than any film.

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SHAKESPEARE PORTRAIT SAID TO BE ONLY ONE MADE IN HIS LIFETIME ON SALE FOR £10M ·

 (Nadeem Badshah’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/17.  Photo:  The portrait is unveiled by conservator Adrian Phippen (right) and Art and Antiques writer Duncan Phillips. Photograph: Kirsty O’Connor/PA.) 

The artwork by Robert Peake went on display on Wednesday at Grosvenor House hotel in west London

A portrait said to be the only signed and dated image of William Shakespeare created during his lifetime has gone on sale for more than £10m and is being displayed in London.

The owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, is offering the piece for sale by private treaty without an auction.

It is the work of Robert Peake, court painter to King James I, and is signed and dated 1608. The artwork went on display on Wednesday at Grosvenor House hotel in west London.

Prior to 1975, the picture hung in the library of a stately home in the north of England, once home to the Danby family. Since then it has been in private ownership.

Those behind its sale claim the connections between Shakespeare and Peake are “extensive” and that the artist was regularly commissioned to paint the portraits of high-ranking members of the court and Jacobean society.

They also noted he was commissioned by the Office of the Revels, which oversaw the presentation of plays, and worked in the premises in Clerkenwell, London, where some of Shakespeare’s plays were rehearsed.

However, only two paintings of Shakespeare, both posthumous, are generally recognised as validly portraying him – the engraving that appears on the title page of the First Folio, published in 1623, and the sculpture at his funeral monument in Stratford-upon-Avon. Shakespeare died in 1616, at the age of 52.

Art expert Duncan Phillips, who investigated the work ahead of the sale, said: “There is more evidence for this portrait of Shakespeare than any other known painting of the playwright.

“It is a monogrammed and dated work by a portrait painter of serious status with connections to the artist who produced the image for the First Folio.

“The picture has survived the past 400 years almost untouched by wear and tear thanks to its ownership by a family of Shakespeare enthusiasts who hung it in their library.”

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IN ‘THE CHINESE LADY,’ PREJUDICE AND EXPLOITATION, SEEN FROM A STAGE (BOSTON) ·

(Don Aucoin’s article appeared in the Boston Glober, 11/14; Photo:Jae Woo (left) and Sophorl Ngin in “The Chinese Lady” at Central Square Theater.NILE SCOTT STUDIOS.)

CAMBRIDGE — When it came to the craft of writing, E.B. White’s famous dictum was: “Don’t write about Man. Write about a man.”

That’s the path Lloyd Suh took with “The Chinese Lady,” and it has yielded a small gem of a play about a person who is seen and unseen at the same time.

After premiering in 2018 at Pittsfield’s Barrington Stage Company and then running at New York’s Public Theater earlier this year, “The Chinese Lady” is now at Central Square Theater under the sensitive and astute direction of Sarah Shin.

Suh’s play was inspired by a real-life figure, Afong Moy, who was brought from China to New York in 1834 at age 14 and put on display in a museum. At Central Square, Sophorl Ngin delivers an expertly shaded portrayal of Afong that traces her emotional arc while also signaling the slow-but-steady dawning of her consciousness. As Atung, her translator, Jae Woo delivers a note-perfect performance.

Over 90 absorbing minutes, with only occasional lapses into overly message-y territory, “The Chinese Lady” essentially distills the history of anti-Asian prejudice and exploitation in the United States — as well as the (very) dark side of the immigrant experience — within Afong’s story.

When we first meet her, Afong is heartbreakingly innocent and chipper. Seated on an upholstered chair at center stage and smiling brightly, she explains — as if there were nothing odd about the arrangement — how her family “sold me for two years of service” to two traders from an American import company. Now she is on display “for your education and entertainment.”

At each performance, Afong enacts various rituals: eating rice with chopsticks, brewing tea, walking around a room on her bound feet. She tells us that the terms of the deal that brought her to the United States were that she would return to her homeland and her family in two years. That does not happen. In “The Chinese Lady,” her servitude lasts for decades.

Those of us in the Central Square Theater essentially function as stand-ins for 19th-century spectators, implicating us in all we see and hear in “The Chinese Lady” — a notion shrewdly underscored by director Shin when Afong tears down upstage curtains to reveal a large, circular mirror. From then on, we watch ourselves watching.

Crucially, Shin avoids the kind of ham-fisted staging decisions that seriously marred the ending of the otherwise excellent Public Theater production. What Shin has devised for the ending at Central Square is less showy and comports better with the nature of the play.

At first, Afong is touchingly eager to make a connection with Americans (she speaks glowingly of “your first emperor, George Washington.”) Afong sees her role as that of cultural ambassador, a human bridge of understanding between China and the United States. Atung, the translator, clearly knows that the museum’s goal is nothing so noble as that.

Outside that room, history inexorably unfolds: the construction of the transcontinental railroad, starting in 1863 and using primarily Chinese laborers; the 1882 passage by Congress of the Chinese Exclusion Act, prohibiting Chinese migration to the US. Inside that room, Afong and Atung are growing older. “With each passing hour, I am less and less Chinese,” Afong says.

Their relationship evolves over time, defined by amusing byplay at the start. With the hauteur of a born star, Afong tells the audience several times that Atung is “irrelevant” to the show; his imperturbable responses, which she recognizes as passive-aggression, get on her nerves.

As years pass and they play their roles day after day, including a 40-week tour of the Eastern states, they achieve a certain solidarity, perhaps bolstered by a realization that they are both, in different ways, trapped. But are their fates as inextricably tied together as Afong believes they are?

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‘I THREW MY ARMS AROUND BECKETT!’ – ELECTRIFYING FIRST NIGHTS, BY CIARÁN HINDS, EILEEN ATKINS AND MORE ·

(Dominic Dromgoole’s article appeared in the Guardian 10/26; via Pam Green; Photo: A hallucinatory experience’ … Frances Barber with Amanda Abbington and Reece Shearsmith in The Unfriend. Photograph: Manuel Harlan.)

The author of a new book about the greatest openings in theatre history asks stars of stage to recall their most thrilling first nights – and the occasional disasters that befell them

History has no shortage of explosive first nights and openings. Moments in public art when the concerns of an epoch meet the truths of artists and catalyse a volcanic response. These are the nights when pins can be heard dropping, when time is stretched into unforeseen patterns, when success is grasped or failure faced. For artists they are electrifying. Here are some stories from the frontline.

‘Beckett stood there like a stone but I carried on’

Eileen Atkins, attending Beckett’s Play, 1964
There were three figures on the vast Old Vic stage, all encased in jars. They did the same script twice through. Mad about Beckett anyway, I was overwhelmed by the cleverness and what it did to my brain. It was extraordinary the difference in effect when done at first one pace, then an entirely different one. The whole meaning shifted. Later I was in a car when I saw the director George Devine walking along with a man. I leapt out and shouted: “George, George, I just saw your amazing play.” “Well, say hello to the author,” he said and there was Samuel Beckett. I threw my arms around him and he stood like a stone. I wasn’t going to let him make me feel abashed, so I carried on.

‘The silences that night were spellbinding’

Anne Reid, The York Realist, Royal Court, 2003
I had no idea this was such a good play. The first time I read it, I thought: “Oh no, not another northern mother. Boring.” I was 64 and I’d never worked in London before. Peter Gill directed it so beautifully. Everything was specific in its choreography: this is the height to hold a teapot, this is how to take off and hang a coat. Whatever the action, he said if you take your time and present it, the audience will find it interesting. And he was so definite about pace: play the first scene legato, the second pizzicato – he really knew the music of a scene. The silences in the theatre that night … spellbinding! Later, we went to the Royal Court bar and as Peter walked down the stairs everyone burst into applause.

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‘CAT’ BACK FOR UNPRECEDENTED OFF BROADWAY RE-ENGAGEMENT–FROM RUTH STAGE ·

“(Tennessee) Williams would probably love Matt de Rogatis’ Brick.” – Juan Ramirez, The New York Times

“Brilliant…intense…funny!” – Dave Carlin, CBS

“An innovative Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” – Harry Haun, The Observer

Ruth Stage Sets Dates For Unprecedented Off Broadway Re-Engagement

 

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof By Tennessee Williams Directed by Joe Rosario

 

Previews Begin February 24th Opening Night March 5th Must Close March 31st
 

Theatre at St. Clement’s

423 W 46th Street – NYC

 

Limited 42 Performance Re-Engagement www.ruthstage.org

 

On the heels of a 35 show run this past summer, Ruth Stage has announced that their provocative and controversial modern staging of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof will return to New York City in early 2023.

Directed by Joe Rosario, the Off Broadway premiere of the Tennessee Williams masterpiece, concluded its run on August the 14th playing to sold out audiences and standing ovations.

“Very happy” with the Off Broadway premiere production, the Tennessee Williams estate has yet again given their blessing to the maverick theater group, Ruth Stage, and an unprecedented re-engagement license has been issued. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof will play at the Theatre at St. Clement’s (423 W 46th St.) for an additional 42 performances with previews beginning on Friday February 24th 2023. Opening night is scheduled for Sunday March 5th, 2023. The production will close on Friday night March 31st, 2023.

Tennessee Williams’ sultry, southern storm of a play about greed, deceit, self-delusion, sexual desire and repression, homophobia, sexism, and the looming specter of death won the Pulitzer Prize in 1955. Ruth Stage’s modern and haunting interpretation is set in an estate in the Mississippi Delta of Big Daddy Pollitt, a wealthy cotton tycoon. The play examines the relationships among members of Big Daddy’s highly dysfunctional family, primarily between his son Brick and Maggie the “Cat”, Brick’s wife.

Matt de Rogatis will reprise his critically acclaimed role as “Brick” in the new production.

Further casting and design team announcements will be made in the coming weeks. Tickets, priced between $39 and $125, are on sale now and can be purchased at either www.ruthstage.org/cat or www.telecharge.com.

Matt de Rogatis (Brick) Some previous New York City credits for Matt de Rogatis (Brick) include “Frederick Clegg” in the United States premiere of The Collector at 59E59, “Richard III” in Austin Pendleton’s Wars of the Roses (124 Bank Street Theater), “Tom” in The Glass Menagerie (Wild Project) and “Roy” in Lone Star (Triad). He was last seen on stage as “Brick” in Ruth Stage’s summer 2022 Off Broadway premiere of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Theatre at St.

Clement’s). Find Matt on social media @themightydero and www.mattderogatis.com

Joe Rosario (Director) is a writer, producer, actor and director from the New York City area. As an actor he has appeared on The Sopranos, Ed, Law and Order, Sex and the City, Law and Order SVU, Oz, 100 Centre St, Hope and Faith, and the original pilot Thunderbox. Joe has also appeared numerous times on The Chappelle Show and The View in various comedic skits and was a re-occurring character on the Late Show with David Letterman. He has also appeared in over 50 commercials. Rosario is also an award winning filmmaker and producer. His films and scripts have been official selections at over 50 festivals including Cannes, Barcelona and the New York International Film Festival. His feature length drama, Snapshot, starring Zach McGowan of Shameless, was one of his winning submissions. A resident of New Jersey, Joe is also an accomplished acting teacher and he coaches many actors seen on TV and film. Rosario directed the summer 2022 Off Broadway premiere of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Theatre at St. Clement’s in New York City.

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) explored passion with daring honesty and forged a poetic theatre of raw psychological insight that shattered conventional proprieties and transformed the American stage. The autobiographical The Glass Menagerie brought what Mr. Williams called “the catastrophe of success,” a success capped by A Streetcar Named Desire, one of the most influential works of modern American literature. An extraordinary series of masterpieces followed, including Vieux Carre, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Rose Tattoo, Orpheus Descending and the classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

(Production logo and photo: Ruth Stage)

 

EDDIE IZZARD RETURNS TO NEW YORK WITH CHARLES DICKENS’ ‘GREAT EXPECTATIONS’ (12/9-1/22) ·

(via Kenya A. Williams, BoneauBryanBrown)

EDDIE IZZARD RETURNS TO NEW YORK WITH

CHARLES DICKENS’ GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Performances Begin December 9 

Opening Night December 15

Limited Engagement Ends on January 22 

 

Six Weeks Only at The Greenwich House Theater 

 

New York – Eddie Izzard will return to the New York stage this December for six weeks only playing 21 characters in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, a classic tale of convicts, mystery, friendship, rivalry, unrequited love, revenge, and redemption for six weeks only at The Greenwich House Theater (27 Barrow Street).

 

Performances begin on December 9 with a December 15 opening. The strictly limited engagement ends on January 22, 2023. Tickets are now on sale at www.eddieizzardgreatexpectations.com.

 

Dickens’ novel was adapted for the stage by Mark Izzard and is directed by Selina Cadell. The design team is Tom Piper (set), Tyler Elich/Lightswitch Inc. (lighting), Tom Piper and Libby da Costa (costume stylists), and Didi Hopkins (Movement Director).  It is produced by WestBeth Entertainment and Mick Perrin Worldwide.

 

Actor, comedian, and multi-marathon runner Eddie Izzard’s boundary-pushing career spans all of these with record-breaking comedy tours and critically acclaimed film, TV, and theatre performances.  But few know that acting was her first love. This show offers the chance to see Eddie in a solo performance of the master storyteller’s beloved epic, Great Expectations.

 

Eddie, who is dyslexic, had never read a great work of literature, but knowing that she was exactly 150 years younger than Dickens (7 Feb 1812 to 7 Feb 1962) decided to start by reading Great Expectations. She was then inspired to develop it as a solo performance for the stage.

 

Eddie said, “Charles Dickens loved performing his own works in America, and so I thought it would be a wonderful idea to launch Great Expectations here. I always feel at home in New York, and I believe if Charles Dickens were alive today, he would feel at home too.”

 

Director Selina Cadell said, “I find the combination of Eddie Izzard’s idiosyncratic wit and Charles Dickens’ ingenious storytelling irresistible and am looking forward to sharing it with New York audiences.”

 

Great Expectations is the 13th novel by Charles Dickens. Published in 1861, it depicts the education of an orphan nicknamed Pip. The novel was first published as a serial in Dickens’s weekly periodical, All the Year Round. Set in Kent and London in the 1820s to 1830s, it contains some of Dickens’s most celebrated scenes, starting in a graveyard, where the young Pip is accosted by the escaped convict Abel Magwitch. Great Expectations is full of extreme imagery – poverty, prison ships and chains, and fights to the death – and has a colorful cast of characters who have entered popular culture. These include the eccentric Miss Havisham, the beautiful but cold Estella, and Joe, the unsophisticated and kind blacksmith. Dickens’ themes include wealth and poverty, love and rejection, and the eventual triumph of good over evil. Great Expectations has been translated into many languages and adapted numerous times into various media. Upon its release, the novel received near-universal acclaim. During the serial publication, Dickens was pleased with the public response to Great Expectations and its sales; when the plot first formed in his mind, he called it “a very fine, new and grotesque idea”.

 

Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations running time is approximately two hours including an intermission. 

 

BIOGRAPHIES

 

Eddie Izzard’s Broadway credits are A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (Tony Award nomination) and Race. Her London stage credits include The CryptogramEdward II900 Oneonta, and Joe Egg. She is currently developing a one-woman performance of Hamlet. Eddie’s film credits include Stephen Frears’ Victoria & Abdul opposite Dame Judi Dench, ValkyrieOcean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen, Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe, Mystery Men, Shadow of the VampireThe Cat’s Meow and Six Minutes to Midnight. TV audiences also saw her as Dr. Abel Gideon in Bryan Fuller’s series, “Hannibal.” Izzard starred in and served as an executive producer on the critically acclaimed FX Networks series, “The Riches.” Her other notable films for television include “Castles in the Sky,” “Treasure Island,” and the Emmy winning “Lost Christmas.” Izzard made her West End stage debut in 1993 in the solo show Live at the Ambassadors, for which she received an Olivier Award nomination for Outstanding Achievement. That was followed by a succession of critically acclaimed shows: Unrepeatable, Definite Article, Glorious, Dress to Kill, Circle, Sexie, Stripped, Force Majeure, and Wunderbar. Eddie is the recipient of two Emmy Awards (for Dressed to Kill) and an Emmy Award nomination for the documentary, Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story. Her autobiography Believe Me entered the top ten in the New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller lists. She performs her comedy shows in four languages and since 2009 has run 131 marathons to raise money for Sport Relief and her ‘Make Humanity Great Again’ fund.

 

SELINA CADELL (Director) is a director, actress and coach. Theatre directing includes Love for Love (RSC), The Life I Lead (West End), The Double Dealer (Orange Tree London), The Rivals (Arcola London), The Way of the World (Wilton’s London), The Rake’s Progress (Wilton’s London). Films include The Turn of the Screw (Best Opera Film 2021 Critics Circle Award). Acting/Theatre includes Top Girls (NYC) /Obie Award, Stanley (NYC), Madness of King George (NYC), Twelfth Night, Cherry Orchard (NYC), A Monster Calls (London). TV includes “Midsomer Murders,” “Queens of Mystery,” “Poirot,” “Doc Martin” (Mrs. Tishell). Selina runs an opera company with Eliza Thompson, Operaglass Works.

 

MARK IZZARD (Adapter). Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations is not Mark and Eddie’s first collaboration. In 1972 at Bede’s School in Eastbourne, UK Mark penned a play which might possibly have been called Hey! Watch That Fork! in which the all-boys cast donned jackets and ties over their pajamas and told a haunting story of death and cuisine. Serving as promoter and box office manager, Eddie (the younger sibling) sold tickets. Fast forward to recent years and the pair continues to work together including Mark translating Eddie’s shows into French, German and Spanish, as Mark is pretty fluent in those languages, being a qualified translator, and he speak it better than the other one.

 

DIDI HOPKINS (Movement Director) is one of the foremost practitioners of Commedia dell’Arte and works physically and visually in theatre. She worked with writer Richard Bean’s Broadway success, One Man, Two Guvnors, and has worked with director Selina Cadell at the Royal Shakespeare Company as movement director on Restoration Comedy. She was co-founder of Beryl and the Perils who were the ‘hottest thing part from the weather’ (Village Voice), performed at WOW festival, Central Park, TNC, the Mudd Club. The National Theatre made five films about her work in Commedia.

 

TYLER ELICH, LIGHTSWITCH (Lighting Designer). Tyler has always been drawn in by the energy an audience creates when sharing a live experience together. Since working in the theatre in high school he knew he wanted to be a part of that energy and turned that into a career when graduating from Ithaca College with a BFA in Lighting Design. That passion for creating a powerful shared experience has allowed Tyler to work in many different areas including rock concert touring, television broadcasts, corporate product launches, million square foot conventions, and special events. Tyler is a lifelong learner and treats every new project with enthusiasm and extreme attention to detail.

 

TOM PIPER (Scenic Designer/Costume Stylist) was Associate Designer at the RSC for 10 years and has designed over 30 productions for the company. He is Associate Designer at Kiln theatre London. Theatre work includes Medea (EIF/NTS); Girl on an Altar, White Teeth (Kiln); Faith (RSC/Coventry City of Culture); Nora: A Doll’s House (Young Vic); The Histories (RSC Olivier Award for Best Costume Design); As You Like It (RSC Armoury’s NY); Cyrano de Bergerac (NTS); Carmen La Cubana (Le Chatelet, Paris); Red Velvet Tricycle Theatre/St. Ann’s Warehouse NY); Orfeo (Royal Opera House); Tamburlaine The Great (TFNA, NY); The Great Wave (RNT). Turn of the Screw (Wiltons/OperaGlassworks film); Richard III, Tempest, As You Like It; The Bridge Project at BAM. Design credits: Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London and received an MBE for services to Theatre and First World War commemorations. Exhibition credits: Alice Curiouser and CuriouserWinnie-the-PoohCurtain Up (V&A, Lincoln Center NY); Shakespeare Staging the World (British Museum).

 

LIBBY da COSTA (Costume Stylist) is a London based costume designer who trained at the prestigious London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Art. Over the course of her career, Libby has had the pleasure of working for a diverse range of clients, creating unique and powerful designs for television, film, commercials and now theatre! Libby recently designed the feature film Doctor Jekyll, the story of Jacqueline Hyde where Eddie played the lead role, Nina Jekyll. Whatever the brief or project, Libby combines her passion, insight and years of industry experience to realize any vision with imagination and flair. Libby has been seduced by the fast-paced, creative lifestyle involved in this line of work and is never afraid of a challenge. She is a storyteller and fantasist and through her costumes the characters are born. From contemporary through to period, Libby has worked with costumes that date back to as early as 1744.

 

WESTBETH ENTERTAINMENT (Arnold Engelman, Founder/President) has consistently delivered critically acclaimed, financially successful, groundbreaking productions for over 40 years. Beginning as The Westbeth Theatre Center and morphing into WestBeth Entertainment, developing and introducing artists and talent to North American audiences is a big part of WestBeth’s history. From Billy Connolly to Eddie Izzard, The Jim Henson Company to John Leguizamo and Trevor Noah to Hannah Gadsby, WBE has been the creative catalyst, partner and producer of some of the most innovative performances and productions on the continent in venues throughout North America including Madison Square Garden, The Hollywood Bowl, Toronto’s Massey Hall, Chicago’s Chicago Theatre and New York’s Radio City Musical Hall. WestBeth’s most recent productions include Professor Brian Cox’s Horizon‘ tour of North America, Eddie Izzard’s Wunderbar US and Canadian tours, Hannah Gadsby’s Douglas’ Off-Broadway run and Brian Henson’s Puppet Up! Uncensored for multiple runs in Los Angeles. Other productions include Eddie Izzard’s first US book tour for his memoir Believe Me, a New York Times Bestseller, North American debut of Australia’s comedy group Aunty Donna, Hannah Gadsby’s North American debut of Nanette, Dylan Moran’s Off The Hook North American Tour, Noel Fielding (of The Mighty Boosh and “The Great British Bake Off,”) North American debut tour An Evening with Noel Fielding, Eddie Izzard’s Force Majeure American tour performed in all 50 states; Billy Connolly’s High Horse tour, the Off-Broadway debut run of comedian Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime; Eric Idle’s What About Dick? Filmed for Netflix; John Leguizamo’s Ghetto Klown on Broadway, the West End, in Colombia, South America; and the national tour; off-Broadway, Australian tour, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Las Vegas runs of Brian Henson’s Puppet Up! Uncensored.

 

MICK PERRIN WORLDWIDE (Producer). Mick Perrin is a UK based producer/promoter/agent with a company he began over 20 years ago. Mick spent his youth playing in various punk bands around the UK and was the original STOMP production/tour manager. A long career in tour management turned to promotion, with the first ever UK arena tour with Eddie Izzard’s Sexie Tour. Mick Perrin Worldwide currently tours over 50 artistes across 45 nations and is a major producer of comedy talent at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, first introducing the likes of Bo Burnham, Trevor Noah, Simon Amstell, and Brett Goldstein. Awards include an Emmy (Eddie Izzard’s “Dress to Kill,)” Olivier Award for La Clique, Olivier Award for La Soiree, and a Chortle Award for Off-Stage Contribution. www.mickperrin.com

 

Greenwich House was founded in 1902 with a mission to help New Yorkers lead more fulfilling lives through social and health services and cultural and education programs. Annually, nearly 15,000 people are served at their Senior Centers, Music School, Pottery, After-School and Summer Camp, Nursery School and clinics addressing behavioral health for seniors, adults overcoming addiction and for victims of child abuse. http://www.greenwichhouse.org.

 

www.eddieizzardgreatexpectations.com