Dame Maggie Tramps It Up in New Bennett PlayDate: 2 September 1999
Dame Maggie Smith returns to the West End this December in a new play by Alan Bennett. The Lady in the Van, directed by Nicholas Hytner, will open at the Queen's Theatre on 7 December 1999 (previews from 19 November). Booking opens 25 September.
Smith plays Miss Shepherd, the lady tramp in the play which is based on Bennett's affectionate tales of a woman who lived for a decade in a camper van parked outside his home in the posh Primrose Hill area of north London. The Lady in the Van reunites Smith with Bennett for the first time since she starred in the successful television and stage productions of Bed Among the Lentils, one of Bennett's Talking Heads monologues. Nicholas Hytner directed both the award-winning stage and film productions of Bennett's The Madness of George III, starring Nigel Hawthorne, and he also directed his stage adaptation of The Wind in the Willows at the National Theatre.
Smith, an Oscar-winning film actress, is well known for her stage roles. She was last seen in the West End in 1997 when she had a box office hit with a revival of Edward Albee s A Delicate Balance at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. She worked with Hytner last in 1993 when she starred in Oscar Wilde s The Importance of Being Earnest at the Aldwych.
Hytner is perhaps best known for his direction of major musicals including Cameron Mackintosh s Miss Saigon and the National Theatre's revival of Carousel. His other credits include acclaimed productions of Measure for Measure, King Lear, Volpone and The Recruiting Officer. In addition to the Talking Heads series, Alan Bennett s stage plays include Getting On, The Old Country and Habeas Corpus.
Sir Peter Hall s production of Lenny, starring Eddie Izzard, is currently playing at the Queen's. It finishes 19 October and is followed by short runs from Ennio Marchetto and Ute Lemper before The Lady in the Van arrives in November.