Howard, Best & Steed Headline NT's HeiressDate: 6 March 2000
Alan Howard and acclaimed newcomer Eve Best will star in a new stage adaptation of The Heiress, by Ruth and Augustus Goetz, based on the novel 'Washington Square' by Henry James. The co-production by the National Theatre and Sheffield Theatres, in association with the Touring Partnership, tours briefly before opening at the NT's Lyttelton Theatre on 13 June, following previews from 8 June.
Set in fashionable 1850s New York, The Heiress is a subtle tragedy of love and innocence betrayed. Handsome and charming, Morris Townsend's motives for courting the young and wealthy Catherine Sloper (Best) are unclear. Is her heart or her inheritance his true aim? Catherine's widowed Aunt Lavinia sees an opportunity to engineer a clandestine romance; her father, Dr Sloper (Howard), sees the lovers' separation as a duty, a challenge and an entertainment.
Best made her professional acting debut in October, starring opposite Jude Law in the Jacobean incest tragedy Tis Pity She's a Whore at the Young Vic. Her performance earned her both the Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Awards for Best Newcomer. Later this year, she'll play Varya in the National's production of The Cherry Orchard.
Howard is a stage veteran, with numerous leading roles for the National, the RSC and in the West End. His recent credits include Flight, The Oedipus Plays and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (National), The Play About the Baby (Almeida), King Lear and Waiting for Godot (Old Vic). His television and film credits include David Copperfield, No Bananas and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.