Graduate Makes Way for Humble Boy at GielgudDate: 6 November 2001
Terry Johnson's production of The Graduate, currently starring Dallas' Linda Gray (pictured) as the fifth Mrs Robinson, has posted closing notices at the West Endís Gielgud Theatre. The stage adaptation of Mike Nichols' 1967 film opened on 5 April 2000 (previews from 24 March 2000) and had been booking up to 2 February 2002. It will now close, after an extended 21-month run, on 19 January 2002 ahead of a 4 April Broadway opening which will return the original stage Mrs Robinson, Kathleen Turner, to the role, co-starring alongside Alicia "Clueless" Silverstone and Jason "American Pie" Biggs.
The Graduate will be followed at the Gielgud by a slightly recast Humble Boy, the new play by Charlotte Jones which premiered in August at the National Theatre. Still playing a sold-out run at the NT Cottesloe with Diana Rigg, Simon Russell Beale and Dennis Quilley, the comedy about broken vows, failed hopes and the joys of bee-keeping will open at the Gielgud for a limited run from 5 February 2002, following previews from 24 January.
In the West End, Felicity Kendal will replace Rigg as the demanding and widowed mother of Beale's Cambridge astrophysicist. Best known for TV's The Good Life, Kendal's most recent West End credits include Fallen Angels and Alarms and Excursions. She joins the rest of the original Humble Boy cast, which also features Marcia Warren, William Gaunt and Cathryn Bradshaw. The production is directed by John Caird and designed by Tim Hatley.
The Graduate, about a young man who has an affair with an older woman and then falls in love with her daughter, is written by Terry Johnson, adapted from the original novel by Charles Webb and the motion picture screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. Johnson also directs, with design by Rob Howell, lighting by Hugh Vanstone and sound by Mike Walker.
The stage production caused a sensation on opening when Mrs Robinson (then Kathleen Turner) appeared naked in one scene. Since then, The Graduate has remained in the headlines with a succession of high-profile, towel-dropping Mrs Robinsons - Jerry Hall, Amanda Donohoe, Anne Archer and now Linda Gray.
The comedy has broken box office records at the Gielgud, where it opened with one of the highest advances ever for a straight play in the West End. The Graduate has taken over £9 million at the box office. Additional productions are planned in 20 countries over the next two years.
- by Terri Paddock