Donmar Finalises Casting for Sam Mendes' FinaleDate: 8 May 2002
The Donmar Warehouse has confirmed full casting for this autumn's double bill of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, both directed by artistic director Sam Mendes in his farewell productions after a high-profile decade leading the London theatre. In addition to Simon Russell Beale and Emily Watson, as previously announced, the two classics, running in repertory from 5 September to 30 November 2002, will feature Helen McCrory, Mark Strong, Paul Jesson, David Bradley and Cherry Morris.
McCrory (pictured), most recently seen onstage in Platonov at the Almeida, has previously received great acclaim at the Donmar in How I Learned to Drive. Her screen credits include The Count of Monte Cristo, The Jury, Charlotte Gray, North Square and Anna Karenina. In Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night, McCrory will play Elena and Olivia respectively.
Strong's theatre credits include Speed the Plow, Closer and The Iceman Cometh, while on screen, he's appeared in The Jury, Fever Pitch, Heartlands, Sunshine and Our Friends in the North. In Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night, Strong will play Astrov and Orsino respectively.
Jesson - who appears only in Twelfth Night, as Toby Belch - has just completed a run in Jonathan Kent's farewell production of King Lear at the Almeida King's Cross. Bradley's (Serebryakov and Aguecheek) credits include The Mysteries and The Homecoming (National) on stage and Harry Potter, Vanity Fair and Gabriel and Me on film. Morris - who appears only in Uncle Vanya, as Marina - previously played the part in the RSC's 1998 production of the play. Her other recent stage credits include Howard Katz at the National and Tales from Ovid, The Family Reunion, Henry VIII, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Richard III for the RSC.
Uncle Vanya runs from 5 September to 20 November and is joined by Twelfth Night in repertory from 11 October to 30 November 2002. Public booking for both opens on 17 June. The productions are designed by Anthony Ward, with costumes by Mark Thompston, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, music by George Stiles and sound by Paul Arditti.
Casting has also been confirmed for the final production in the Donmar's current five-month American Imports season, continuing this week with the UK premiere of Proof, starring Gwyneth Paltrow. Take Me Out - the latest play from Richard Greenberg, whose earlier hit Three Days of Rain, starring Colin Firth and Elizabeth McGovern, had two sell-out runs at the Donmar in 1999 - runs from 20 June to 3 August 2002.
A co-production with New York's Public Theater directed by Joe Mantello, Take Me Out - which follows an iconic young baseball star who "comes out" at a press conference - has been cast in the US with an all-American cast that includes Frederick Weller (most recently seen here in The Shape of Things at the Almeida) along with Kevin Carroll, Dominic Fumusa, Neal Huff, Gene Gabriel, Robert Jimenez, Stephen Mendillo, Denis O'Hare, Kohl Sudduth, Daniel Sunjata and James Yaegashi.
In December 2002, Sam Mendes will be succeeded as artistic director of the 250-seat Donmar Warehouse by Michael Grandage, whose award-winning productions there as an associate include Passion Play, Merrily We Roll Along and, most recently, Privates on Parade.
- by Terri Paddock