Opening: Cyrano, Jailhouse, Oleanna, DemocracyDate: 19 April 2004
Amongst the major London openings taking place this week are:
OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 19 April 2004 (previews from 10 April), Irishman Stephen Rea (The Crying Game, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me) returns to the National Theatre for the first time in nearly 15 years to take the title role in Howard Davies’ revival of Edmond Rostand’s classic romantic swashbuckler Cyrano de Bergerac. The production kicks off this year’s Travelex £10 season in the NT Olivier, where it continues in repertory until 24 June 2004.
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ALSO OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 19 April 2004 (previews from 26 March), the stage musical of Jailhouse Rock - the latest collaboration from Alan Janes and Rob Bettinson, best known for their long-running Buddy Holly bio-musical Buddy - comes to the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre, following initial dates in Plymouth and Manchester.
Jailhouse Rock features 22 songs in total, amongst them Elvis Presley hits such as “Blue Suede Shoes”, “Burnin’ Love”, “Suspicious Minds”, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and “Always on My Mind”. What it doesn’t contain, due to rights refusal by the American songwriters Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, is the title or any other song from the original 1957 film which helped to shoot a young Elvis to superstar status (See News, 19 Mar 2004). Newcomer Mario Kombou plays Vince Everett in a cast that also features Lisa Peace, Roger Alborough and Gilz Terrera.
ALSO OPENING TONIGHT, 19 April 2004 (previews from 15 April), at the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, is Dona Daley’s Blest Be the Tie, co-produced by Black British theatre company Talawa. Florence enjoys her life in London, but when a surprise visitor arrives from Jamaica, her flat starts to feel a little too small. It continues up to 8 May 2004 (See News, 16 Mar 2004).
OPENING TUESDAY, 20 April 2004 (previews from 15 April), the National Theatre’s premiere production of Michael Frayn’s multi award-winning Democracy transfers to the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre, after extended runs at the NT Cottesloe and Lyttelton. Roger Allam and Conleth Hill reprise their roles as West German Chancellor Willy Brandt and his personal assistant Gunter Guillaume, who spied on him for the East German Stasi (See News, 3 Mar 2004). New to the all-male cast are Simon Chandler and Michael Simkins.
OPENING THURSDAY, 22 April 2004 (previews from 15 April), Hollywood’s Julia Stiles (10 Things I Hate About You, The Business of Strangers, State and Main, The Bourne Identity, Mona Lisa Smile) and Aaron Eckhart ( Nurse Betty, Erin Brockovich,In the Company of Men) make their West End debuts in Lindsay Posner’s revival of Oleanna at the Garrick Theatre (See News, 13 Feb 2004). In David Mamet’s tense two-hander about political correctness, Stiles plays an American university student who, when faced with failing a course, accuses her male professor, played by Eckhart, of sexual harassment.
- by Terri Paddock