Schiller Scores Two as Mary Stuart Moves to ApolloDate: 24 August 2005
As previously tipped (See The Goss, 23 Aug 2005), the Donmar Warehouse production of Mary Stuart, starring Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter, will transfer to the West End this autumn. The Schiller tragedy finishes its sell-out season at the Donmar on 3 September 2005, and will re-open on 19 October (previews from 7 October) at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, where itís initially booking until 14 January.
Mary Stuart will be the first Donmar production to transfer to the commercial West End since Michael Grandage took over from Sam Mendes as the artistic director of the 250-seat subsidised theatre in December 2002. However, it is the second Friedrich Schiller play in the West End Ė and, indeed, on Shaftesbury Avenue, this year. Grandageís own Sheffield Crucible production of Schillerís Don Carlos, starring Derek Jacobi and Richard Coyle, was a surprise hit at the Gielgud at the start of the year.
Commenting on the new transfer, Grandage said today: "It gives me enormous pleasure to know that Schiller's plays will continue to dominate the West End when Phyllida Lloyd's brilliant production of Mary Stuart transfers to the Apollo Theatre next month. It is an opportunity to carry on our efforts to get the Donmar's work seen by as many people as possible in London and around the country."
Schillerís 1800 romantic tragedy centres on Queen Elizabeth Iís cousin, and rival for the throne, who was imprisoned for 19 years before being executed for treason. The majority of the Donmar company, including McTeer and Walter, who play Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth, respectively, will reprise their performances in the West End. The cast also features Tam Dean Burn, Stephen Fletcher, David Horovitch, Rory Kinnear and Rufus Wright.
The Mary Stuart transfer also marks the first collaboration between the Donmar and its US associate Arielle Tepper, whose Broadway credits include The Pillowman and Monty Pytonís Spamalot.
The Apolloís current resident, the West Endís first black British musical The Big Life, which transferred from Theatre Royal Stratford East in May and which had been booking until 5 November 20005, will now close on 1 October (See Todayís Other News). Mary Stuart opened at the Donmar Warehouse on 20 July (previews from 14 July). Booking for the playís West End season opens on 24 August.
- by Terri Paddock