Opening: ENO Kismet, America, Venice & BaghdadDate: 25 June 2007
Amongst the major openings in London this week are:
OPENING TUESDAY, 26 June 2007 (previews from 20 June), Headlong Theatre’s revival of Angels in America concludes its tour at west London’s Lyric Hammersmith (See News, 11 Dec 2006). Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning two-part play has rarely been seen in the UK since its 1993 premiere at the National Theatre, though the playwright adapted it for a 2003 HBO series directed by Mike Nichols. The seven-hour epic, subtitled “A Gay Fantasia on National Themes”, deals with the divine intervention of a New York turned upside down by the chaotic energy of the 1980s and the destructive terror of AIDS, with the private and public Reagan-era lives woven together in a vivid dissection of relationships, survival and faith.
Angels in America is directed by Daniel Kramer and designed by Soutra Gilmour. The cast includes Greg Hicks as Roy Cohn, Adam Levy, Jo Stone-Fewings, Ann Mitchell, Golda Roshuevel and Kirsty Bushell (See News, 1 Feb 2007). Part one, Millennium Approaches, and part two, Perestroika, run in rep at the Lyric until 22 July.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 27 June 2007 (preview 26 June), English National Opera revives the 1953 Broadway musical Kismet, running for 18 performances only (originally 19, Monday’s first preview was cancelled) at the London Coliseum (See News, 2 Aug 2006). The Arabian Nights-inspired piece – with a book by Charles Lederer and music and lyrics by Grand Hotel’s Robert Wright and George Forrest - follows the remarkable changes of fortune that engulf a poor poet during the course of one incredible day when Kismet (fate) takes control.
Michael Ball and Tony Award-winning Broadway star Faith Prince, making her London stage debut (See News, 27 Apr 2007), lead the 130-strong company. The production is conceived by Gary Griffin (who also directs) in collaboration with Luther Davis and Kit Hesketh-Harvey.
OPENING THURSDAY, 28 June 2007, Baghdad Wedding, the first play by London-based Iraqi writer Hassan Abdulrazzak, receives its world premiere at Soho Theatre, where its limited season runs to 21 July (See News, 28 Mar 2007). Against a backdrop of London and war-torn Iraq, three friends grapple with their sexual, cultural and political identity. Soho artistic director Lisa Goldman directs.
ALSO ON THURSDAY, The Merchant of Venice has its rescheduled press night at Shakespeare’s Globe in rep until 6 October as part of summer 2007’s “Renaissance + Revolution” season at the Globe (See News, 12 Jun 2007). Originally due to open on 12 June (previews from 2 June), the first press night was cancelled after Michelle Duncan, playing Portia, withdrew at short notice. She has now been permanently replace by her understudy Kirsty Besterman. The cast also features John McEnery as Shylock. Rebecca Gatward directs.
- by Terri Paddock