Cumming, Pryce, Duncan Make Queen’s HonoursDate: 15 June 2009
Actors Alan Cumming, Jonathan Pryce, Lindsay Duncan and Sue Johnston are amongst the stage names singled out for their services to the arts as part of the annual Queen's Birthday Honours list, announced over the weekend.
Jonathan Pryce, who is made CBE, was seen on the London stage last month in Dimetos at the Donmar Warehouse and, later this year, returns to tread the boards in Pinter’s The Caretaker at the Liverpool Everyman, where he spent much of his early career, met his wife (the actress Kate Fahy) and became artistic director. Pryce’s many other theatre credits include Glengarry Glen Ross, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? My Fair Lady and Oliver!. His film and TV credits include Baker Street, Victoria and Albert, Leatherheads, The Pirates of the Caribbean, Ronin, Tomorrow Never Dies and Carrington.
Lindsay Duncan, who was also honoured with a CBE, returned to the London stage in 2007 after a six-year absence to headline the Royal Court’s world premiere of the then 21-year-old Polly Stenham’s debut play That Face, which transferred last year to the West End. Duncan won Best Actress Oliviers for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s original production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses and for her last stage role, the 2001 West End revival of Private Lives, which also scooped her accolades at the Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle awards, and for its Broadway transfer, the Tony Awards. Her previous Royal Court credits include Mouth to Mouth, Ashes to Ashes and Top Girls.
Scotsman Alan Cumming, who received an OBE, also recently made a return to the UK stage, having lived mainly in the US for the past decade. In 2006, he headlined a West End revival of Martin Sherman’s Bent and followed that up by playing Dionysus in the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of The Bacchae at the Edinburgh International Festival and at London’s Lyric Hammersmith in 2007.
Cumming's early stage credits include extensive work at the Tron Theatre and Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum, and, in London, Conquest of the South Pole, La Bete, Hamlet and Accidental Death of an Anarchist, for which he won an Olivier for Comedy Performance of the Year. He’s best remembered by theatregoers for Sam Mendes’ Donmar Warehouse revival of Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret, which transferred to Broadway, where he won a Tony Award for his performance as the Kit Kat Klub’s emcee. Since that 1998 success with Cabaret, his stage work in the US has included Design for Living, Elle and The Threepenny Opera. His film credits include Sweet Land, Spy Kids, X2, Nicholas Nickleby, Titus, Eyes Wide Shut, Emma, Circle of Friends, Annie and Ant Bully.
Sue Johnston, another OBE, was most recently seen on stage in the Donmar’s revival of Peter Gill’s Small Change last year. Her other theatre credits include The Master Builder in the West End and The Mysteries at the National, while on TV she’s a familiar face from The Royle Family, Jam and Jerusalem and Waking the Dead.
Elswhere, there were MBEs for actors James Bolam and Anna Wing; CBEs for opera director Graham Vick and the renowned RSC voice coach Cicely Berry; OBEs for playwright Kay Mellor and choreographer Dougie Squire; and actor Christopher Lee, best known for his screen roles in the Hammer horror films as well as, more recently, the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings series was made a Knight of the British Empire.
For analysis of this year’s theatre-related Birthday Honours, see Michael Coveney’s blog.