NT Premieres Tori Amos Musical, Leigh LatestDate: 26 January 2011
American alternative rock singer-songwriter Tori Amos will make her musical writing debut at the National Theatre in April 2012 with the long-rumoured adaptation of George MacDonald’s 1864 fairy tale The Light Princess.
The as-yet untitled piece will have music and lyrics by Amos, with book and additional lyrics by Samuel Adamson. It will be directed by Marianne Elliott and will run in the NT Lyttelton. In the fairy tale, a princess is cursed with a lack of gravity and the only time she doesn’t float up into the air is when she’s swimming. Because of her relationship with water, if she can master the art of crying, there’s a chance she may be grounded and be able to marry the noble prince who has fallen in love with her.
Tori Amos has sold more than 12 million records worldwide. Her singles include "Crucify", "Silent All These Years", "Cornflake Girl", "Caught a Lite Sneeze", "Professional Widow", "Spark" and "A Sorta Fairytale".
Amos' is one of two new musicals announced by NT artistic director Nicholas Hytner at his annual press conference announcing plans for the next year and beyond at the UK’s flagship theatrical institution. It’s preceded, this April in the NT Cottesloe, by the world premiere of London Road, a documentary musical with book and lyrics by verbatim drama specialist Alecky Blythe – based on interviews with Ipswich residents after the murder of six local prostitutes – with music by Adam Cork and direction by Rufus Norris.
Other 2011 highlights officially announced today will include: a new play by Mike Leigh starring his frequent muse Lesley Manville; a playwriting debut from Trainspotting screenwriter John Hodge, starring Alex Jennings and Simon Russell Beale; a new play by Irish dramatist Conor McPherson; and a revival of Sean O’Casey’s modern classic Juno and the Paycock, starring Sinead Cusack and Ciaran Hinds and co-produced with the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, where the play premiered in 1924.
Further details were also released about previously reported productions of: The Cherry Orchard, which will star Zoe Wanamaker and Conleth Hill; Richard Bean’s adaptation of Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters, newly titled One Man, Two Guvnors, which will see James Corden return to the stage for the first time since The History Boys; Ben Power’s new version of Ibsen’s Emperor and Galilean, for which Andrew Scott and Ian McDiarmid have been cast in the leads; and The Comedy of Errors, helmed by Royal Court artistic director Dominic Cooke, making his NT debut.
Hytner also announced an increase in pricing for the Travelex season in the NT Olivier. For the ninth annual season, half of the seats for each performance will be available at £12 (rather than £10), with the rest capped at £20 and £30.
In the NT Olivier
This year’s Travelex season opens on 17 May 2011 with Howard Davies’ production of Chekhov’s 1904 classic THE CHERRY ORCHARD, in a version by Andrew Upton. Zoe Wanamaker and Conleth Hill will star as Madame Ranevskaya and Lopakhin respectively, in a cast that will also include Claudie Blakley, Mark Bonnar, Pip Carter, Gerald Kyd, James Laurenson, Tim McMullan, Emily Taaffe, Charity Wakefield and Sarah Woodward.
Ibsen’s longest play, his 1873 magnum opus EMPEROR AND GALILEAN will receive a new version by Ben Power, directed by Jonathan Kent, and commencing from 15 June 2011. Andrew Scott will play Roman emperor Julian the Apostate opposite Ian McDiarmid as Maximus. McDiarmid and Kent famously ran London’s Almeida Theatre as joint artistic directors from 1990 to 2001. The Emperor cast also includes James McArdle, Jamie Ballard, John Heffernan, Genevieve O'Reilly and Prasanna Puwanarajah.
The Travelex £12 Season will continue in September with a production directed by Thea Sharrock. Though the piece is yet to be confirmed, Hytner has previously said it’s likely to be “a big new play”, sharing Emperor and Galilean themes of “faith and politics”. The season will conclude in October with Bijan Sheibani’s revival of Arnold Wesker’s 1957 debut play THE KITCHEN, set in the frantic basement kitchen of a large restaurant.
Also in September, Jonathan Miller’s staging of Bach’s ST MATTHEW PASSION, in collaboration with Southbank Sinfonia, will have nine performances as part of the four hundredth anniversary celebrations for the King James Bible. The NT will also present readings from the Old and New Testaments, abridged by Edward Kemp, by a company of leading actors from the NT’s last 25 years; Hytner will be the supervisory director and the readings will take place in both the Olivier and Lyttelton.
Finally in the 2011 Olivier rep from November, Royal Court artistic director Dominic Cooke will make his National Theatre debut with Shakespeare’s THE COMEDY OF ERRORS. Further ahead, in January 2012, there will be a new production of Congreve’s THE WAY OF THE WORLD.
In the NT Lyttelton
In May, Nicholas Hytner will direct ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS by Richard Bean, based on Goldoni’s 18th-century comedy The Servant of Two Masters, with James Corden heading the cast in the Truffaldino role of the title. Following its Lyttelton run, it will tour the UK in October, visiting Plymouth, Salford, Birmingham and Edinburgh.
In the Lyttelton rep, it will be followed in July by Katie Mitchell’s new production of Thomas Heywood’s 1603 tragedy A WOMAN KILLED WITH KINDNESS; and in October by the premiere of a new play written and directed by Conor McPherson, which is not yet titled but is set in 19th-century Ireland. McPherson’s last new play, The Seafarer, premiered to award-winning success in the NT Cottesloe in 2006 before transferring to Broadway in 2007.
The final new production announced for the NT Lyttelton in 2011, Howard Davies’ Abbey co-production of O’Casey’s JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK, will join the rep in November after opening first in Ireland in September. Sinead Cusack will play Juno with Ciaran Hinds. Further ahead, the Amos-Adamson musical will premiere in April 2012.
In the NT Cottesloe
The new musical LONDON ROAD will open in the NT Cottesloe on 14 April 2011, with a cast including Whatsonstage.com Award nominee Rosalie Craig, Kate Fleetwood, Nick Holder, Claire Moore, Michael Shaeffer and Paul Thornley. It will be followed in July by four new one-hour plays commissioned from emerging writers – as yet unnamed but whose work will be new to the National Theatre. They’ll be directed by Polly Findlay and Lyndsey Turner, presented in alternating double-bills.
Mike Leigh’s new play, still to be created and titled in Leigh fashion, will premiere in September with a cast including Ruby Bentall and Lesley Manville. Though Leigh is back on stage this spring with a revival of his play Ecstacy at Hampstead Theatre, this will be his first new play since Two Thousand Years, premiered at the NT Cottesloe in 2005.
Finally, John Hodge’s stage debut will be directed by Nicholas Hytner and will open in October. Another offering that doesn’t yet have a title, the play centres on an imaginary encounter between Joseph Stalin and the playwright Mikhail Bulgakov, with Alex Jennings playing Bulgakov opposite Whatsonstage.com Award nominee Simon Russell Beale as Stalin. Hodge’s screenwriting credits include Shallow Grave and A Life Less Ordinary as well as Trainspotting.
Live Twitter coverage from the press conference
JUNO & THE PAYCOCK is 1st time NT has collaborated with Abbey on O'Casey or any of great modern Irish classics. Stars Sinead Cusack
Hytner on new Mike Leigh play: I have absolutely no idea what's on his mind, I guess I'll find out at the 1st run-through
Travelex tix go up to >>12 b/c 'it's the responsible thing to do'. Adjusted for inflation, 2003's >>10 = >>12.46 today
James Corden is 'accomplished actor w/ vivid personality'. ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS set in Brighton in early 1960s. It's 'real popular theatre'
Chance that last year's AFTER THE DANCE will go to New York but LONDON ASSURANCE definitely won't, despite rumours
EMPEROR & GALILEAN 'famous on desks of academics but never yet seen light of day in professional production in this country' = major ...
Cooke's COMEDY OF ERRORS will be Xmas show in Olivier, Hytner wants to encourage more family auds to Shakespeare. He 1st saw the play age 8
Hytner on LONDON ROAD musical by Alecky Blythe & Adam Cork, directed by Rufus Norris: 'Do not expect to come away tapping your toes'
Simon Russell Beale has lost 3 stone in training for Royal Ballet. As Stalin in John Hodge's COLLABORATORS he'll 'wear a big mustache'
Nick Hytner on NT plans in face of arts cuts & tough economy: We are NOT going to contract, will not be timid