American comedy Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks has pulled forward its closing date by another four weeks at the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket (See News, 20 Dec 2006).

The play – which stars Claire Bloom and, making his West End debut, Hollywood’s Billy Zane – received its UK premiere on 29 November 2006 (previews from 23 November) and had originally been booking to 3 March 2007 (See News, 9 Oct 2006). Last month, it curtailed that booking period by a week to 24 February. Instead, it will now close, after a run of two months, on 27 January 2007.

A UK tour is planned for the two-hander this autumn, though without Bloom and Zane. Casting is now underway for the new regional dates.

Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks follows the unlikely acquaintance between a sprightly retiree and her young dance teacher. After moving from his beloved New York City to Florida’s Gulf Coast, the acerbic Michael (Zane) is hired for six weeks by Lily (Bloom), a lonely but formidable minister’s wife with a flair for dancing. What begins as an antagonistic relationship becomes a remarkable friendship as two people with very different backgrounds reveal their secrets, hopes and fears while they do the foxtrot, the cha-cha, the tango and the waltz.

Richard Alfieri’s comedy was first performed in Los Angeles in 2001 with Uta Hagen and David Hyde Pierce, while Polly Bergen and Mark Hamill starred in the short-lived Broadway premiere in autumn 2003. The play has since been seen in Australia, Canada, Japan, Israel, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, with further international productions and a film adaptation in the work.

It’s directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman, who also directed the 2001 LA production, and designed by Christopher Woods. The dances are staged by Craig Revel Horwood (Spend Spend Spend and My One and Only in the West End, and a judge on TV’s Strictly Come Dancing). The play is presented in London by TRH Productions and EntPro Plays Inc.

Following Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks into the Haymarket is Edward Albee’s rarely seen 1980 play The Lady from Dubuque (See News, 24 Nov 2006) - starring Maggie Smith and Catherine McCormack and directed by Anthony Page - which opens for a strictly limited three-month season on 20 March 2007 (previews from 8 March).

- by Terri Paddock