As previously tipped (See The Goss, 1 May 2009), a new stage adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s - in which Anna Friel makes her West End debut as Holly Golightly, the part immortalised in the 1961 film classic by Audrey Hepburn - will be the second offering in the Theatre Royal Haymarket’s season of in-house productions. It will open on 29 September (previews from 9 September) and is booking until 9 January 2010.

Directed by Sean Mathias, who acts as artistic director of the entire season, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is adapted by Samuel Adamson. Though Adamson draws more on the original source of Truman Capote’s 1958 novella, “Moon River”, Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer’s Oscar-winning song from Blake Edwards’ film, will be included in the stage version.

In 1940s New York, a struggling young writer moves into a Manhattan apartment building and soon becomes captivated by his charming and beautiful neighbour, Holly Golightly, whose public persona differs from her vulnerable private self. With her string of rich suitors, will the penniless writer “Fred” succeed in capturing the heart of this good-time girl?

Breakfast at Tiffany’s returns Anna Friel to the London stage for the first time since Lulu at the Almeida at King’s Cross in 2001. Her other stage credits include Closer on Broadway. She’s best known for her screen credits in the likes of Pushing Daisies, Rogue Trader, Land Girls and Brookside. Her Breakfast at Tiffany’s co-star will be, making his London stage debut, American Joseph Cross, whose credits include Milk and Running with Scissors on film and Landscape of the Body and Mourning Becomes Electra on stage.

Speaking about her new role, Anna Friel said: “Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's has always been one of my favourite novels, and I am delighted to have been given both the opportunity to play one of my all-time favourite heroines, Holly Golightly, and to be returning home to the London stage.”

Director Sean Mathias added: “I have long been an avid fan of Capote and I hope that my production of his dazzling novella Breakfast at Tiffany's will be an unashamedly glamorous evening of wit, style, tenderness and music, with the dynamic 1940s New York as a backdrop.”

Samuel Adamson’s other original plays include Southwark Fair, Clocks and Whistles, Some Kind of Bliss, Mrs Affleck, which premiered at the National this past January, and A Quiet Island, the forthcoming premiere of which has been postponed at the Almeida (See News, 14 May 2009). Adamson’s adaptation of Pedro Almodovar’s Spanish film All About My Mother won the 2008 Whatsonstage.com Award for Best New Play.

This is the first time that the Truman Capote Literary Trust has permitted a dramatic stage adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. A Broadway musical version of the story, starring Mary Tyler Moore as Holly, was a notorious flop in 1966; it never officially opened, closing after just four preview performances.

Alan U Schwartz of Trust said: “Samuel Adamson’s play has caught the essence of Capote’s famous novella and we at the Trust are very pleased to be associated with it.” Proceeds from ticket sales will help fund university scholarships in creative writing. Truman Capote’s other iconic works included In Cold Blood. The author died in 1984.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is designed by Anthony Ward, presented by Chambord, and is produced by Colin Ingram by arrangement with the Theatre Royal Haymarket Company.

At the Haymarket now, the first production in Mathias’ season, his revival of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, has so far extended through to 26 July 2009. Programming details for the interim weeks between Godot and Breakfast at Tiffany’s have not yet been announced. Further ahead, the season is also tipped to include a new production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters starring Gwyneth Paltrow (See The Goss, 9 May 2009).

- by Terri Paddock