For background’s sake, Matthew Warchus’ revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s trilogy - Table Manners, Living Together and Round and Round the Garden - transferred in April for a 16-week season at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre, where it’s still running. It was, of course, first seen last autumn at London’s Old Vic in a specially reconfigured in-the-round auditorium, a staging retained for the transfer.
Also retained for its Stateside run was the entire six-strong British cast of Amelia Bullmore, Jessica Hynes, Stephen Mangan, Ben Miles, Paul Ritter and Amanda Root – no fewer than four of whom were Tony-nominated: Mangan and Ritter competing with each other for Featured Actor in a Play, Hynes and Root battling each other for Featured Actress (losing eventually to British-born veteran Angela Lansbury).
The Norman Conquests was nominated for a total of seven 2009 Tony Awards (See News, 15 May 2009), and won Best Revival of a Play, beating off competition from the Donmar transfer of Schiller’s Mary Stuart and a high-profile Waiting for Godot, starring Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin.
Warchus lost out on winning Best Direction of a Play for The Norman Conquests to himself for his other current Broadway production of another play first seen in London, Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage (which, unlike The Norman Conquests, was reset in the US and recast with American screen stars).
Norman’s success is also a boon for Alan Ayckbourn, who, despite authoring 72 shows to date, has had relatively little Broadway exposure. Prior to the trilogy transfer, he hadn’t had a play on Broadway since A Small Family Business in 1992.
So, it’s a true British success all-round – a Tony Award-winning play by a British playwright, set in the UK and performed, staged and produced (the lead producer is the London-based Sonia Friedman) by Brits. Well done to all involved. Here’s a little video we found of an interview with Amanda Root and Paul Ritter talking about their Broadway experience and being nominated for a Tony Award. Enjoy.
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