The season kicks off with the Derby Playhouse production of Lanie Robertson's Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, running from 16 July to 8 September. Starring Dawn Hope as jazz legend Billie Holliday, the play takes place in 1959, around midnight in a small Philadelphia bar where Holliday is making one of her last appearances. The production is directed by Playhouse artistic director Mark Clements and designed by Chris Croswell.
It's followed, from 11 September to 20 October, by the new comedy drama Benchmark, starring Jerry Hall (pictured) and directed by Michael Rudman, who co-wrote it with Bud Shrake. On a park bench in Los Angeles, California, two men who once knew each other well meet by chance. One of them has just returned from a Tibetan monastery, the other is operating his business from a laptop. Is this really a chance encounter? Enter a mute young woman, a sandwich salesman and 'Sugar', an ex-wife to them both, played by Hall.
An ex-model and ex-wife of Rolling Stone Mick Jagger, Hall's previous stage credits have included The Graduate (in which she starred as Mrs Robinson), The Vagina Monologues and Bus Stop, all in the West End, as well as this year's touring production of Brian McAvera's Picasso's Women.
Running concurrently with Benchmark, from 29 September to 7 October, will be a short season of Snatches, transferring to London direct from next month's Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Based on the actual secretly taped telephone conversations between Linda Tripp and White House intern Monica Lewinsky, it's a tale of manipulation, betrayal and presidential scandal.
The New End's American Exploits season concludes with the transfer of off-Broadway hit More Lies About Jerzy, running from 22 October to 24 November. Davey Holmes' play, directed by Guy Retallack, is based on the life Polish novelist Jerzy Kosinski. The émigré novelist wrote extensively about the Holocaust, but the authenticity of his memoirs was questionable.
- by Terri Paddock