Scotsman Alan Cumming (pictured) has been confirmed to star in Daniel Kramer’s upcoming revival of Martin Sherman’s 1978 play Bent this autumn (See News, 4 Jul 2006). The new production will open on 5 October 2006 (previews from 22 September) at the West End’s Trafalgar Studios, where it’s currently booking until 13 January 2007.

In addition to extensive early work at the Tron Theatre and Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum, Cumming’s previous London stage credits include the plays Conquest of the South Pole, La Bete, Hamlet and Accidental Death of an Anarchist, for which he won an Olivier for Comedy Performance of the Year. He’s best remembered by theatregoers for Sam Mendes’ Donmar Warehouse revival of Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret, which transferred to Broadway, where he won a Tony Award for his performance as the Kit Kat Klub’s emcee.

Since his 1998 success with Cabaret, Cumming has been based mainly in the US where his other stage credits have included Design for Living, Elle and The Threepenny Opera. His film credits include Sweet Land, Spy Kids, X2, Nicholas Nickleby, Titus, Eyes Wide Shut, Emma, Circle of Friends, Annie and the soon to be released Ant Bully.

Cumming will be joined in the Bent cast by Richard Bremmer (RSC’s Great Expectations) as Greta, Hugh Ross (The Woman in Black) as Freddie, Kevin Trainor as Rudy and Benjamin Wilkin as Wolf, as well as Ricky Champ, Charles Mayer, Matthew Spencer and Laurence Spellman. Further casting is still to be announced.

Bent was first seen in London in 1979 at the Royal Court, starring Ian McKellen and transferring to the West End. The 1980 Broadway premiere was led by Richard Gere as Max, a part played by Clive Owen in the 1997 film. In Nazi Germany, homosexual Max is sent to Dachau, his lover killed en route. At the concentration camp, he denies being gay, preferring to wear the yellow star of the Jews, but when he falls in love with fellow prisoner Horst, he must make a stand.

Daniel Kramer is an associate director at west London’s Gate Theatre, where his acclaimed productions have included Woyzeck and last year’s updated version of Hair. His production of Through the Leaves, starring Simon Callow, had a West End run at the Duchess Theatre in 2003. In addition to Bent, Sherman has written Rose, A Madhouse in Goa, When She Danced, adaptations of EM Forster’s A Passage to India and Pirandello’s Absolutely! (perhaps) and the book for the musical The Boy from Oz for the stage and Callas Forever and Mrs Henderson Presents for the screen.

Currently at Trafalgar Studio 1, Shared Experience’s Jane Eyre is due to finish its extended season on 26 August 2006. Kramer’s revival of Bent is designed by Robin Don with costumes by Mark Bouman. It’s presented by Sonia Friedman Productions, Mark Rubinstein and Tulbart Productions.

- by Caroline Ansdell & Terri Paddock