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Weisz Boards Donmar Streetcar, Molina & West

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The Donmar Warehouse has announced the line-up for the new summer/winter season at its Covent Garden home, with highlights including a revival of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire starring Rachel Weisz (pictured) and Elliot Cowan, and London stage returns for Alfred Molina and Dominic West.

The new schedule opens with A Streetcar Named Desire, which runs from 28 July 2009 to 3 October 2009 (previews from 23 July), is followed by Pedro Calderon de la Barca’s Life Is a Dream in a new version by Helen Edmundson and starring Dominic West, running from 13 October to 28 November (previews from 8 October). The season concludes with the world premiere of John Logan’s Red, directed by Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage and featuring a return to the London stage for Alfred Molina, from 8 December to 6 February 2010 (previews from 3 December).

First seen in 1947, Pulitzer Prize-winning play A Streetcar Named Desire centres on fading southern belle Blanche DuBois (Weisz), whose arrival at the home of her sister Stella and her brutish husband Stanley Kowalski (Cowan) upsets their marital dynamic and sets Blanche and Stanley on a violent collision course.

Alongside Weisz and Cowan, the cast will also feature Jack Ashton, Barnaby Kay and Ruth Wilson (as Stella). The last major London production of Streetcar was at the National Theatre in 2002, when Glenn Close and Iain Glen played Blanche and Stanley, the parts immortalised in the 1951 film by Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando. Choreographer-turned-direct Rob Ashford (Parade) directs.

Pedro Calderon de la Barca’s Life Is a Dream examines the conflict between free will and fate by examining the travails of Segismundo, the banished heir to the throne of Poland, who dreams of palaces, empires, freedom and revenge. Helen Edmundson presents a new version starring Dominic West, who recently rose to international fame in acclaimed American TV drama series The Wire, directed by Jonathan Munby and designed by Angela Davies.

Rounding off the new season, John Logan's Red centres on artist Mark Rothko who, under the watchful gaze of his young assistant and the threatening presence of a new generation of artists, takes on his greatest challenge yet: to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting.

Alfred Molina, whose myriad film credits include Frida, Chocolat and Spider-Man 2, makes his first return to the London stage in over ten years to star as Rothko, alongside Eddie Redmayne, who was nominated for Best Actor in the 2009 Whatsonstage.com Awards for last year’s premiere of Now or Later at the Royal Court. It's directed by Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage and designed by Christopher Oram.

Expansion of international programming

The forthcoming season also sees a boosting of the Donmar's international presence, with Mary Stuart opening on Broadway this weekend, Frost/Nixon continuing its tour of the US, Parade opening later this year in Los Angeles and Guys and Dolls continuing its run in Sydney.

The Donmar’s production of Hamlet, which stars Jude Law and opens at the Wyndham’s Theatre on 3 June (previews from 29 May), will transfer to Kronborg Castle, Elsinore in Denmark from 25 August to 30 August, while Piaf, starring Elena Roger in the title role, moves to Roger’s native Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Announcing the new season, Michael Grandage said: "The announcement of this new season is part of the ongoing development of the Donmar's brand at home and abroad. It demonstrates our continued commitment to the European repertoire, the American repertoire, to musicals and to new writing. It also sees the expansion of our Education programme and our commitment to free tickets for those under the age of 26.

“It's exciting for us to collaborate with so many writers, actors, directors and designers and to reach out to new audiences on four continents with such an eclectic mix of work. This is everything I want the Donmar to stand for."

Currently at the Donmar, Athol Fugard's Dimetos continues to 9 May and is followed by Zinnie Harris' new version of Ibsen's A Doll's House, starring Gillian Anderson, Toby Stephens, Christopher Eccleston and Tara Fitzgerald (See News, 27 Mar 2009), from 19 May to 18 July (previews from 14 May). At the Wyndham's, the penultimate instalment in the Donmar West End season, Madame de Sade, continues to 23 May 2009.

- by Theo Bosanquet


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