Monday, October 23, 2006

London Calling

Hmmm... For some reason my last post is gone. If you didn't read it, you didn't miss much, but it's odd.

Anyway… I thought I’d take this time to write about some London shows rumored for Broadway berths. I get questions all the time about these titles—not many people know what all of them are.


Journey’s End: Playbill reported that it was coming this spring. Now it was also casting for a production last spring, so I wouldn’t bank on buying your tickets just yet. That being said—based on what I’ve heard about theater availability, I expect it, so let me tell you a little bit about it. Directed by David Grindley (who I do not believe has ever done anything on Broadway), it first opened in the West End in January 2004 at the Comedy Theatre. It switched houses many times, also playing at the Playhouse Theatre, Duke of York's and New Ambassadors Theatre. Based on scribe R.C. Sherriff’s own time in the trenches, the play itself first opened in 1929 and centers on a captain, Stanhope, as he prepares his men for a daring raid and epic battle. The production got great reviews—everyone in London said it was very powerful and graphic and, while not totally overtly anti-war, would really appeal to anti-war activists (aka New York liberals).

Coram Boy: Riedel reported this for the Imperial should High Fidelity fail early. Adapted from a Jamila Gavin novel, this dark tale first opened at the National Theatre last holiday season and was such a hit it is coming back this one. There are three major plots to this show: one has as its central characters Otis Gardiner, known as the Coram Man, and his unstable son, who take money from women who give birth to illegitimate children and, um, gets rid of the children; there is also the plot centering on Alexander Ashbrook who dreams of being a composer like Handel (his storyline involves a lot of music and singing); the other plot involves two orphans at the Coram Hospital for Deserted Children. Reviews said it was disturbing but also thrilling.

Frost/Nixon: Everyone has written that this show is coming to Gotham. And, indeed, the website for the West end transfer, beginning November 10 at the Gielgud, proudly boasts “12 weeks only prior to Broadway.” Starring Michael Sheen and Frank Langella as Frost and Nixon, respectively, the play just closed a limited run at the Donmar Warehouse. It centers on David Frost's post-Watergate interviews with Richard Nixon. I didn’t read one bad review of it and receiving big raves in each of the reviews was Langella. He just might need to make room on his mantle for a third Tony.

Rock ‘n’ Roll: Who originally thought this was about the origin of the music form? Just me? I sort of wish it was in some respect, but that would be a little tired and not be very Tom Stoppard. Here is the actual description: “Rock 'n' Roll spans the years from 1968 to 1990 from the double perspective of Prague, where a rock 'n' roll band comes to symbolize resistance to the Communist regime, and of Cambridge where the verities of love and death are shaping the lives of three generations in the family of a Marxist philosopher.” The show was a huge sold-out hit at the Royal Court and moved to the Duke of York's Theatre in July. Rufus Sewell and Sinead Cusack are among its stars. Some critics noted that it is at times overly complex, but they all seemed to go with it regardless. Trevor Nunn’s production received raves and apparently the show has a lot of spirit.

A Moon for the Misbegotten: They worked together on The Iceman Cometh and now director Howard Davies and star Kevin Spacey have reunited on another Eugene O'Neill classic. Spacey was having trouble receiving acclaim at the Old Vic, but this revival changed all that. Spacey’s co-stars Eve Best and Colm Meaney also both received their share of good notices. It’s at the Old Vic until December 23 and we could definitely be seeing it afterwards. Apparently they want Best and she is already scheduled to be in As You Like It (playing the Crucible Theater in Sheffield in the winter and then Stratford-on-Avon starting in March 2007) post-Moon, but I don’t think that will stop it. I mean, the play was just on Broadway in 2000 and that is not stopping this transfer…

I know I am forgetting something. Did one of these announce a theater and I’ve blocked it? Or am I forgetting a member of the list? Hmmm… If it was not 3am maybe I could answer my own questions.


Rocco said...

Was it you who wrote that Samuel Barnett was likely to star in JOURNEY'S END?

And totally OT, do you have any idea what happened to the revival of TORCH SONG TRILOGY that John Cameron-Mitchell was rumored to be in talks for.

Witz said...

Frost/Nixon was brilliant, and Sheen and Langella were both great in it. It would be terrif for a small B'way house.
Rock 'n' Roll is MUCH better Stoppard than Coast of Utopia, and a helluva lot easier to stage. But Coast may poison the waters, so to speak.

carajoy said...

Witz--I am glad you liked Rock 'n' Roll. I am going to try to see it if I am in London this January (which very well may happen).

Rocco--I'm not the Barnett person. I sort of have a TORCH SONG answer--at the time it was announced, I heard that the revival never really existed... I mean, I think he said he wanted to do it at some point and journalists sort of made something into it... and then some producer was like "oh, yeah, i'd do it" and the rest is history. BUT my memory might be faulty, so I am going to try to confirm that and I'll get back to you.

carajoy said...

I have a little more Torch Song info from my experts. Indeed the production was not really 100% together at the time it was announced, but producer Jordan Roth did really want to do it. It simply didn't get together because of scheduling and such, but still might be able to happen someday.