Theater

Category:Theater

Helen Mirren Will Bring the Queen to Broadway in 2015 with ‘The Audience’

Theater lovers of America, it’s okay if you’re sometimes secretly sad that we so infrequently get the chance to see the many great British productions that go up in the West End. Sure, sometimes you get lucky and are on a UK vacation right when something grand is on, but given the sheer volume of long-running shows and ever-changing limited engagement options in London, well, we all know we’re missing out on something incredible pretty much nearly all the time. 

Thanks to the heroic efforts of outfits such as the National Theatre Live program or various Fathom Event promotions, we do occasionally get the opportunity to see simulcasts of particularly popular British theatrical productions on a significant scale in America – both Helen McCrory’s Medea and Gillian Anderson’s A Streetcar Named Desire were recently screened nationwide, and Danny Boyle’s brilliant production of Frankenstein is about to get another round of encore runs in honor of Halloween (and the fact that the Benedict Cumberbatch-led production consistently sells out houses all over the country). But, as much as we love it, it’s just not the same.

However, sometimes, a particularly popular or acclaimed British production will be picked up and recreated on Broadway, giving American fans with the ability and desire to go to New York the chance to see the show in person for themselves. Most recently, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe reprised his leading role in The Cripple of Inishmaan last winter, but come 2015, the Great White Way is going to get a little bit more regal. 

Category:Theater

Preview Emma Thompson as Mrs, Lovett in Lincoln Center’s ‘Sweeney Todd’

This week, Live From Lincoln Center presents a special broadcast that Anglophiles everywhere are going to want to see. Back in March, the New York Philharmonic put on a special all-star production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s acclaimed musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which ran for only four days at Avery Hall.  

This extremely limited run musical featured Academy Award-winning actress Emma Thompson in one of the lead roles and, thankfully, it’s being presented on PBS stations nationwide this month as part of the PBS Fall Arts Festival, to the great relief of all of us who couldn’t get to New York in that (tiny) window. Whew.

(And, yes, before you ask, she sings.)

Category:Theater

Watch: Martin Freeman Talks Playing Richard III

Martin Freeman’s performance as Shakespeare’s Richard III is currently in previews at the Trafalgar Theatre in London, as part of their “Trafalgar Transformed” series. The stage play officially opens this week, and tickets are still available for anyone who fancies a pop across the pond this summer.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with your Wars of the Roses, here’s how the story goes: In the aftermath of civil war, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, makes a hateful resolution to claw his way to political power at any cost. A master of manipulation, subtle wit and beguiling charm, he orchestrates his unlawful ascent by spinning a ruthless web of deceit and betrayal. His staunch ambition soon begins to weigh heavy, as the new ruler finds himself utterly alone and steeped in dread, forced to answer for his bloody deeds and face the horrifying consequences. (Keep this handy synopsis in your mind, too, because Freeman’s Sherlock co-star Benedict Cumberbatch will also be playing Richard Crookback in the not-too-distant future.)
But, even though the story is about manipulation and betrayal and murder, it’s not completely dark.

Category:Theater

Richard Armitage to Star in ‘The Crucible’ in the West End This Summer

Just in case you weren’t jealous enough of the incredible London theatre scene – where Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are both set to hit the West End playing Shakespeare over the next year – well, here’s another reason.

The Hobbit star Richard Armitage is set to star in director Yaёl Farber’s revival of Arthur Miller’s very American masterpiece The Crucible at the Old Vic Theatre this summer.

Armitage, best known these days among mainstream audiences for playing walking glamour shot Thorn Oakenshield in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, should be very familiar to fans of British television, having had (rather dishy) starring roles in MI-5, North and South and Robin Hood.  On stage, Armitage has previously performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company in The Duchess of Malfi and Macbeth.

Category:Theater

Martin Freeman to Play Shakespeare’s Richard III in London This Summer

Well, it looks like Benedict Cumberbatch won’t be the only member of the Sherlock cast who will be treading the boards of the West End during the show’s hiatus.

It was recently confirmed that Cumberbatch will be performing Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre beginning in August of 2015. And now, hot on the heels of that particular bombshell of awesomeness comes the news that his co-star Martin Freeman has signed up to play the Bard’s doomed king Richard III.

He will join a long list of distinguished actors who have tackled Shakespeare’s villainous hunchback in recent memory, including Mark Rylance, Kevin Spacey and Sir Ian McKellen, among many others.

Category:Theater

To Be, Apparently: Benedict Cumberbatch to Perform 'Hamlet' in London in 2015

Anyone up for a group jaunt across the pond next summer? We’ve all got the perfect reason to go now.

After much speculation, it’s finally been confirmed that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch will return to the stage next year, to star in a new production of Hamlet in the West End. The production will run for twelve weeks, and is tentatively scheduled from August 5 to October 31, 2015 at London’s Barbican Theatre. Further ticketing information and booking details will be announced in May of this year, so keep an eye out.  

Cumberbatch has gone on the record before about how much he wants to play the character who is arguably Shakespeare’s most famous tragic hero, claiming that he feels that he’s now at an “appropriate age” to take on the role.

Category:Theater

Benedict Cumberbatch Does Tom Stoppard For National Theatre 50th Anniversary

Britain’s National Theatre celebrated its 50th anniversary last year – much like several other  well-known British institutions, including the Rolling Stones and, of course, Doctor Who. For those that don’t know, the NT is one of the UK’s two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company. It presents a varied program, staging everything from Shakespeare and international classic dramas to new and modern works by contemporary playwrights.

In honor of this landmark birthday for a national institution, a star-studded celebration was held last Fall and broadcast around the country. This once in a lifetime event featured excerpts from many of the plays and musicals put on by the National Theatre over the past fifty years, performed by a wide array of British acting greats, as well as loads of archival footage. And by "wide array", we mean basically every fabulous British actor you can think of - including Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Helen Mirren, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Rory Kinnear, Christopher Eccleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peneleope Wilton, Andrew Scott and lots more.  
Category:Theater

‘Harry Potter’ Star Daniel Radcliffe Returning to Broadway in ‘The Cripple of Inishmaan’

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is headed back to the Great White Way this Spring! He’ll be starring in a Broadway version of Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy The Cripple of Inishmaan, reprising his role from last year’s West End production at the Noel Coward Theatre.  The entire London cast from that Michael Grandage-directed revival will also transfer to Broadway along with Radcliffe.

McDonagh’s play is set in the 1930s and the story centers on the inhabitants of a small Irish island stirred up by the news that a Hollywood movie is filming nearby. Radcliffe portrays the titular cripple, who want to be in the film more than anything, if only to escape the tedium of his daily life. This will be, incidentally, the first ever Broadway production of Inishmaan

Read on for more details. 

Category:Theater

British Stage Stars Perform an Amazing Holiday Musical Number for a Good Cause

Need a reason to smile? Then stop what you’re doing and watch this great holiday video.

Many theater stars from all around the world joined forces to perform a cover of the anthem Do They Know It’s Christmas, a song that was originally recorded in 1984 to benefit famine relief. This time, this cover is meant to help raise money for WaterAid, an organization which helps transform lives by helping providing access to clean water and sanitation.

So, you know, absolutely adorable video and a great cause. No reason not to watch. Click through for more details and to watch for yourself. 

Category:Theater

'Great Performances' to Air National Theatre 50th Anniversary Celebration in February

Britain’s National Theatre celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – much like several other  well-known British institutions, including the Rolling Stones and, of course, Doctor Who. For those that don’t know, the NT is one of the UK’s two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company. It presents a varied program, staging everything from Shakespeare and international classic dramas to new and modern works by contemporary playwrights.

Many of the British actors we all love have done stints at the NT, performing a wide variety of roles in various productions.  And by many, we really mean pretty much everyone ever who works in British entertainment. Familiar faces like Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Derek Jacobi,  Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren and many, many more are all alumni of the National Theatre and clearly remain very fond of it.

Earlier this Fall, the BBC held an all-star gala event in honor of the 50th birthday of this cultural institution and the stars turned out in force to celebrate. The program was basically a dream for anyone who loves theater or has been any sort of fan of British television or film over the past couple of decades and we all were basically green with envy that we had to miss out on seeing this once-in-a-lifetime line-up for ourselves. Well, we can all turn a little less green – because the special is going to be aired in America.

Read on for more.

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