Offstage drama at English National Opera

Mark ShentonNews of the day1 Comment

First date is opening (press) night; second date is first preview date

15 Jan

Honeymoon in Vegas

Nederlander Theater

8 Nov

5 Mar

Fish in the Dark

Cort Theatre

2 Feb

12 Mar

On the Twentieth Century

American Airlines Theater

12 Feb

18 Mar

The Audience

Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

17 Feb

19 Mar

Heidi Chronicles

Music Box

23 Feb

2 Apr


John Golden

16 Mar

7 Apr

Hand to God


12 Mar

9 Apr

Wolf Hall

Winter Garden

20 Mar

9 Apr

American in Paris


13 Mar

14 Apr

It Shoulda Been You


17 Mar

15 Apr

Finding Neverland


15 Mar

16 Apr

King and I


12 Mar

16 Apr

The King and I


12 Mar

19 Apr

Fun Home

Circle in Square

27 Mar

20 Apr

Living on Love


1 Apr

22 Apr

Something Rotten

St James

23 Mar

23 Apr

The Visit


26 Mar

27 Apr

Dr Zhivago


27 Mar

its-only-a-play-broadwayAs a critic, medications it’s my job to offer my opinion — but usually I do it from the safety of a computer screen as I write my review (or my mobile phone as I send out a quick tweet). But how do actors deal with giving their opinions to each other when they see each other’s work? (Dis)honesty, website it seems, may be the best policy.

At least according to a round-table of actors currently appearing in It’s Only a Play, a play set behind-the-scenes of the opening night party for an ill-fated new Broadway show. In an interview in the New York Times with its stars Matthew Broderick, Martin Short and Katie Finernan, they were posed the question of what to say,  especially if they’ve not liked the show.

According to Short, in those instances, “You lie.  What’s wrong with lying? Everyone lies. If someone’s 800-pound son comes down in a new tuxedo and he’s on his way to the prom, you don’t say, ‘Wow, look at Tubby in his tux!’ You say, ‘Gee, Sean, you look very handsome tonight.’ ”

Finnernan suggested an alternative:  “You could say, ‘Sean, your eyes are so blue.”??No, said Broderick, shaking his head: “Anything less than ‘You look really handsome tonight,’ he’ll know. He’ll die.”
john-berrySo now we know the real reason for the recent departure of English National Opera’s chairman Martyn Rose. In a (previously private) letter that he sent to ENO’s President and whose contents have now been revealed by the Sunday Times today, stomach   Rose expressed strong doubts about artistic director John Berry’s leadership of the company.

“For the very survival of the ENO, patient Berry must leave, price preferably soon,” he wrote. “Let me be clear — John is in my mind the problem not the solution and no meaningful change will ever take place whilst he remains. Time is of the essence. We cannot wait any longer.”

According to the report, Berry and his executive director Henriette Götz, the latter of whom joined last April, fell out almost immediately. “Sources say they no longer talk and describe Berry as charming but ruthless with opponents. The board is split in support for Berry and Götz.” In his letter to the chairman, Rose wrote, “I know now you share with me the truly appalling state that exists . . . I have no hesitation in blaming John Berry for operating a very skilful campaign to render our executive director unable to carry out her duties.”

Yikes — there’s more backstabbing backstage at the opera than drama onstage.