Welcome to today’s edition of ShentonSTAGE Daily that is e-mailed to subscribers every morning (to subscribe, send message to ShentonStageMailingList@gmail.com), and is also available online here.
I’m (not-so) fresh off a plane from New York, after an overnight flight that landed at Gatwick at 8am, so this is going to be an abbreviated newsletter.
NEW YORK HIGHLIGHTS: SUMMARY
Though I’ve already written quite a bit about my trip in my newsletters from New York, here’s the final tally: across 13 nights, I saw 20 shows in all — 11 of them on Broadway, 8 off-Broadway,one in a cabaret room (54 Below, that I actually visited three times in all, the most of any single venue, though the other two times were for press launches, not full shows); broken down into 12 musicals, 6 plays, one special event (The Gazillion Bubble Show at New World Stages), and one cabaret.
They included two Sondheim revivals (COMPANY, top left, and ASSASSINS, top right, respectively on and off Broadway), and the new musicals JAGGED LITTLE PILL (bottom left) and MRS DOUBTFIRE (bottom right, also already announced to make its UK premiere at Manchester Opera House in September 2022). Not all have opened yet, so I’m not going to formally comment yet.
But these were my highlights:
1) OFF-BROADWAY: BABY, presented by Out of the Box Theatricals. Delightful production of 1983 Broadway musical., pictured below.
2) BROADWAY: JAGGED LITTLE PILL: Surprising original musical constructed from Alanis Morissette songs. As I did not recognise a single number here, it all came as a complete surprise to me; but more than that, I was thrilled at how they were employed in the service of an original narrative about a nuclear family going, well, nuclear. In the process, it became the best musical constructed from a back pop catalogue since AMERICAN IDIOT, a musical made out of Green Day’s album of the same name.
3) CABARET: MELISSA ERRICO at 54 Below. SImply sublime love letter from a native New Yorker to her home town.
THIS WEEK’S MAJOR THEATRE OPENINGS
Tuesday November 23
- Manor (National’s Lyttelton Theatre) Moira Buffini’s new play stars Nancy Carroll as the owner of a rundown manor house, which shelters an explosive mix of people during a storm including Ted Farrier, a charismatic leader of a far-right organisation, played by Shaun Evans. Press contact: Katie Marsh at National Theatre. https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/manor
- The Comedy of Errors (Barbican Theatre) The RSC’s new production, seen in a new outdoor space at the company’s Stratford-upon-Avon HQ in the summer, transfers indoors to the Barbican Theatre. https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2021/event/royal-shakespeare-company-the-comedy-of-errors Press contact: Kate Evans at The RSC
Wednesday November 24
- A Christmas Carol (Old Vic). Matthew Warchus’s now perennial stage version of Dickens returns once again, this time live after last year’s version was presented ‘In Camera’ (when it was live-streamed from the theatre). Stephen Mangan (pictured above) stars as Scrooge. Press contacts: Hannah Stockton, Kitty Greenleaf, Jo Allan at Jo Allan PR.https://www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2021/watch-at-the-theatre/a-christmas-carol-5
Also Wednesday November 24:
- While the Sun Shines (Orange Tree Theatre, November 20-January 8, press night November 24) Orange Tree artistic director Paul Miller’s 2019 production of Terence Rattigan’s 1943 play set during the London blitz returns. Press contact: Riona Kelly/Freya Cowdry at Kate Morley PR. https://orangetreetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/while-the-sun-shines/about
Thursday November 25
- The Drifters Girl (Garrick Theatre) Beverley Knight star as Faye Treadwell, the legendary manager of The Drifters in Jonathan Church’s production. She is joined by Adam J Bernard, Tarinn Callender, Matt Henry and Tosh Wanogho-Maud as The Drifters. Press contact: David Bloom at Storyhouse PR. https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/the-drifters-girl/
TODAY’S THEATRE BIRTHDAYS (NOV 23)
Kelly Brook, 42 (in FAT PIG at the Harold Pinter Theatre, 2008); Maxwell Caulfield, 62 (pic: in THE LADY VANISHES on a UK tour in 2019, with wife Juliet Mills); Diana Quick, 75; Tim Sheader, artistic director, Open Air Theatre, 50