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Henshall, Atkins, Etc. Set for Kent's Theatre Royal Season


The Theatre Royal Haymarket has announced a season of shows directed by Jonathan Kent.  

From September 2007, the newly created Theatre Royal Haymarket Company will present their first season of productions, under the direction of Kent.  In a new initiative pioneered by the theatre's producers, Arnold M. Crook and Nigel Everett, Kent's season will comprise William Wycherly's restoration comedy The Country Wife, Edward Bond's black comedy The Sea, and the world premiere of Marguerite, a new musical by Michel Legrand, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Herbert Kretzmer.  Joining Kent will be his long term and regular collaborators designer Paul Brown and lighting designer Mark Henderson.

David Haig (Boeing Boeing), Patricia Hodge (Mary Poppins) and Toby Stephens (Betrayal at the Donmar Warehouse) head up the company for The Country Wife, Eileen Atkins (Doubt, The Unexpected Man) will lead The Sea company, and Ruthie Henshall (Putting It Together, Chicago, The Woman in White) will play the title role in the musical Marguerite.

Working closely with Kent and in a unique development to coincide with their tenth anniversary, the Haymarket's pioneering MasterClass programme will create and run a new apprentice training scheme for actors, directors and designers to work within the company, giving a vital first opportunity in the industry for talented young people.

The Country Wife will run from September 27, 2007 –  January 12, 2008, with press night on October 9. The cast includes:  Liz Crowther (Mrs Squeamish), Fiona Glascott (Margery Pinchwife), David Haig (Pinchwife), Patricia Hodge (Lady Fidget) and Toby Stephens (Horner).  "One of the greatest and funniest comedies of the Restoration, The Country Wife tells the story of Horner, a notorious and lascivious man-about-town and his ingenious scheme for the rampant and mass seduction of the women of London society.   By spreading the false rumour of his own impotence, he gains the sympathy of the husbands of the town and, more importantly, free access to their wives. Meanwhile the newly-married Pinchwife desperately attempts to keep his naïve country bride from the clutches of predatory London bachelors.  When she and Horner meet, events spiral out of his control…"

The Sea, the second production in Kent's Haymarket season, will run from January 17 –  April 19 with press night on 23 January. The cast includes Eileen Atkins (Mrs Rafi), David Haig (Hatch) and Marcia Warren (Jessica Tilehouse). "A wild storm shakes a small East Anglian seaside village and sets off a series of events that changes the lives of all its residents.  Set in the high Edwardian world of 1907, The Sea is a fascinating blend of wild farce, high comedy, biting social satire and bleak poetic tragedy."

The final production in Jonathan Kent's Haymarket season will be the world premiere of Marguerite, a new musical with music by Michel Legrand, book by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and Jonathan Kent, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer from the original French lyrics by Alain Boublil and orchestrations and arrangements by Michel Legrand and Seann Alderking.  Marguerite will run for a limited season at the Haymarket from May 6 –  November 1, with press night on May 20. "A love story set in Paris during the Second World War, Marguerite draws inspiration from one of the greatest of romantic novels, La Dame aux Camellias by Alexandre Dumas.  Marguerite is the beautiful and notorious mistress of a high ranking German officer.  Armand is a young musician half her age who falls obsessively in love with her.  Their dangerous love story is played out against the background of Occupied Paris."

Jonathan Kent established the Almeida Theatre as a full-time producing house with Ian McDiarmid in 1990.  He was joint artistic director for 12 years.  His productions included Ibsen's When We Dead Awaken, Dryden's All for Love, Euripides' Medea (also West End and Broadway), Anthony Burgess' new version of Griboyedov's Chatsky, Bernhard's The Showman, Moliere's The School for Wives, Louis Mellis and David Scinto's Gangster No. 1, Moliere's Tartuffe, David Hare's versions of The Life of Galileo, The Rules of the Game, Ivanov, John Byrne's version of Gogol's The Government Inspector, Nicholas Wright's version of Pirandello's Naked and Shakespeare's The Tempest.  His production of Hamlet also opened at the Hackney Empire, before transferring to Broadway. 

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