Noel Coward's BRIEF ENCOUNTER to Open at Studio 54 in September

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Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) in association with David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Cineworld will present Kneehigh Theatre's production of Noël Coward's Brief Encounter, adapted and directed by Emma Rice.

Brief Encounter will begin previews on Friday, September 10th, 2010 and open officially Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 at Studio 54 on Broadway (254 West 54th Street).

This will be a limited engagement through December 5, 2010.

Brief Encounter is an imaginative new work that combines elements of Noël Coward's beloved screenplay, and the one act play on which it was based, with song, dance and Technicolor displays of emotion.

This breakout hit from London's Kneehigh Theatre played a sold out run at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, NY and has also played critically acclaimed engagements at ACT and the Guthrie Theater.

The cast will be announced shortly.

The design team includes Neil Murray (Sets & Costumes), Malcolm Rippeth (Lights), Simon Baker (Sound) and Gemma Carrington & Jon Driscoll (Projection).

Roundabout's history with Noël Coward includes the production of Present Laughter (2010) with Victor Garber and Design for Living (2001) with Alan Cumming, Jennifer Ehle and Dominic West.

Only Roundabout subscribers have first access to tickets! Visit www.roundabouttheatre.org/joinnow for details. Single Tickets for Brief Encounter will be available to the general public in the Summer of 2010.

Noël Coward (Playwright). Noël Peirce Coward was born in Teddington, Middlesex, England to Arthur Coward (sometime piano salesman) and Violet (soon to become the archetypal ‘stage mother'.) He made his professional stage debut as Prince Mussel in The Goldfish at the age of 12, which led to many child actor appearances in the next few years. He played the character of Slightly in Peter Pan - which later caused critic Kenneth Tynan to remark - "Forty years ago he was Slightly in Peter Pan and you might say that he has been wholly in Peter Pan ever since." Several of his own early plays reached the London stage briefly but it was the controversial The Vortex (1924) that proved to be the breakthrough. With its overt references to drugs and adultery, it made his name as both actor and playwright in the West End and on Broadway. Noël seemed to epitomize the spirit of the frenzied 1920s and a string of successful plays ensued - Hay Fever (1925), Fallen Angels (1925) and Easy Virtue (1926), as well as several intimate revues for which he wrote words and music. The momentum continued into the 1930s. Private Lives (1930) saw him appearing with a childhood friend, Gertrude ("Gertie") Lawrence and that partnership continued professionally with Tonight at 8.30 (1936). Writer, actor, director, songwriter and writer of verse, essays and autobiographies, he was called by close friends ‘The Master', a title of which he was secretly proud. As World War II broke out he had two plays waiting to be produced - This Happy Breed and Present Laughter - but they would have to wait until 1943. Meanwhile, there was Blithe Spirit (1941), a subversive comedy that ran longer than the war. ‘Noël's War' was an active one... troop concerts at home and overseas... touring in plays... producing classic films such as; In Which We Serve and Brief Encounter... and acting as an unofficial spy for the Foreign Office! The post-war years saw his star in temporary eclipse. Austerity Britain - the London critics determined - was out of tune with the brittle Coward wit. His plays enjoyed only modest success but Noël responded by ‘re-inventing' himself as a cabaret and TV star, particularly in America, which had never undervalued his multiple talents. Indeed Noel had a love affair with America ever since his first visit to New York in 1921. Over the years most of his plays had successful Broadway productions and indeed some of them premiered there including Design For Living, starring the Lunts in 1933, Sail Away (1961) The Girl Who Came To Supper (1963) and High Spirits (1964). He left the UK in the mid-1950's and settled in Jamaica and Switzerland. In the early 1960s critical opinion in Britain turned yet again. He was now demonstrably "our greatest living playwright". ‘Dad's Renaissance' - as Noël gleefully dubbed it - was under way and has never faltered since. He and his work are today more popular - and on a worldwide scale - than ever before. In 1970 came the long overdue knighthood. In 1973 he died peacefully and was buried in his beloved Jamaica.

Emma Rice (Adaptor, Director) is the artistic director of Kneehigh Theatre. She has directed for Kneehigh Pandora's Box (coproduced with Northern Stage), Wild Bride (The Shamans, Budapest), The Red Shoes (2002 Theatrical Management Association [TMA] Theatre Award for Best Director), The Wooden Frock (2004 TMA Theatre Award nomination for Best Touring Production), The Bacchae (2005 TMA Theatre Award for Best Touring Production), Tristan & Yseult, Nights at the Circus (Lyric Hammersmith production in association with Kneehigh Theatre), Cymbeline (in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company for The Complete Works festival), A Matter of Life and Death (Royal National Theatre production in association with Kneehigh Theatre), Rapunzel (in association with Battersea Arts Centre), Brief Encounter (tour and West End; a David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers Production in association with Kneehigh Theatre), and Don John (in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Bristol Old Vic). Rice was nominated for the 2009 Olivier Award for Best Director for Brief Encounter.

 

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