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Ralph Fiennes returns to the stage, Love Never Dies, Olivier Awards

Princeton2
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joined:6/1/08
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Ralph Fiennes solves his doctor's dilemma
Ralph Fiennes will return to the London stage in a new version of Uncle Vanya, played in the round. Fiennes told me two years ago he was thinking about starring as the doctor in Dear Uncle, Alan Ayckbourn's version of Chekhov's play, set in the Lake District in 1935.

But he has now agreed to play the Dr Astrov character - although in the new adaptation he's called Dr Charles Ash. Yelena is now Helena, and the title character will be known as Uncle Marcus.
Ken Stott (if he's able) will most likely play Uncle Marcus, and Kristin Scott Thomas will play Helena if she's available.
Likewise, Carey Mulligan, our recent Bafta best actress for An Education, has always said she would play Sonia if the dates can be made to work.
An idea being explored is for Matthew Warchus to direct the production in the round. He, and producers David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers, intend to find out if the Roundhouse in Camden Town is available, or if the stage from Ayckbourn's Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough (where productions are played in the round) can be replicated somewhere in London.
Fiennes has just begun pre-production and scouting locations for his film of Coriolanus, which will shoot in Belgrade with Gerard Butler, Vanessa Redgrave, Jessica Chastain, Brian Cox, Eddie Marsan and others.

He won't complete his post-production work on Coriolanus until next January.
Ayckbourn's Dear Uncle: Scenes From A Country Life In Four Acts is set in the blistering hot summer, so it would best be played during a real summer season.
The dates being discussed at the moment are June 2011.
Warchus wouldn't be available until then anyway, as he's pencilled in to start directing the musical Ghost (based on the movie) at the begining of next year.
Plus the production's dates have to fit in with Ayckbourn's schedule, and he would want to be on hand in London during rehearsals, previews and for the opening night.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1253858/Madonna-signs-Abbie-Cornish-new-film-Edward-VIIIs-abdication.html#ixzz0gcWUXqYQ

New Phantom's shaping up nicely
Andrew Lloyd Webber's score for Love Never Dies soars and I can't get it out of my head - but as 'the good lord' himself observed after the first preview on Monday, 'there's still work to be done'.
He added: 'We're halfway there.'

When I returned to the show on Wednesday some changes had been put in, but director Jack O'Brien, lyricist Glenn Slater, designer Bob Crowley, choreographer Jerry Mitchell and others are concentrating on getting the prologue and the ending right.

Working hard: Sierra Boggess (L) who plays Christie and Ramin Karimloo who is the Phantom in Love Never Dies

They want to trim the prologue to get to a number called The Coney Island Waltz faster.

The ending, which I'm not giving away here, is clumsy and the best minds in theatreland are trying to fathom how to re-stage it.
There are also other moments in Act 1 that are being re-examined, particularly when audiences first see the Phantom. It's an underwhelming moment. We've got to be knocked out by it!
The first song Ramin Karimloo's Phantom sings is Till I Hear You Sing and it's a plaintive cry to see Christine Daae again.

He 'aches down to the core' because he hasn't heard her sing for ten years.
And while Karimloo has a fabulous baritone that stops the show, he doesn't have the showbusiness artistry that Michael Crawford displayed as the original stage Phantom.

That's being worked on.

Sierra Boggess is a true star with Broadway smarts and when she comes on in the second act to sing the title song, she knocks it out of the park, to use the parlance of one of my theatrical friends. It's a terrific melody, beautifully sung.
I've mentioned this in passing before, but the composer explains in the programme how he wrote Love Never Dies (Slater penned the lyrics years later) a long time ago and used it for a song recorded by Kiri Te Kanawa under the title The Heart Is Slow To Learn.

He later used the chorus of the melody for a number in The Beautiful Game, but it was cut.
It fits in just fine as Love Never Dies. Lloyd Webber has created melodies that will last. The creative team have a lot of work to do in different areas but they are confident they will have it all done by official opening night of March 9.
'It's not as if we have songs and storylines to rewrite. It's a question of staging and tweaking,' was how it was put to me.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1253858/Madonna-signs-Abbie-Cornish-new-film-Edward-VIIIs-abdication.html#ixzz0gcWaxese




The Laurence Olivier Awards is finally raising its profile, after several years.

It's not being splashed all over the BBC, like the Orange Baftas, but will be streamed live on the Olivier website (www.olivierawards.co.uk). The show runs on March 21 from 6.30pm.

I've always been surprised at how downtrodden the Oliviers are. No one at the Society of West End Theatres has known how to create any excitement over them, and I've shown only scant interest in them myself, maybe because the officials at SWET are, on the whole, a miserable bunch.

Anyway, at least they're trying harder this year.

Anthony Head has agreed to host the ceremony. I'll be interested to see which of the big new plays - Jerusalem or Enron - wins the best new play award.

I might also pop along and ask some of the Olivier judges why they left Alfred Molina, who was in Red at the Donmar, off their list. And what about Phedre? And Alan Bennett's The Habit Of Art? Both at the National and both ignored.

You can vote for one of six shows - Billy Elliot, The Phantom Of The Opera, War Horse, We Will Rock You and Wicked - in the Audience Most Popular Show Award.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1253858/Madonna-signs-Abbie-Cornish-new-film-Edward-VIIIs-abdication.html#ixzz0gcWffWpd
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Phantom of London
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Great news that the Olivier's are going to be broadcast online (I better upgrade my dial up), however these type of broadcasts have been problematic in the past.

I did email the BBC to ask why they don't broadcast the Olivier's anymore, suggest they should do in the future and it would be great if shown on BBC4. However I did not get a reply, probably I got filed under eccentric.

The real reason why these awards are not broadcast anymore is that the staff who now work on live broadcasts are self employed, not like the old days where everyone worked directly for auntie, so now there is a real cost that can be attributed to the production and the size of the audience does not justify the coverage.


Princeton2
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Other reason being they are DULL!

If they changed it to include lots of performances etc (or done like the WOS Awards Concert) it could work. However, as they are, better not to transmit it.
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TIGGOSAURUS
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I'm surprised you feel that way Princeton. If there's room enough in the TV schedules for programmes about how container ships are built (for example), then surely a channel like BBC4 can devote 2-3 hours airtime once a year to an art form which is a mainstay of the cultural landscape? Even if much of the award ceremony itself is only of interest to 'theatre anoraks' I still think its outrageous how little coverage it gets in the mainstream media.
Seen some shows in my time....
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Weez
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I love the idea of this Uncle Vanya cast a whole frickin' bunch, but I'm really not sure why it needs Alan Ayckbourn sticking his oar in and why the characters need renaming?! I'll undoubtedly see it with enthusiasm (probably because it's the only Chekhov play I can easily distinguish from the others XD), but my eyebrows are pre-emptively raised.

Looking forward to the web broadcast of the Olivier awards. I'm used to wrestling with my computer in order to watch the Tony awards, so it'll be pretty much standard operating procedure for me, with the added bonus that I won't have to stay up all night to do so. XD (I still think some of the nominations are a frickin' joke though, and do agree that televising them really is the most sensible idea, given how many channels there are these days. *ahem*)
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Phantom of London
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There are numerous channels, but not really much live stuff apart from Sports, even original content is very low, all these channels rely on repeats of British and American Comedy, Entertainment and Factual. We are now living in a multi-channel age with content very high, but quality poorer.

I do agree the BBC should televise the Olivier's that not disregarding what Princeton has said, I agree with
that they can be perceived as being dull, however I cannot say this for sure as I have never seen the awards. They should look to get the awards like the Tony's with plenty of performances to advertise the quality of British Theatre.
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Scripps2
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"I did email the BBC to ask why they don't broadcast the Olivier's anymore... However I did not get a reply."

"If there's room enough in the TV schedules for programmes about how container ships are built, then surely a channel like BBC4 can devote 2-3 hours airtime once a year to an art form which is a mainstay of the cultural landscape?"

Both examples of the BBC showing contempt for the theatre, theatre professionals and theatregoers.

Can't wait to watch that program on container ships...