Theatre Royal Haymarket

Jonathan Kent Season 2007-2008

A Season 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 Jonathan Kent.

In a new initiative pioneered by the theatre’s producers, Arnold M. Crook and Nigel Everett, Kent’s season will comprise William Wycherley’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 Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer.

Joining Kent will be his long term and regular collaborators designer Paul Brown and lighting designer Mark Henderson.

David Haig, Patricia Hodge and Toby Stephens head up the company for The Country Wife, Eileen Atkins will lead The Sea company,

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.

Haig, Hodge and Stephens lead cast in Wycherley’s restoration comedy The Country Wife

David Haig, Patricia Hodge and Toby Stephens will lead the cast in William Wycherley’s restoration comedy The Country Wife, the opening production in the Jonathan Kent season at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. The Country Wife will run from 27 September 2007 – 12 January 2008, with press night on 9 October. Designs are by Paul Brown, with lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Paul Groothuis.

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…

Written and first performed in 1675 by the King’s Company, William Wycherley’s The Country Wife was deemed too controversial for its time and as a consequence was considered too outrageous to be performed. It was kept off the stage and out of print until 1766 when David Garrick’s ‘cleaned-up’ adaptation, The Country Girl, was produced.

Fiona Glascott’s theatre work includes Whipping it Up and Hitchcock Blonde both directed by Terry Johnson, A Life for Dublin’s Abbey Theatre and The Spirit of Annie Ross for Dublin’s Gate Theatre. Her film work includes The Void, Goldfish Memory, Veronica Guerin and This is My Father and on television her work includes Little Devil, Murder in Suburbia, Omagh and Ballykissangel.

Patricia Hodge has most recently been seen in the West End hit productions of Boeing-Boeing and Noises Off. Her extensive theatre credits include The Clean House at the Crucible, Sheffield, His Dark Materials, Money and Summerfolk all for the National Theatre, Heartbreak House for the Almeida, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie for the Strand Theatre, Noel and Gertie at the Comedy Theatre and Separate Tables at the Albery Theatre. On television, for the BBC, she has recently played Betty Maxwell in Maxwell and Margaret Thatcher in The Falklands Play. Her other television credits include Hustle, The Legacy of Reginald Perrin, Rich Tea and Sympathy, The Cloning of Joanna May and Rumpole of the Bailey as well as The Lives and Loves of a She Devil.

David Haig’s most recent theatre credits include Headingly in Donkey’s Years, George Banks in Mary Poppins and Osborne in Journey’s End. His other theatre work includes Hitchcock Blonde for the Royal Court, Life x 3 for the Savoy Theatre, House and Garden for the National Theatre, Art in the West End and on Broadway and Dead Funny for Hampstead Theatre which later transferred to the Savoy Theatre. His film credits include Four Weddings and a Funeral and Lady Jane, and on television his credits include A for Andromeda, Hustle, Crime and Punishment, Talking Heads and Keeping Mum. He has written two plays, both for Hampstead Theatre, The Good Samaritan and My Boy Jack – the story of the search by Rudyard Kipling and his wife for their son Jack which Haig has subsequently adapted for television. To be screened in November, My Boy Jack stars Haig as Rudyard Kipling and Daniel Radcliffe as Jack.

Toby Stephens is currently playing Jerry in Roger Michell’s production of Pinter’s Betrayal at the Donmar Warehouse. His other theatre credits include the title roles in Hamlet and Coriolanus for the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as Japes, The Royal Family and A Streetcar Named Desire all for the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Ring Around the Moon for the Lincoln Center, New York and Phèdre/Britannicus for the Almeida at the Albery, directed by Jonathan Kent. His television credits include Jane Eyre, Wild West, The Best Man, Margaret, Five Little Pigs, Cambridge Spies, Perfect Strangers, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, A View from the Bridge and Camomile Lawn; and for film, Dark Corners, Severance, The Rising, Die Another Day, Possession, The Great Gatsby, Eugene Onegin and Orlando.

Eileen Atkins to star in Edward Bond’s black and rioyous comedy The Sea

Eileen Atkins will lead the cast in Edward Bond’s black and riotous comedy, The Sea, the second production in Kent’s Haymarket season. The Sea will run from 17 January – 19 April with press night on 23 January. Designs are by Paul Brown, with lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Paul Groothuis.

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.

Multi award-winning actor Eileen Atkins will play Mrs Rafi. As well as extensive work for the National Theatre (including most recently, Honour) and the Royal Shakespeare Company (including The Unexpected Man, which later transferred to Broadway), she has most recently been seen at the Almeida Theatre in Michael Attenborough’s critically acclaimed production of Frank McGuinness’s There Came a Gypsy Riding. Her other theatre work includes The Birthday Party at the Duchess Theatre, A Delicate Balance at the Haymarket and Vita and Virginia, her own play, which premiered at the Chichester Festival Theatre and then transferred to the West End. In 2006 she played Sister Aloysius on Broadway in John Patrick Shanley’s award-winning Doubt. Her many film credits include Wolf, Vanity Fair, Ask The Dust, Cold Mountain, The Hours, Jack and Sarah and Gosford Park. On television her credits include Cold Comfort Farm, The Maitlands and Bertie and Elizabeth.

Edward Bond’s The Sea received its world premiere at the Royal Court Theatre in 1973 directed by William Gaskill, starring Corale Brown and Ian Holm. His other plays include the award-winning Saved, Early Morning, Bingo, The Fool and The Pope’s Wedding. Bond’s screenplays include Tony Richardson’s Laughter in the Dark and Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout. He collaborated on the English dialogue for Michaelangelo’s Blow-Up and co-authored Days of Fury, directed by Antonio Calenda. The last major revival of a Bond play was Jonathan Kent’s production of Lear, presented at Sheffield Theatres in 2005 starring Ian McDiarmid.

New musical by Michel Legrand / Alain Boublil / Claude-Michel Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer – a world premiere Marguerite

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.

Ruthie Henshall, the award-winning West End and Broadway actress, returns to the London stage to play the title role. Marguerite will run for a limited season at the Haymarket from 7 May – 1 November, with press night on 20 May. Designs are by Paul Brown, with lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Paul Groothuis.

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.

Olivier award-winning Ruthie Henshall who has recently returned to the UK from Broadway, will play the title role of Marguerite. After being plucked from the chorus and offered one of the female leads in Boublil and Schönberg’s Miss Saigon, Henshall’s extensive musical theatre credits include Stairway to Paradise, The Other Woman, Marion Halcome in The Woman in White, Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart in Chicago, Fosse, the title role in Peggy Sue Got Married, Putting It Together, Divorce Me Darling, Nancy in Oliver, She Loves Me, Crazy for You and Fantine in Les Misérables. As a recording artist, she has featured on numerous cast recordings and compilation CD’s. Her solo CD’s include Pilgrim, The Ruthie Henshall Album and Love is Here to Stay.

Oscar winning musical composer, arranger, conductor and pianist Michel Legrand has composed over 200 film and television scores as well as several musicals and has made well over a hundred albums. He has won three Oscars and five Grammys, and has been nominated for an Emmy. He was 22 when his first album, I Love Paris, became one of the best-selling instrumental albums ever released. Legrand has recorded over 100 albums with international musical stars (spanning the genres of jazz, variety and classical) working with musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Jack Jones, Regine Velasquez, Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como, Lena Horne, Dame Kiri te Kanawa, James Ingram, Johnny Mathis and Barbra Streisand.

Alain Boublil is the author of librettos and lyrics for La Révolution Française (1973), Les Misérables (1980), Miss Saigon (1989), Martin Guerre (1996) and The Pirate Queen (2006) – all in collaboration with Claude-Michel Schönberg. Boublil is the recipient of two Tony awards (Best Score and Best Book), two Grammy’s, two Victoire de la Musique Awards and a Molière Award for Les Misérables. He has also received an Evening Standard Drama Award for Miss Saigon and a Laurence Olivier Award for Martin Guerre. He is author/librettist of Abbacadabra, with songs by Abba (1984), author of the play The Diary of Adam and Eve (based upon short stories by Mark Twain), and the prize-winning French novel, Les dessous de soi. Boublil wrote, with Michel Legrand, the stage adaptation of Jacques Demy’s film Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (2003).

Claude-Michel Schönberg was born in 1944 of Hungarian parents and began his career as a singer, writer and producer of popular songs. He wrote the musical scores for La Révolution Française, Les Misérables, Miss Saigon and Martin Guerre. He has also supervised overseas productions of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon and co-produced several international cast albums of his shows. In 2001 Schönberg composed his first ballet score, Wuthering Heights, which was created by the Northern Ballet Theatre in September 2002. The Pirate Queen, his recent collaboration with Alain Boublil, was his sixth complete score.

Lyricist Herbert Kretzmer has previously collaborated with Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg on the multi award-winning Les Misérables. His theatre work includes book and lyrics for Our Man Crichton at the Shaftesbury Theatre and lyrics for The Four Musketeers at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. His award-winning lyrics include Goodness Gracious Me, recorded by Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren for which he won the Ivor Novello Award and Yesterday When I was Young and She, both recorded by Charles Aznavour. As a lyricist he regularly contributed songs to That Was the Week That Was, ABC of Britain and BBC-3. Kretzmer was appointed Chevalier De L’Ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres in 1988.

Jonathan Kent – Director, Theatre Royal Haymarket Season

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. Kent directed Richard II and Coriolanus in repertoire for the Almeida at Gainsborough Studios. The two productions toured to New York and Tokyo. In 1998 he opened a season for the Almeida at the Albery Theatre in the West End with two Racine tragedies in repertoire – Phèdre (in a new version by Ted Hughes) and Britannicus, both of which toured to New York. He closed the season with his revival of David Hare’s Plenty. The Almeida at King’s Cross season opened in 2001 with Kent’s production of Lulu by Frank Wedekind, (also Kennedy Centre, Washington DC). Other King’s Cross productions included David Hare’s new version of Chekhov’s Platonov, Faith Healer by Brian Friel and King Lear.

Other theatre credits include Corneille’s Le Cid, David Hare’s new version of Brecht’s Mother Courage and her Children and Martin Crimp’s new version of Marivaux The False Servant, all for the National Theatre. Kent directed Man of La Mancha on Broadway in 2002, Hamlet in Japan and London in 2003, Hecuba at the Donmar Warehouse in 2004, Edward Bond’s Lear at the Sheffield Crucible in 2005 and Hugh Whitemore’s new version of Pirandello’s As You Desire Me in the West End 2005/6 and Brian Friel’s Faith Healer on Broadway in 2006.

His opera work includes Katya Kabanova, Lucio Silla and Tom Ades’s The Tempest all for Santa Fe Opera, A Child of our Time for English National Opera, Tosca for the Royal Opera House and Elektra for the Mariinsky, St Petersburg.

Future projects include The Turn of the Screw for Glyndebourne opening later next month, The Marriage of Figaro (2008) and the world premiere of Paul Moravec and Terry Teachout’s new opera The Letter (2009) both for Sante Fe Opera, Oedipus for the National Theatre and The Fairy Queen for Glyndebourne, also Paris and New York.

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