Venture partners with Chicago Shakespeare Theater
LONDON — Jake Gyllenhaal and Calista Flockhart are among the performers who could be West End-bound as part of a new company headed by Laurence Boswell, who has contracted with Blighty’s Ambassador Theater Group to generate work for the chain.
Gyllenhaal, 22, looks likely to tread the London boards next summer in “Romeo and Juliet,” opposite Lynn Collins, who played Juliet in Los Angeles, for Peter Hall. In keeping with his two American leads, Boswell plans to set Shakespeare’s tragedy in Manhattan. “It will be an American version of the play — cool and kind of groovy and rock ‘n’ roll.”
Boswell previously directed Gyllenhaal on the West End in Kenneth Lonergan’s “This Is Our Youth,” for which the stage neophyte won rave reviews and an Evening Standard Award.
The venture is being prepped in partnership with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which made a splash over the summer with the Donmar Warehouse revival of “Pacific Overtures” — a London staging by director Gary Griffin that was first seen, albeit in a somewhat different form, in Chicago.
“Romeo and Juliet,” says Boswell, will play London first. But a Chicago stand is likely to feature in one way or another. As for New York? Says Boswell: “We all hope that.”
Flockhart has discussed various plays with Boswell, including her apparently long-nursed interest in playing Katharine Hepburn’s role in “The Philadelphia Story.” (A London revival of the same play, to star Flockhart, was floated several seasons ago for U.K. impresario Duncan C. Weldon but never panned out.) More appealing to Boswell, he said, are two other well-known titles: “A Doll’s House” and “All About Eve,” in an adaptation — as yet unwritten — of the 1950 film (itself based on Mary Orr’s story “The Wisdom of Eve”).
Boswell also has been newly named an artistic associate at the Royal Shakespeare Co., for whom he is adapting “Beauty and the Beast” as the Christmas show at Stratford. Last June, he was Tony-nommed for his Broadway helming debut with “A Day In the Death of Joe Egg,” starring Eddie Izzard and Victoria Hamilton.