David Schwimmer will make his London stage debut in May in the world preem of “Some Girls,” the new five-character play from near-ubiquitous American scribe Neil LaBute. Rehearsals begin April 11 for director David Grindley‘s production, which starts previews May 12 at the Gielgud Theater, opening May 24.
Plan is for a 13-week run of the show, which casts the “Friends” star as a character known simply as the Man. During the evening, he comes into contact with four ex-girlfriends, all of them American, to be played by four British femmes. Saffron Burrows (“The Earthly Paradise”) is among those likely to come onboard.
Play will open a week before the U.K. preem of “This Is How It Goes,” the three-character drama that arrives next month Off Broadway in a different production. Throw in LaBute’s Off Broadway “Fat Pig” and you have an impromptu festival of the scribe on both sides of the Pond.
Is this all too much of one author? “I don’t think it’s possible to get too much of Neil,” says Clare Lawrence, whose Out of the Blue is lead producer on the $800,000 “Some Girls.” “Also, this is a very different play,” she says, compared to “This Is How It Goes.” “They’re almost flip sides of Neil’s personality.”
Lawrence and producing partner Anna Waterhouse‘s love affair with American celebs continues in the fall, when Ashley Judd is being paged to headline a West End revival of Lanford Wilson‘s “Burn This.”
The 29th Olivier Awards, held Feb. 20 at the London Hilton (see Variety.com/oliviers for a list of winners), have come and gone. But here’s some of the chatter making the rounds following a night that saw “The Producers” and “The History Boys” emerge as the big winners and “Mary Poppins” (two wins out of nine nods) and “Festen” (zero wins out of five nods) the notable losers.
- It’s lovely that Nathan Lane won, but what about his indefatigable co-star from “The Producers,” Lee Evans? Nationalism isn’t the only thing that has left some Brits feeling Evans was robbed, especially since Lane ended up barely performing Bialystock in London for two months whereas his English sidekick, Evans, continues an unblemished performance record as Leo Bloom.
- To televise or not to televise: While some like the fact that the Oliviers were shown nowhere on TV this year, others think an already marginal show risks terminal oblivion if this keeps up. Expect some sort of broadcast deal to be struck for 2006: Channel 4 looks a likely bet.
- So what if “Poppins” won only two trophies? No one was complaining about the next day’s wrap for the tuner, said to be in the $300,000 ballpark at the Prince Edward Theater. The larger issue has to do with a level of demand for tickets that doesn’t seem to exist for today’s big new musicals in the way it did back in the era of “Les Miserables” and “Miss Saigon.”
But that’s something, praise be, for which the Oliviers cannot be blamed.
Same dressing room, different worlds: That’s one reaction to the side-by-side pictures of Judi Dench and Michael Gambon on view in “The Dressing Room,” a fascinating exhibit from U.K. photographer Simon Annand on view at the Theater Museum in Covent Garden through May 1. Dench is seen during her run at the Haymarket in “The Royal Family,” her dressing table alive with notes and cards. Gambon, in turn, seems to inhabit a remarkably bare, ascetic environment — suitably Pinteresque — as seen backstage during his 1985 Haymarket stand in “Old Times.”
Some of the pix make you smile (there’s a priceless one of Glenda Jackson), others bring back fond memories: a sunken-cheeked Daniel Day-Lewis as the Russian poet Mayakovsky in “Futurists” at the National in 1986. But virtually every one tells a complete story: much like a good play, in fact.