The Broadway production of “The Glass Menagerie,” with Cherry Jones reprising her lead role, will be the centerpiece of the 2016 Edinburgh International Festival. The American Repertory Theater staging of the Tennessee Williams classic will run for all three weeks of the August program.
Director John Tiffany (“Once”), the former associate director of the National Theater of Scotland and currently in rehearsal for the West End opening of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” said he was delighted to be able to return to a production hailed as “epic and intimate” by Variety on its 2013 premiere. “Edinburgh and the Festival feels like where I grew up, and I never imagined that this production would be part of that,” he said. (On Broadway, “Glass Menagerie” also starred Zachary Quinto; no further casting for the Edinburgh incarnation has yet been set.)
Also arriving from New York and dominating the schedule is Alan Cumming, who’ll enliven proceedings with a late-night run of his “Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs.” The Scottish-born star of “The Good Wife” will be in residency with the cabaret show he debuted last year at New York’s Cafe Carlyle and more recently took to Carnegie Hall. He’ll be in the company of Emmy-winning musical director Lance Horne.
Staying on the cabaret theme is the former Dame Edna, Barry Humphries, who, having played his “Glorious Goodbye” farewell tour of the U.S. as Dame Edna, will be sharing his love of “Weimar Cabaret” in conjunction with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and transgressive singer Meow Meow. In a separate production, Broadway songs by the likes of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Kurt Weill and Jerome Kern will be in the repertoire of U.K. baritone Simon Keenlyside.
Previously announced is the transatlantic partnership between Brooklyn troupe The TEAM and the National Theater of Scotland on the premiere of “Anything that Gives Off Light.” Directed by Rachel Chavkin, the buzzy American director behind the Broadway-bound “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,” it explores the relationship between Scotland and the U.S., past and present, and features a Scots-American cast and music.
Elsewhere in the theater lineup, artistic director Fergus Linehan is doubling down on Shakespeare. To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death, he has programed Thomas Ostermeier’s production of “Richard III” by the Schaubühne Berlin; Declan Donnellan’s staging of “Measure for Measure” by Cheek by Jowl and Moscow’s Pushkin Theater; and Dan Jemmett’s “Shake,” a 1970s remake of “Twelfth Night” by the Eat a Crocodile company.
Other theater highlights include a revival of two experimental shows by Scotland’s Vanishing Point: “Interiors,” a domestic drama performed silently through a living-room window, and “The Destroyed Room,” a seemingly improvised debate that escalates into an apocalyptic nightmare.
There’ll also be a visit from Swiss new-circus master James Thierree, the grandson of Charlie Chaplin and great-grandson of Eugene O’Neill, who’ll bring “The Toad Knew,” a piece of visual surrealism.
The dance program includes “Monumental,” a piece of high-endurance contemporary dance first seen in 2005 and now revived by a regrouped Holy Body Tattoo from Vancouver, with live music by Montreal’s eight-piece rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
Alongside the extensive classical concert program will be the Salzburg Festival production of Bellini’s “Norma” with Cecilia Bartoli in the title role, a new production of Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte” from the Aix-en-Provence Festival, and a Mariinksy Opera concert performance of Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” conducted by Valery Gergiev.
The Edinburgh International Festival runs Aug. 5-29. The full lineup for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the equally famous summer event that provides an independent alternative to the International Festival, will be announced June 8.