fri 24/05/2019

Theatre Interviews

Sinatras on Sinatra: 'He was a lonely soul'

Jasper Rees

Frank Sinatra is back in London in the centenary of his birth. His disembodied voice is returning in a show called Sinatra: The Man & His Music. At the London Palladium, where he made his British debut 65 years ago, there’s to be a 24-piece orchestra, 20 dancers and video effects galore in a multi-media concert featuring many of his best-loved songs. At the heart of it will be footage supplied by the Sinatra Estate.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Director Michael Longhurst

Jasper Rees

Is there more than one Michael Longhurst? As sometimes happens in theatre, a rising young director seems to be everywhere at once. His calling card is the modestly universal Constellations. Directed with clarity and simplicity, Nick Payne’s romantic two-hander with multiple narratives has travelled from the Royal Court via the West End to New York, before touring the UK and heading back to London this week.

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10 Questions for Actress Pippa Bennett-Warner

Marianka Swain

At just 26, Pippa Bennett-Warner has already achieved many actors’ goals, from treading the boards at the National and having a part written specially for her to sharing scenes with luminaries like Derek Jacobi and Eddie Redmayne. She debuted aged 11 as one of the young Nalas in The Lion King, but since graduating from RADA, she has focussed on “straight acting”.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Choreographer Stephen Mear

Marianka Swain

From Singin’ in the Rain and Anything Goes to Hello, Dolly! and Mary Poppins, Olivier Award winner Stephen Mear has done more than any other British choreographer to usher classic musicals into the modern era. But adept as he is at razzle-dazzling ’em, there’s more to Mear, as recent excursions like City of Angels at Donmar Warehouse and Die Fledermaus for the Metropolitan Opera prove.

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10 Questions for Playwright Richard Nelson

Thomas H Green

Richard Nelson (b. 1950) is a leading figure in American theatre but also a consistent documentarian of his country’s liberal consciousness. His series of plays about the Apple Family, written between 2010 and 2013, have been critically acclaimed for their portrayal of the upstate New York clan’s gatherings on significant historical days. They are performed for the first time in the UK at the Brighton Festival in May.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Playwright Ayub Khan Din

Jasper Rees

It’s been quite a journey for Ayub Khan Din. Born in 1961, the acclaimed playwright grew up in a crowded Salford household, the youngest child of a Pakistani father and a white English mother. The cultural clashes he witnessed – as his Anglicised older siblings fought against the straitjacket of Muslim tradition – were the raw material for East Is East.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Playwright Nina Raine

Jasper Rees

When writers research, it’s not all about digging for facts. Feelings also count. When Nina Raine spent three months visiting hospitals for a play about the medical profession, she found a strange feeling spontaneously erupting inside herself. “The funny thing is I was getting up early for me, 6.30, to get on a bus to be at the place by a quarter to eight and I just started within a week to feel like a put-upon doctor saving people’s lives. Don’t these people realise I’m going to hospital?...

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10 Questions for Playwright Simon Stephens

Marianka Swain

Fresh from global domination with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, currently garnering rapturous reviews on Broadway, inexhaustible playwright and adaptor Simon Stephens has swapped Mark Haddon for Anton Chekhov and a new version of The Cherry Orchard, now previewing at the Young Vic.

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10 Questions for Playwright Nicholas Wright

Jasper Rees

This year the nation has been spirited back to 1914. Every aspect of the First World War has been explored - its causes debated, the horrific conditions on the front revisited. And yet there has been less talk of the psychological impact of trench warfare, which is why Nicholas Wright’s new stage adaptation of Regeneration will greatly add to the sum of the centenary coverage.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actress Sofie Gråbøl

Jasper Rees

Sofie Gråbøl as Danish royalty: it hardly stretches credulity. The face of Nordic noir has been a star in her home country ever since appearing in Bille August's Pelle the Conqueror in 1987, but is solely familiar on these shores as Sarah Lund, the jumpered Copenhagen detective from three unmissable series of The Killing.

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