In his professional stage debut, the appropriately named RADA student Chris New will take on the role of Max’s gay lover Horst.
Daniel Kramer’s (Hair) production will feature an original song by Pet-Shop Boys star Chris Lowe with lyrics by Martin Sherman. Previews begin at the Trafalgar Studios Sept. 22, with an official opening night on Oct. 5.
Sherman’s bitter account of the barbarous extremes of homophobia was first seen in 1979 at London’s Royal Court with Ian McKellen as Max, a role to which he returned with the 1990 National Theatre revival. Richard Gere played the role in the 1980 Broadway version.
The play follows the hounding and imprisonment in a Dachau concentration camp of Max, who bribes his way to a Jewish star on his striped camp clothing because it is a surer way to survive than the pink triangle which denotes that he is gay.
Cumming, who won a 1998 Tony for his portrayal of the Emcee in Sam Mendes’s Donmar revival of Cabaret, was recently seen on Broadway as Macheath in the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of The Threepenny Opera. Other stage credits include Elle and Design for Living. In 1991 he won an Olivier for his performance in Accidental Death of an Anarchist. Joining Cumming and New in the cast are Richard Bremmer (Greta), Hugh Ross (Freddie), Kevin Trainor (Rudy), Benjamin Wilkin (Wolf).
Martin Sherman is the award-winning author of many plays, screenplays and adaptations, including Rose, which premiered at the National Theatre in 1999 starring Olympia Dukakis and transferred to Broadway the following year.
Other credits include A Madhouse in Goa and When She Danced both starring Vanessa Redgrave, adaptations of E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India for Shared Experience and Pirandello’s Absolutely!(perhaps), directed by Franco Zeffirelli at the Wyndham’s Theatre. Sherman wrote the book for the Broadway musical The Boy From Oz.
For more on Bent, which is produced in London by Sonia Friedman and is booking until Jan. 13, 2007, call (0)870 060 6632.