Helen Mirren Holds Court on Broadway in The Audience, Beginning Tonight

News   Helen Mirren Holds Court on Broadway in The Audience, Beginning Tonight
 
Peter Morgan's The Audience, which features Oscar winner Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in imagined meetings with each of her Prime Ministers, begins performances on Broadway Feb. 14.

Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren Photo by Johan Persson

The Audience's move to Broadway follows a record-breaking run at London's Gielgud Theatre in 2013 for which Mirren won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Play. Morgan is also the screenwriter of the Academy Award-nominated 2006 film "The Queen," which earned Mirren an Oscar for her performance.

Two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, An Inspector Calls) directs the production, which officially opens March 8. The limited engagement will run through June 28 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.

Joining Mirren are Dakin Matthews (Rocky, The Best Man) as Winston Churchill, Rod McLachlan (Holiday, The Government Inspector) as Gordon Brown, Dylan Baker (Mauritius, November) as John Major and Tony Award winner Judith Ivey (Steaming, Hurlyburly) as Margaret Thatcher. 

Geoffrey Beevers (The Comedy of Errors, "Victor/Victoria") plays the Queen's equerry, the officer in the royal household who attends or assists the royal family. Michael Elwyn ("EastEnders," Rope) plays Anthony Eden (PM 1955-57), who is widely regarded as one of the least successful British Prime Ministers of the 20th century as a result of his foreign policy during the Suez crisis. Olivier Award winer Richard McCabe ("The Constant Gardener"; Yes, Prime Minister) plays Harold Wilson (PM 1964-70 and 1974-76), who served as Prime Minister during the "Swinging Sixties" and is remembered for the liberalization of laws on censorship, divorce, homosexuality, immigration, abortion and the abolition of capital punishment. Rufus Wright (The 39 Steps, Frost/Nixon) is cast as David Cameron, the current Prime Minister, who is the youngest person to hold the office in 200 years.

The cast also includes Anthony Cochrane (War Horse, Cymbeline) as Cecil Beaton/Detective/Bishop, Graydon Long (Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson, "The Carrie Diaries") as Footman/Beefeater, Jason Loughlin (Machinal, War Horse) as Footman/Beefeater, Henny Russell (The Winslow Boy, The Other Place) as Queen's Secretary, Tracy Sallows (Romeo and Juliet, You Never Can Tell) as Bobo McDonald and Elizabeth Teeter (Mary Poppins, Ever After) and Sadie Sink as Young Elizabeth. Michael Rudko (Mary Stuart, Serious Money) and Tony Ward (Twelfth Night, Richard III) comprise the Ensemble. The Audience was previously broadcast in cinemas as part of NT Live.

"For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said, not even to their spouses," press notes state. "The Audience imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister uses these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional — sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive. In turn, the Queen can't help but reveal her own self as she advises, consoles and, on occasion, teases. These private audiences chart the arc of the second Elizabethan Age, from the beginning of Elizabeth II's reign to today. Politicians come and go through the revolving door of electoral politics, while she remains constant, waiting to welcome her next Prime Minister." 

Mirren won the Academy Award for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in "The Queen," as well as the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and BAFTA Award for Best Actress. She received Academy Award nominations for "The Last Station," "Gosford Park" and "The Madness of King George." Mirren is a two-time Tony Award nominee for A Month in the Country and Dance of Death. She has also appeared onstage in the West End, the Fringe, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre in Orpheus Descending, Mourning Becomes Electra and Phèdre, among others. In 2014 she was honored with the BAFTA Fellowship for her outstanding career in film. 

The production is designed by six-time Tony Award winner Bob Crowley with lighting by two-time Tony Award winner Rick Fisher, sound by Tony Award winner Paul Arditti and music by Paul Englishby.

The Audience is produced by Matthew Byam Shaw for Playful Productions, Robert Fox and Andy Harries.

The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre is located at 236 West 45th Street. Visit theaudiencebroadway.com for more information.

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