London's Young Vic to Launch Season with MacDermot's The Human Comedy

News   London's Young Vic to Launch Season with MacDermot's The Human Comedy London's Young Vic Theatre, founded in September 1970, will launch its 40th anniversary season in September with a new production of Galt MacDermot's short-lived 1984 Broadway musical The Human Comedy, being presented as a community musical with a chorus of 100.

The season will also include the return of Iceland's Vesturport — who previously staged a version of Romeo and Juliet at the theatre in 2003 that subsequently transferred to the West End's Playhouse Theatre — with a new version of Faust, featuring music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis; a new production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, with a new score by Oscar and Golden Globe award-winning composer Dario Marianelli; the return of Rufus Norris' stage production of DBC Pierre's novel Vernon God Little; the annual collaboration with English National Opera with Monteverdi's epic The Return of Ulysses; and French director Patrice Chéreau directing his first-ever UK stage production, I Am the Wind. These productions all take place in the main house.

Meanwhile, in the Maria Studio, productions will include the premiere of Fevered Sleep's new devised piece, On Ageing, and another piece by them, And the Rain Falls Down; plus a tale for four-to-seven year olds, My Dad's A Birdman, by David Almond.

In a press statement, artistic director David Lan commented, "We’re celebrating our 40th birthday with an exceptionally wide ranging season of work. There are examples of everything we do best. We’ve got world class drama as leading French director Patrice Chéreau directs his first UK production, explosive international work by Iceland’s Vesturport, a roof raising community musical with a chorus of one hundred and fast talking comedy as Vernon God Little hits the stage running once again. Classic America drama with Tennessee Williams’ first great Broadway hit and epic opera directed by the brilliantly innovative Benedict Andrews in our latest ENO co-production. . . .Big stories. Big emotions. Big ideas – from around the world. Our work has never been stronger. Our tickets have never been cheaper. It’s a big world in here. We hope you’ll join us. 40 years old and still full of beans."

The Human Comedy, co-produced with the Opera Group and Watford Palace Theatre with whom the Young Vic previously collaborated on the Evening Standard Award-winning production of Street Scene, will begin performances Sept. 13, for a run through Sept. 18 only. It will subsequently visit Watford Palace Theatre, Oct. 7-9, featuring a Watford-based community chorus. It is directed by John Fulljames, with musical direction by Phil Bateman, and will feature a professional cast and 80 community performers. With a score by Galt MacDermot  that combines swing, gospel, folk and pop, it is described in press materials as a "timeless tale of heroism that celebrates the healing power of community and the unifying spirit of song."

Faust, a Vesturport and Reykjavík City Theater production co-produced by Theatre im Pfalzbau, will begin performances Sept. 25 prior to an official opening Oct. 1, for a run through Oct. 30. Inspired by Goethe's Faust, it is written by Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Gísli Örn Garðarsson, Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir, Víkingur Kristjánsson and Carl Grose, with music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. According to press materials, "The universal tale of a man selling his soul to the devil has never been imagined quite like this before. Loud, fast, explosive, poetic and acrobatic, Vesturport’s Faust is hilarious and terrifying with a score ranging from devilish glam-rock to soulful ballads." Tenneseee Williams' The Glass Menagerie will begin performances Nov. 11, prior to an official opening Nov. 17, for a run through Jan. 1, 2011. Joe Hill-Gibbins, deputy artistic director of the Young Vic, directs; he is currently directing The Beauty Queen of Leenane at the theatre. The score is by Dario Marianelli, who won an Oscar and Golden Globe Award for his score to the film "Atonement"; his score to "Pride and Prejudice" was also Oscar-nominated.

Tanya Ronder's adaptation of DBC Pierre's God Vernon Little, directed by Rufus Norris, returns to the theatre, beginning performances Jan. 27, 2011, prior to an official opening Feb. 7, for a run through March 5. It was previously staged at the Young Vic in 2007, when it was Olivier Award-nominated.

English National Opera and the Young Vic continue their partnership with a new production of Monteverdi's epic opera The Return of Ulysses, running March 24-April 9. Based on the final section of Homer's Odyssey, it was composed in 1640. Directed by Benedict Andrews, it will feature Tom Randle as Ulysses and Pamela Helen Stephen as Penelope.

Veteran French director Patrice Chéreau directs his first ever English stage production - Jon Fosse’s I Am the Wind, presented in a new adaptation by Simon Stephens, that will begin performances April 26, prior to an official opening May 3, for a season through May 21. A Young Vic/Théâtre de la Ville-Paris co-production co-commissioned by Wiener Festwochen (Vienna), les Nuits de Fourvière/Département du Rhône and Grec 2011 Festival de Barcelona, it is described in press materials as "a tale of enduring humanity against insurmountable odds. Two lifelong travelling companions are bound together on a journey across a vast ocean. At once moving and comic, this new work by one of Europe’s most widely performed playwrights dramatises the endless struggle of being human." The production will tour to Théâtre de la Ville, Paris; Wiener Festwochen (the Vienna Festival); Les Nuits de Fourvière, Lyon and Barcelona Grec Festival in 2011.

The shows in the Maria Studio will run as follows: On Ageing, from Sept. 27 to Oct. 9; My Dad's A Birdman from Nov. 25 to Jan. 1; and And the Rain Falls Down from Feb. 24, 2011 to March 12.

For further details, visit www.youngvic.org.

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