Trevor Nunn, director or co-director of Cats, Les Miserables, Sunset Boulevard, Nicholas Nickleby and other major West End and Broadway hits, officially takes the reins of London's Royal National Theatre, Oct. 2.
He was formerly joint artistic director of London's Royal Shakespeare Company.
Nunn has already made his mark in London this season, with a well received revival of Isben's An Enemy Of The People. Nunn is best known in the U.S. for directing Cats and co-directing (with John Caird) Nicholas Nickleby and Les Miserables
Outgoing artistic director Richard Eyre finishes his term Oct. 1 with the opening of Tom Stoppard's latest, The Invention of Love, which Eyre directed. Nunn's first order of business, Oct. 2, is a dinner meeting with the theatre's Board of Directors.
The National held an informal goodbye party for Eyre this past weekend. National Theatre spokesperson Fiona Walsh told Playbill On-Line (Sept. 30) that paying their respects at the party were cast-members of the current season and other notables, such as Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack, Salman Rushdie and directors Peter Hall and Sam Mendes. Judy Dench performed "Send In The Clowns" (with revised lyrics); Joanna Riding (of the current Guys And Dolls) also sang, and playwright David Hare gave a speech. GUYS AND DOLLS will remain in the National repertory through Nov. Fiona Laird re-staged Richard Eyre's original So much hoopla arose from Nunn's announcement that the National Theatre will stage a "lost" early Tennessee Williams play, Not About Nightingales, in March 1998, the rest of the National season went relatively unheralded, even though such names as Ian McKellen, Sinead Cusack, Tom Stoppard and John Wood already dot the landscape.
Here's the current line-up for the 1997-98 season:
AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. Trevor Nunn directs Henrik Ibsen's drama, adapted by Christopher Hampton. Ian McKellen plays a doctor with a martyr complex, destroyed by the town he tries to protect. Designing the show are John Napier, with costumes by John Bright and lighting by David Hersey. (Prev: Sept. 12; opens Sept. 19; Ends Nov. 1997 at the Olivier Theatre.)
Enemy runs in repertory with Guys And Dolls, Fiona Laird's re-staging of Richard Eyre's revival of the Frank Loesser musical adaptation of Damon Runyon's picaresque tales of gamblers and horse players in the New York of old (whew!). Starring in the musical, which runs through November, are Imelda Staunton, Colin Stinton, Clarke Peters and Joanna Riding.
CHIPS WITH EVERYTHING. Howard Davies directs Arnold Wesker's play. (Opened Sept. 4 at the Lyttelton Theatre.)
OTHELLO. Sam Mendes directs William Shakespeare's tragedy, starring David Harewood as the jealous Moor. The show, co-produced by the Salzburg Festival (and playing there Aug. 22-25) opened Sept. 16 at the Cottesloe Theatre. After the National production, the show will tour the Pacific Rim and U.S.
LES FAUSSES CONFIDENCES. Jean-Pierre Miquel, of the Comedie Francaise, directs this Marivaux comedy, with costumes by Renato Bianchi, sets & lighting by Miquel, and music by Francois Tusques. Part of the UK-wide "French Theatre Season," Confidences marks the first trip to England by the Comedie-Francais since 1973. (Runs Sept. 30-Oct. 4 at Lyttelton Theatre.)
THE INVENTION OF LOVE. Richard Eyre directs the world premiere of Tom Stoppard's latest, starring Paul Rhys & John Wood. (Opens Oct. 1 at Cottesloe Theatre.) Previous Stoppard works include The Real Thing and Arcadia.
THEATRE STORIES solo for Ken Campbell. (Prev: Oct. 16; opens: Oct. 17 for seven more performances at the Cottesloe Theatre.)
MUTABILITIE. Trevor Nunn directs Frank McGuinness' drama, starring Aisling O'Sullivan. Monica Frawley will design the sets. (Prev: Nov. 14; opens Nov. 20 at the Cottesloe Theatre.)
PRIVATE LIVES. Deborah Warner directs Noel Coward's comedy. (Prev: Nov. 21; opens Nov. 27 at the Lyttelton)
OH LES BEAUX JOURS. Peter Brook directs Samuel Beckett's play in a French language production (part of "the French Theatre Season"). Natasha Parry and Jean-Claude Perrin star in the production, which premiered at the 1996 Festival d'Automne. Chloe Obolensky designed the sets. (Runs Nov. 27-Dec. 6 at the Riverside Studios.)
PETER PAN. John Caird directs J.M. Barrie's fantasy, newly adapted by Caird and Nunn. McKellen will play Mr. Darling/Captain Hook. Designing Pan are John Napier (set), Andy Neofitou (costumes), and David Hersey (lighting). Scoring wil be by Stephen Oliver. All proceeds from the production go to Great Ormond Street Hospital For Children. (Prev: Dec. 18; opens Dec. 16 at the Olivier Theatre.)
THE DAY I STOOD STILL. New play by Kevin Elyot. (Prev: Jan. 15, 1998; opens Jan. 22, 1998 at the Cottesloe Theatre.)
FLIGHT. Howard Davies directs Mikhail Bulgakov's drama, adapted by Ron Hutchinson. (Prev: Jan. 29, 1998; opens Feb. 5, 1998 at the Olivier Theatre.)
THE LONDON CUCKOLDS. Terry Johnson adapts and directs Edward Ravenscroft's comedy. (Prev: Feb. 13, 1998; opens Feb. 19, 1998 at the Lyttelton Theatre.)
NOT ABOUT NIGHTINGALES. Trevor Nunn directs Tennessee Williams' 1938-39 drama, in a co-production with Vanessa Redgrave's Moving Theatre and Houston TX's Alley Theatre. (Prev: Feb. 26, 1998; Opens March 5, 1998 at the Cottesloe Theatre.)
The play concerns disturbances at a men's prison, with conflicts among convicts, guards and a sadistic warden. Nunn said in a press conference that "clear indications" of homosexuality in prison may have been the reason the play never received a commercial staging. "It's never been read, it's never been seen, it's never been performed," said Nunn. "The title refers to the kind of rough poetry Williams was intending for the theatre." Other plays by Williams include A Streetcar Named Desire and Camino Real.
OUR LADY OF SLIGO. Max Stafford-Clark directs Sebastian Barry's play, starring Sinead Cusack. (Prev: April 16, 1998; opens April 23, 1998 at the Cottesloe Theatre.)
COPENHAGEN. Michael Blakemore directs Michael Frayn's play. (Prev: May 21, 1998; opens May 28, 1998).
Also on the National program will be a touring production of Oh What A Lovely War, Joan Littlewood's musical satire directed by Fiona Laird. The show, starting March 1998, will tour London and other UK provinces.
Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, directed by Brigid Larmour, will tour schools (Jan.-May 1998) as part of the Shakespeare Unplugged project.
--By David Lefkowitz