Report: Democracy Will Not See Broadway in 2003-04 Season

News   Report: Democracy Will Not See Broadway in 2003-04 Season
Michael Frayn's Democracy, the London hit which has had Broadway producers clamoring for rights since before it began performances, will likely not see Broadway during the 2003-04 season.
Michael Blakemore, director of Democracy.
Michael Blakemore, director of Democracy.

"I don't see how it can be done," director Michael Blakemore told the New York Times. The play recently extended its run at the Royal National Theatre's small Cottesloe until Dec. 30. After that, the show will jump to the RNT's larger Lyttelton sometime in March for a short run, and then move on to the West End later in the spring—around the time some observers speculated it would be bowing in New York. "How can I be in both countries?" Blakemore commented.

The Michael Frayn play began previews at the Royal National Theatre Aug. 30. The show opened on Sept. 9 to embracing reviews. It will be produced in the West End by Michael Codron, with James Nederlander Sr. as a possible partner, the Times said.

The American producer Bob Boyett—who with Bill Haber recently signed a deal with the RNT which would give them first dibs on New York transfers of National shows—said a move to Broadway for Democracy would cost $2.5-$3 million.

Director Michael Blakemore has said that, should his London hit Democracy transfer to Broadway, he would insist on an American cast.

"I would like to cast this with Americans," Blakemore told Variety. "There's no reason why actors doing a play set in Germany should have English accents. And if you cast the play with people from the country you're playing in, the parallels with the political system in that country come sharply into focus." Copenhagen was based on a real life 1941 meeting between two world-famous physicists, one Danish and one German. Frayn again draws on European history for his new play. Democracy is set in West Germany in 1969, with Chancellor (the German term for Prime Minister) Willy Brandt taking office, little realizing that his personal assistant is spying on him for the East German Secret Service.

The play stars Roger Allam and Conleth Hill. It is performed in the Royal National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre. Copenhagen also started life at the National.

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