Russell Beale, Wanamaker and Jennings to Be Part of London's National Season

News   Russell Beale, Wanamaker and Jennings to Be Part of London's National Season London's National Theatre has announced that its September to November 2007 season will include a production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring Simon Russell Beale and Zöe Wanamaker. The season will also include an adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's novel "War Horse."
Simon Russell-Beale
Simon Russell-Beale Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Both productions follow a revival of Noel Coward's Present Laughter, starring Alex Jennings as the egotistical, romantic actor that is based on Coward himself.

Howard Davies' production of Present Laughter opens on the National's Lyttelton stage Oct. 2 following previews that begin Sept. 25. Davies' credits include Coward's Private Lives in the West End and on Broadway.

Jennings' previous National credits include The Alchemist, Stuff Happens and His Girl Friday. He won an Olivier Award for his Professor Higgins in the West End production of My Fair Lady.

Nick Stafford's adaptation of War Horse opens at the Olivier on Oct. 17 with previews that begin Oct. 8.

Co-directed by Marianne Elliott (Saint Joan) and Tom Morris (who developed the National's adaptation of Coram Boy) in their first directorial collaboration, War Horse is presented in association with the South African-based Handspring Puppet Company. The production notes describe War Horse as being set during "the outbreak of World War One when Joey, young Albert's beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. He's soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary odyssey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man's land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home."

Morpurgo was children's laureate from 2003 to 2005. His prizes include the Whitbread Children's Novel Award.

Much Ado About Nothing, directed by National artistic director Hytner, opens on Dec. 18 following previews that begin Dec. 10.

Wanamaker was most recently seen at the National in The Rose Tattoo. She won an Olivier Award for her performance in the title role of Electra and in New York received a Tony nomination for Awake and Sing.

Russell Beale won an Olivier for his performance in the Donmar's Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night and was most recently seen at the National in The Alchemist and in the title role of The Life of Galileo. His credits also include King Arthur in Spamalot.

For more on the National's season visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk.

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