Enigma Variations, starring Donald Sutherland and John Rubinstein will be opening again, but not on Broadway -- not quite yet, anyway. Production sources confirm reports that the director, cast and production team from the recent Toronto production will soon set up shop in London's West End. The straight play opens there on May 31 at the Savoy Theatre. Unconfirmed reports indicate that previews may begin as soon as May 22.
The London run was predicted. As reported by Playbill On-Line several weeks ago, a source close to the show had said that if a London production took place, it "wouldn't be surprising."
Enigma closed at Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre April 1. The Toronto run opened Feb. 24. Two of the city's four notices (the Toronto Star, the city's main circulation paper and the Toronto Sun tabloid) gave favorable reviews. Subsequent notices in the Globe and Mail and the National Post were favorable and mixed, respectively. Having started performances in Toronto on Feb. 17, stars Donald Sutherland and John Rubinstein consistently brought Toronto audiences to their feet during previews for Enigma Variations at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. The generally positive reviews for the show had fed speculation of a Broadway move but producers were described as "wary" in a subsequent April 6 Variety piece.
A call to producer Manny Azenberg's office in New York was not returned. Variety named the following additional producers for the show: Francine Racette, Duncan Weldon, Ira Pittelman, David and Ed Mirvish and the Mark Taper Forum/Gordon Davidson.
In Toronto, the strictly limited engagement of Enigma Variations ran through April 1 and was directed by award-winning stage, film and television director Anthony Page. Page will be helming the West End run as well. The production was designed by the legendary Ming Cho Lee. Enigma Variations was written by French playwright Eric Emmanuel Schmitt with an English language translation by Roeg Sutherland, the son of Enigma Variations star Donald Sutherland from an earlier marriage to Francine Racette, one of the producers of the show. In Enigma, Sutherland played Abel Znorko, a reclusive Nobel Prize winning novelist who publishes a passionate and personal book of letters that earns universal praise. When a journalist, played by Rubinstein, is granted a rare interview, a cascade of twisting, shattering revelations links the two men in a pas de deux.
Playwright Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt is a French-born philosophy professor and author. Among his plays are Le Visiteur and La Nuit De Valognes. He has also translated and adapted the French-language productions of Nine, The Merchant of Venice and many other plays and musicals. In France, he is a best-selling and award winning novelist. He splits his time between Dublin and Paris.
Director Page has worked both on Broadway and the West End, helming productions of A Doll's House (seen on Broadway a few seasons ago, starring Janet McTeer), Three Tall Women, Uncle Vanya and A Delicate Balance. Page has also directed films starring Albert Finney, Nicol Williamson and Richard Burton. On television, he has done many productions for BBC, NBC, CBS, HBO, Showtime and ABC.
Set designer Lee has designed internationally for 40 years and chairs the design department of the Yale School of Drama. Costume designer is Candice Cain, lighting designer is Robert Wierzel and sound designer is Jon Gottlieb.
-- By Murdoch McBride