Anna Friel, familiar to Broadway audiences from Closer, made her West End debut as Frank Wedekind's Lulu in the currently playing Almeida's revival. Now, the actress and play will journey to the U.S., playing a month-long engagement at The Kennedy Center, June 16-July 17.
The run marks the Almeida's first trip to the nation's capital.
Lulu, based on Wedekind's two Lulu Plays in a new version by Nicholas Wright, traces the decline and fall of a young woman possessing a fatal combination of overpowering sexuality and innocence. As she passes through Berlin and Parisian high society to the back-streets of Jack the Ripper's London, she roundly destroys and is ultimately destroyed by her lovers.
Friel, who stars in the title role, famously made her stage debut in 1999 on Broadway, playing the seductive and mysterious waif Alice in Patrick Marber's Closer, for which she won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress. Her television work includes "Brookside," "GBH," "The Tribe" and "Our Mutual Friend."
The play is the Almeida's first in its new London performance space - a disused coach depot at King's Cross — where it will reside while its home venue in Islington, North London, is refurbished. Lulu opens on the West End on March 8 and continues until May 12. Alan Howard, who will play Schoning in D.C., is a stage veteran whose work includes The Play About the Baby (Almeida); The Heiress, Flight and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (National); Coriolanus, Richard II and Good (RSC); and King Lear and Waiting for Godot (for Peter Hall at the Old Vic).
Friel and Howard are joined in the cast by Samia Akudo, James Faulkner, Tom Georgeson, James Hillier, Leon Lissek, Anna Maguire, Oliver Milburn, Sid Mitchell, Francesca Murray-Fuentes, Marella Oppenheim, Jason Pitt, Imogen Slaughter, Johanna ter Steege, Peter Sullivan, Roger Swaine and Andrew Ufondu.
Lulu is directed by the Almeida's joint artistic director, Jonathan Kent, and designed by Rob Howell, with lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Jonathan Dove and sound by John A Leonard.
—By Robert Simonson
and Terri Paddock