Prior to Broadway, Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross Play Private Lives' Balcony Scenes in Toronto Sept. 16-Oct. 30

By Kenneth Jones
16 Sep 2011

Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross
Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross
Photo by Hugo Glendinning

Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre, the site of the Canadian premiere of Noël Coward's Private Lives in 1931, welcomes old friends back on Sept. 16, when the recent London revival of the comedy is reconstituted there starring Kim Cattrall. The revival is Broadway-bound.

Directed by Richard Eyre and starring U.K.-born Cattrall ("Sex and the City"), the well-reviewed production from 2010 has a new Elyot opposite Cattrall's Amanda — Paul Gross, the Canadian stage star known for TV's "Due South" and "Slings & Arrows."

Opening night at the Royal Alex is Sept. 25. The limited run plays to Oct. 30 in Toronto before moving to Broadway's Music Box Theatre, where performances begin Nov. 6. (The Broadway opening night is Nov. 17. Broadway tickets are available through www.telecharge.com.)

Toronto producer David Mirvish said in a statement, "When I attended the London production of Private Lives — directed by the great Sir Richard Eyre, produced by my very good friends Paul Elliott and Duncan Weldon, and starring the magnetic and irresistible Kim Cattrall — I knew we had to find a way to bring this production to Toronto.



"Although she was born in the U.K., we have always considered Kim one of Canada's own. She spent her formative years in this country and got her start in theatre right here in Toronto, so I thought it would be a great homecoming, of sorts, to have her repeat her acclaimed performance for us here.

"Even better, as the Royal Alex was the theatre in which Noël Coward’s great play had had its Canadian premiere in 1931, I thought it only appropriate that this storied venue be home to this new production. In fact, it should be noted that Private Lives has played at the Royal Alex many times over the years — eight times, to be exact; twice with Tallulah Bankhead and once with Maggie Smith, in a production directed by Sir John Gielgud."

The classic comedy concerns former spouses Amanda (Cattrall) and Elyot (Gross) meeting again on adjoining hotel balconies on the French Riviera — while they are on their honeymoons with their respective new spouses, played by Simon Paisley Day (Victor) and Anna Madeley (Sybil). Caroline Lena Olsson plays a maid.

The design team is Rob Howell (set and costumes) and David Howe (lighting).

Private Lives is produced by Duncan C. Weldon, Paul Elliott, Theatre Royal Bath, Terri and Timothy Childs, Sonia Friedman and David Mirvish.

Cattrall starred in the U.K. stage production of Antony and Cleopatra for director Janet Suzman. She made her Broadway debut in Wild Honey with Sir Ian McKellen. Her TV and film roles (in addition to playing Samantha Jones in "Sex and the City") include PBS's "Any Human Heart" based on the William Boyd novel; "Meet Monica Velour"; and Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer." She is a recipient of a Golden Globe Award; a Gemini Award (Canadian Emmy); two Screen Actors Guild Awards; five Emmy Award nominations and three Screen Actors' Guild nominations. She has also written several books, including the best seller "Sexual Intelligence"; "Being a Girl: Navigating the Ups and Downs of Teenage Life"; and "Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm."

Canadian actor Gross played Constable Benton Fraser on the award-winning series "Due South" and received two Gemini Awards for his portrayal of a ghost-plagued stage director, Geoffrey Tenant, in the acclaimed series "Slings & Arrows." He wrote, directed, produced and starred in the feature films "Men with Brooms" and "Passchendaele," two of the highest-grossing Canadian films and winner of a combined six Genie Awards including Best Picture. Gross recently starred in the TV series "Eastwick." On stage, he received Dora Awards for Romeo and Romeo and Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Toward the Somme. He performed the title role in the Stratford Festival's 2000 production of Hamlet.

Day's London stage credits include Private Lives; Timon of Athens; Entertaining Mr. Sloane; The 39 Steps; The Philanthropist (Donmar); The Coast of Utopia, Twelfth Night and Anything Goes (all at The National Theatre).

Madeley's London credits include three seasons with the RSC; The Roman Actor opposite Antony Sher; Colder Than Here; The Philanthropist; The Cosmonaut’s Last Message… (Donmar); and Coram Boy at The National.

Olsson's London credits include Private Lives; Carmen at the Royal Opera House directed by Francesca Zambello; This Child; War Crime; GOF and Dickens of a Christmas.

Director Eyre was director of London's Royal National Theatre from 1988-1997.

For ticket information about the Toronto run, visit www.mirvish.com.