The productions will be directed by Lindsay Posner (whose previous Old Vic production of Noises Off transferred to the West End and will tour next year, beginning at Bath's Theatre Royal March 27), Marianne Elliott and Mark Rylance, respectively.
In a press statement, Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey commented, "The Old Vic has always been first and foremost an actors' theatre, a home for great talent and memorable performances. We're so proud of where we have gotten to in nine seasons, and for me this new season of work shows just how far The Old Vic has come. What an exciting prospect to see the wonderful Mark Rylance direct supreme actors Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones in Much Ado about Nothing. We are honored that Mark is bringing his unique talent to The Old Vic. I am delighted to welcome Lindsay Posner back to our theatre with The Winslow Boy and I know that audiences will be thrilled at the prospect of Kim Cattrall taking on Sweet Bird of Youth directed by Marianne Elliott, whom we are so excited to welcome for the first time. I couldn't be more proud that these greats of the theatre have chosen The Old Vic as their home in 2013 and delighted to bring more great productions to our audiences."
The Winslow Boy will begin performances March 8, 2013, prior to an official opening March 19, for a run through May 25. The play, first staged in 1946, is based on the true story of a father's fight to clear his son's name when he is expelled from Naval College after being convicted of theft. According to press materials, "the battle between personal principles and conscience and an impenetrable establishment under the media spotlight makes The Winslow Boy as relevant today as it was then." Casting is yet to be announced.
The Sweet Bird of Youth will begin performances June 1, prior to an official opening June 12 for a run through Aug. 31. Cattrall will play fading Hollywood legend Alexandra Del Lago, ravaged by the bitterness of failure and despair. "Fleeing the disastrous premiere of her comeback film, she travels incognito as The Princess Kosmonopolis seeking refuge in drink and drugs and the arms of Chance Wayne, an idealistic young dreamer turned gigolo and hellbent on achieving his own movie stardom. A trip to Chance's hometown in a bid to win back his childhood sweetheart sees their relationship of convenience unravel in Williams's portrait of the destruction of dreams." Cattrall was most recently seen on the British theatre stage in Antony and Cleopatra at Liverpool Playhouse and Chichester Festival Theatre, and last appeared in the West End in Private Lives that subsequently transferred to Broadway. Director Marianne Elliott is an associate director of the National Theatre, where she has most recently directed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (soon to transfer to the West End) and co-directed the international hit War Horse. Sweet Bird of Youth is a co-production with Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer.
Much Ado About Nothing will begin performances Sept. 7 prior to an official opening Sept. 19 for a run through Nov. 16. While young lovers Claudio and Hero threaten to have their imminent nuptials thwarted by the resentful scheming of a Prince, marriage seems inconceivable for reluctant lovers Beatrice (Vanessa Redgrave) and Benedick (James Earl Jones). Redgrave and Earl Jones, who take on these roles for the first time, recently starred together in Driving Miss Daisy on Broadway and subsequently in the West End. Mark Rylance, who is currently starring in Richard III and Twelfth Night that have transferred from Shakespeare's Globe to the Apollo, was previously artistic director of the Globe. Much Ado About Nothing is produced in association with Nicolas Kent.