Piaf, Starring Evita's Elena Roger, Opens at the Donmar Aug. 13

News   Piaf, Starring Evita's Elena Roger, Opens at the Donmar Aug. 13
A new production of Pam Gems' Piaf — originally produced in 1978 at the Donmar Warehouse when the RSC used to run it as their writing studio home — returns to the same address to launch the Covent Garden venue's new season, opening Aug. 13 (following previews that began Aug. 8) for a run through Sept. 20.
Elena Roger in Piaf.
Elena Roger in Piaf. Photo by Johan Persson

The original production subsequently transferred to the West End's Piccadilly Theatre and was subsequently seen at Broadway's Plymouth Theatre in 1981, with Jane Lapotaire in the title role.

Now being presented in a revised, reworked version, the play captures the glamour and squalor and the rise and fall, of a complex, fragile and enigmatic performer. This production stars Elena Roger in the title role, returning to the London stage after originating the role of Eva Peron in the 2006 revival of Evita and subsequently taking over as one of the air hostesses in Boeing-Boeing. In her native Buenos Aires, Roger's credits include the original productions of Nine, Beauty and the Beast, Les Misérables and Saturday Night Fever. In 2003 she devised Mina, che cosa sei with director Valeria Ambrosio, based on the life of the Italian singer, that won five awards including the ACE (Critics' Award) for Best Actress for Roger.

The production is directed by Jamie Lloyd, who was appointed as an associate director at the Donmar earlier this year; he was also Michael Grandage's associate director on both Evita and Guys and Dolls, which he recently restaged in Australia. He has also directed Pinter's The Caretaker at the Sheffield Crucible and subsequently at London's Tricyle Theatre, and was recently represented in the West End by his production of the Pinter double-bill The Lover and The Collection at the Comedy Theatre.

Also in the cast are Shane Attwooll (last seen in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at the Almeida and Glengarry Glen Ross at the Apollo), Phillip Browne (Carmen Jones at the Royal Festival Hall, The Lion King at the Lyceum), Lorraine Bruce (Vernon God Little at the Young Vic, Bad Girls the Musical at the Garrick), Luke Evans (Small Change at the Donmar Warehouse, Rent Remixed at the Duke of York's, Avenue Q at the Noel Coward), Michael Hadley (Othello and The Vortex at the Donmar Warehouse), Katherine Kingsley (Black and White Ball at the King's Head, High Society at the Shaftesbury), Leon Lopez (Rent Remixed at the Duke of York's), Stuart Neal (Nine at the Donmar Warheouse, The Lord of the Rings at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Evita at the Adelphi) and Steve John Shepherd (Five Wives of Maurice Pinder and Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads at the National).

Other plays by Pam Gems include Franz Into April (1977), Queen Christina (1977), The Blue Angel (1991), the book for the musical Marlene (1996) and Stanley (1996). For tickets contact the box office at 0870 060 6624 or visit www.donmarwarehouse.com.

<i>Piaf</i> stars Stuart Neal and Elena Roger.
Piaf stars Stuart Neal and Elena Roger. Photo by Johan Persson
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