Sheffield's Crucible Plans Revival of Me and My Girl, Plus Major David Hare Season

News   Sheffield's Crucible Plans Revival of Me and My Girl, Plus Major David Hare Season
Sheffield's Crucible Theatre will revive the classic British musical Me and My Girl — whose 1987 Broadway run received 13 Tony nominations, and won three – and will offer a major retrospective of the work of playwright David Hare.

The season will begin in September with the previously announced new production of Hamlet, starring John Simm in the title role, under the direction of associate director Paul Miller, with Simm joined by the newly announced Michelle Dockery as Ophelia.

The Crucible Studio will also see the world premiere of DC Jackson's My Romantic History, staged in a co-production with London's Bush Theatre and Birmingham Rep, originally written for radio and now newly adapted by the playwright for its stage premiere that will be directed by Lyndsey Turner. It will open at Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre as part of this year's festival (running Aug. 5-29), then transfer to Birmingham Rep (Sept. 1-11), Sheffield (Sept. 15-Oct. 2). There will also be visits from Frantic Assembly, in a co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland, who will appear in Sheffield for the first time with Bryony Lavery's Beautiful Burnout (running Nov. 3-13 in the Crucible); a Third Angel, mala voadora and Sheffield Theatres co-production of What I Heard About the World (running Oct. 13-30 in the Crucible Studio); and Jill Murphy's Whatever Next!, a children’s co-production from tutti fruitti and York Theatre Royal (running Dec. 15-Jan. 8, 2011 in the Crucible Studio).

In a press statement on the season, artistic director Daniel Evans has commented, "The Crucible Theatre reopened in February this year after a two-year redevelopment and I'm deeply encouraged by the fact that over 23,000 people saw the first three productions in our opening season. As we look ahead to the new season, I'm delighted to announce an ambitious and varied programme of work, including classical, physical and musical theatre. The David Hare season will be the first time that Sheffield Theatres has staged one playwright’s work in each of its three venues – and I look forward to welcoming David to the city."

Hamlet, which begins performances Sept. 16 prior to an official opening Sept. 22, for a run through Oct. 23, will be designed by Tom Scutt, with lighting by Oliver Fenwick and music and sound by Ben and Max Ringham. Simm and director Paul Miller are reunited after previously collaborating on Elling at the Bush Theatre, which subsequently transferred to the West End's Trafalgar Studios, where Simm was Olivier-nominated for Best Actor. He last appeared on the West End stage in Speaking in Tongues at the Duke of York's Theatre. He is best known for his TV roles in "Life on Mars." Dockery has been seen at the National Theatre in Burnt by the Sun (Olivier nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role), Philistines and The UN Inspector, and in Pygmalion and Uncle Vanya (both for the Peter Hall Company).

Me and My Girl will begin performances Dec. 2, prior to an official opening Dec. 9, for a run through Jan. 29, 2011. The show, which features book and lyrics by L. Arthur Rose and Douglas Furber and music by Noel Gay, was originally performed in 1937 at the Victoria Palace Theatre starring Lupino Lane. It was revived in 1952, and again in 1984 (with its book revised by Stephen Fry and contributions to those revisions by its late director, Mike Ocrent), when it ran for eight years at the West End's Adelphi Theatre and transferred to Broadway. The new production is directed by Anna Mackmin, who has previously staged Cloud Nine, The Crucible, Iphigenia, Teeth ‘n’ Smiles and The Arbor at Sheffield. She is currently represented in London by her production of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing at the Old Vic, where she has also previously directed Dancing at Lughnasa. At the National Theatre, she was recently represented by Really Old, Like Forty Five and has also directed Citizenship/Chatroom/Burn there. The production is choreographed by Stephen Mear, who co-choreographed the current Broadway production of Mary Poppins (with Matthew Bourne), and who won the 2010 Olivier Award for Best Choreography for Hello, Dolly! at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. The production will also feature Jae Alexander as musical director, with orchestrations and dance arrangements by Chris Walker. The David Hare season will feature three of his plays, Racing Demon, Plenty and The Breath of Life — each written 12 years apart – across all three of the Sheffield Theatres, the Crucible, Crucible Studio and Lyceum, together with a series of play readings, workshops, talks and interviews.

Racing Demon, which originally premiered at London's National Theatre and was subsequently presented in a different production at Lincoln Center Theater's Vivian Beaumont, will begin performances Feb. 10, prior to an official opening Feb. 16, for a run through March 5, in the main house Crucible Theatre, under the direction of artistic director Daniel Evans. Meanwhile, in the Crucible Studio, Thea Sharrock will direct Plenty, beginning performances Feb. 3 prior to an official opening Feb. 8, for a run through Feb. 26; and in the Lyceum Theatre, Peter Gill will direct The Breath of Life, beginning performances Feb. 16, prior to an official opening Feb. 21, for a run through Feb. 26.

In a press statement, Hare has commented, "For the whole of my theatregoing life, Sheffield has been one of the most vibrant and exciting theatre cities in the country. When I ran touring companies, it was high among the gigs you most relished. I can’t think of a greater honour for a living playwright than to have three plays simultaneously performed in its three different theatres."

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