After a brief hiatus due to illness, Scarlett Johansson made her return to the stage as Maggie in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. The performance was met with an audience including Meryl Streep seated in the front row, Jessica Lange on an aisle, and Anna Wintour and Kelly Reilly in close proximity. It’s not uncommon to spot notable figures such as Oscar and Tony winners or celebrated writers and directors while attending plays in New York. However, it seems that Meryl Streep is the most frequent attendee. What I find particularly admirable about her is how she remains in her seat during intermissions to avoid drawing too much attention to herself. Additionally, it’s always a delight to witness her infectious laughter.
The latest buzz in town is Scarlett Johansson’s impressive return to the stage as Maggie in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Her portrayal of Maggie, especially when she referred to some off-stage brats as “no-neck monsters,” was received with great relish by the audience. Even Meryl Streep was engrossed in the on-stage confrontations between Scarlett and Benjamin Walker, who played Maggie’s “crippled” husband, Brick, and the second act session between Brick and Ciaran Hinds, who played Big Daddy. Although the Tennessee Williams play is still being trimmed before its official opening, it is already creating quite a stir among critics. Maggie’s character is so compelling that even as a child, I couldn’t understand why Paul Newman, as the drunken Brick in Elizabeth Taylor’s film adaptation, didn’t desire her.
In the 1958 film adaptation of A Cat On A Tin Roof, Scarlett Johansson played Maggie alongside Benjamin Walker as her “crippled” husband Brick. Despite knowing there would be no happy ending for the couple, Rob Ashford, the play’s director, appreciated their attractive performances. Scarlett’s character, Maggie, hoped that Brick would remain sober for just one night so that they could hook up. However, she knew the truth deep down. Interestingly, Benjamin is Meryl Streep’s son-in-law, married to Mamie Gummer. During the Tuesday night performance, Mamie and her family, including Don Gummer, sat in the audience and met up with the cast afterward. Meanwhile, Judi Dench, who starred in Skyfall, will appear in a new play called Peter And Alice alongside Ben Whishaw. Directed by Michael Grandage, the play will begin rehearsals on January 28 and run at the Noel Coward Theatre from March 9. Although Judi is a popular actress, Michael noted that she loves being part of a company and is excited to perform in a play.
Dame Judi Dench is set to star in a new play that tells the story of Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s famous novel ‘Alice In Wonderland’. The play, titled ‘Peter And Alice’, follows the meeting of Alice and Peter Llewelyn Davies, who inspired J.M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’, at a Lewis Carroll exhibition in London in 1932. Michael Grandage, who is producing the play alongside James Bierman, explained that the conversation between the two is imagined by writer John Logan, and explores what happened to the characters as they grew up and how much of their childhood remained with them. Up-and-coming actors Olly Alexander and Ruby Bentall have been cast as Peter Pan and Alice, respectively. This new offering is the second play in the Michael Grandage Company’s inaugural season, following the highly praised ‘Privates On Parade’, starring Simon Russell Beale.
According to Grandage, the play will focus on how the actual Peter and Alice coped with their fame, since they did not choose to become Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. The roles of Carroll and Barrie will be played by Nicholas Farrell and Derek Riddell, respectively, while Stefano Braschi will take on multiple roles. Welcome, Mr. Mendes, we were anticipating your arrival.
During a conversation with Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, the guardians of the James Bond film series, Sam Mendes discussed the possibility of directing the upcoming Bond 24 movie. Mendes, who won an Academy Award for directing the popular Skyfall movie, was unsure if he wanted to direct another Bond film. However, it seems that Broccoli and Wilson have offered to delay the start of production until 2014 instead of later this year, which appeals to Mendes as he can focus on directing the musical Charlie And The Chocolate Factory this year.
The role of Willy Wonka in the upcoming production will be portrayed by Douglas Hodge. Nigel Planer and Myra Sands will be playing the roles of Grandpa Joe and Grandma Georgina, while Jack Shalloo and Alex Clatworthy will take on the roles of Charlie’s parents. Mr Beauregarde, father to gum-chewing champion Violet, will be portrayed by Paul J. Medford, and Jasna Ivir will play Mrs Gloop, mother to the greedy Augustus. Additionally, the production team, led by Sam Mendes and choreographer Peter Darling, has enlisted some skilled dancers to play the beloved characters of the Oompa Loompas.
On May 18th, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane will begin showing previews for Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. The grand opening is set for June 25th. Furthermore, the producers of Bond 24 have decided to delay shooting until next year, which will allow them more time to search for top-notch actors to star alongside Daniel Craig and Ralph Fiennes.