- July 2018
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a 1962 play by Edward Albee. It examines the breakdown of the marriage of a middle-aged couple, Martha and George. After a university faculty party, they receive an unwitting younger couple, Nick and Honey, as guests late one evening and draw them into their bitter and frustrated relationship. The play is in three acts, normally taking a little less than three hours to perform, with two 10-minute intermissions. The title is a pun on the song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" from Walt Disney's The Three Little Pigs, substituting the name of the celebrated feminist English author Virginia Woolf. Martha and George repeatedly sing this version of the song throughout the play.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? won both the 1963 Tony Award for Best Play and the 1962–'63 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play. It is frequently revived on the modern stage. The film adaptation was released in 1966, written by Ernest Lehman, directed by Mike Nichols, and starring Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, George Segal and Sandy Dennis.
- July 2018
The King and I is a musical, the fifth by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon, which derives from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s. The musical's plot relates the experiences of Anna, a British schoolteacher hired as part of the King's drive to modernize his country. The relationship between the King and Anna is marked by conflict through much of the piece, as well as by a love that neither can admit. The musical premiered on March 29, 1951, at Broadway's St. James Theatre. It ran nearly three years, then the fourth longest-running Broadway musical in history, and has had many tours and revivals.
In 1950, theatrical attorney Fanny Holtzmann was looking for a part for her client, veteran leading lady Gertrude Lawrence. Holtzmann realized that Landon's book would be an ideal vehicle and contacted Rodgers and Hammerstein, who were initially reluctant but agreed to write the musical. The pair initially sought Rex Harrison to play the supporting part of the King, a role that he had played in the 1946 movie made from Landon's book, but he was unavailable. They settled on actor and television director Yul Brynner.
- April 2018
Hedda Gabler is a play first published in 1890 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The play premiered in 1891 in Germany to negative reviews, but has subsequently gained recognition as a classic of realism, nineteenth century theatre, and world drama. A 1902 production was a major sensation on Broadway starring Minnie Maddern Fiske and following its initial limited run was revived with the actress the following year.
The character of Hedda is considered by some critics as one of the great dramatic roles in theatre and some portrayals have been very controversial, especially in the New Zealand play "2B or not 2B" where a male plays Hedda. Depending on the interpretation, Hedda may be portrayed as an idealistic heroine fighting society, a victim of circumstance, a prototypical feminist, or a manipulative villain.
Hedda's married name is Hedda Tesman; Gabler is her maiden name. On the subject of the title, Ibsen wrote: "My intention in giving it this name was to indicate that Hedda as a personality is to be regarded rather as her father's daughter than her husband's wife."
- March 2018
The Mousetrap is a murder mystery play by Agatha Christie. The Mousetrap opened in the West End of London in 1952, and has been running continuously since then. It has the longest initial run of any play in history, with its 25,000th performance taking place on 18 November 2012. It is the longest running show of the modern era. The play is also known for its twist ending, which the audience are traditionally asked not to reveal after leaving the theatre.
- January 2018
Notre-Dame de Paris is a sung-through French-Canadian musical which debuted on 16 September 1998 in Paris. It is based upon the novel Notre-Dame de Paris by the French novelist Victor Hugo. The music was composed by Riccardo Cocciante and the lyrics are by Luc Plamondon.
Since its debut, it has been played in Canada, France, Belgium, Russia, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Japan, China, South Korea, Haiti and Taiwan. A shorter version in English was performed in 2000 in Las Vegas, Nevada and a full-length London production, also in English, ran for seventeen months. Popular songs from the show, such as Belle and Le temps des cathédrales have also been translated into Belarusian, Catalan, Czech, German, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, Dutch and English.
Notre-Dame de Paris, according to the Guinness Book of Records, had the most successful first year of any musical ever. The score has been recorded at least seven times to date: the original French concept album, which featured Israeli singer Achinoam Nini as Esmeralda was followed by a live, complete recording of the original Paris cast. A complete recording of the score in Italian was made, along with a single disc of highlights in Spanish from the Barcelona production. The original London cast album featured several of the original Paris stars, but only preserved a fraction of the score in English. The orchestral group I Fiamminghi recorded a CD of melodies from the score. A complete set of instrumental backing tracks has also been released.