Award winners plan transfers

Published January 28, 2014

Transfers are in the offing for The Scottsboro Boys and Ghosts, two of the winners at this year’s Critics’ Circle Awards.

According to Lesley Manville, who leads the Almeida Theatre production of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts that proved so popular in Islington that it transferred to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios, plans are afoot to take the production to America.

“[Director] Richard Eyre is in New York directing an opera,” she told Official London Theatre prior to picking up her prize, “and he is in discussions to take it to New York in the autumn. I’m desperately hoping that that happens.”

The actress, who plays a woman desperate to escape the ghosts of her past in Ibsen’s harrowing drama, described the role, for which she has received much acclaim, as one she could not walk away from.

Though the 90-minute production is gruelling, especially at the end of the week when she plays the mistreated wife and heartbroken mother five times in three days, she said the production does not take its toll. “I’d be in an asylum if I took all these parts home with me,” she said, before adding that the cast counteract any downheartedness with a dose of ABBA.

Already a hit in the US, The Scottsboro Boys, which ran at the Young Vic last autumn, is looking for a West End home.

“There’s talk,” confirmed producer Catherine Schreiber, “and we’re trying to make it happen. We were sold out at the Young Vic. People saw it five or six times. People thanked me for bringing it to London.”

The Kander and Ebb musical that uses the characteristics of a minstrel show to tell the true story of nine black men falsely accused of rape won the Best Musical Award at the Critics’ Circle Award. At the production’s press night in October, the auditorium of the Young Vic was packed with London’s commercial producers eager to run their eyes over the show.

Wherever the production ends up, Schreiber is convinced that its first UK home was ideal, telling us “The Young Vic is the greatest place in London we could possibly have done the show.”

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