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Dance and Dee in Shadowlands

Published 17 April 2008

Charles Dance and Janie Dee are to star in a new production of William Nicholson’s Shadowlands at the Wyndham’s from 3 October (press night 8 October) to 15 December. The pair take on the roles in this full production after performing a one-off rehearsed reading of the play at the Comedy last year.

Set in Oxford in the 1950s, Shadowlands tells the moving story of CS Lewis (Dance), Oxbridge professor and the author of The Chronicles Of Narnia, and his doomed relationship with American divorcee Joy Gresham (Dee), who was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Nicholson’s play first ran in the West End in 1989 at the Queen’s, starring Nigel Hawthorne and Jane Lapotaire in the leading roles, both of whom were subsequently nominated for Laurence Olivier Awards (the play was also nominated for Play Of The Year). The play then transferred to Broadway where Hawthorne won a 1991 Best Actor Tony Award. Richard Attenborough directed the BAFTA-winning big screen adaptation in 1993, which starred Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger in the central roles.

The multi-talented Dee has numerous West End stage credits to her name, in both drama and musicals. She was last here in the 2006 revival of Michael Frayn’s farce Donkeys’ Years at the Comedy, and before that in the revival of Jerry Herman’s musical Mack And Mabel, while other credits include Cats, Divas At The Donmar, My One And Only, Peter Hall’s 2003 production of Betrayal, plus Laurence Olivier Award-winning turns in Carousel at the National’s Lyttelton (Best Supporting Performance in a Musical 1993) and Comic Potential at the Lyric (Best Actress 2000).

British actor Dance is best known for his numerous big screen credits, including Gosford Park, White Mischief, The Golden Child and Hidden City, plus television appearances in 1984’s The Jewel In The Crown, and more recently Bleak House (Tulkinghorn), To The Ends Of The Earth and Fingersmith. A former member of the RSC, Dance’s most recent stage credits include Good at the Donmar in 1999 and Long Day’s Journey Into Night with Jessica Lange at the Lyric in 2000. He also wrote, produced and directed the film Ladies In Lavender.

Joining Dee and Dance in the cast of Shadowlands are John Standing, Richard Durden and Graham Padden.

Shadlowlands visits Richmond theatre prior to the West End, from 24-29 September.

CB

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