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James Earl Jones at the Olivier Awards event in New York (photo: Anita & Steve Shevett)

James Earl Jones at the Olivier Awards event in New York (photo: Anita & Steve Shevett)

Rylance makes Ado with Redgrave and Jones

Published 3 December 2012

Mark Rylance will direct Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones in Much Ado About Nothing at the Old Vic next year as part of an eclectic 2013 programme, which will also see Kim Cattrall take to the stage in Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird Of Youth and Lindsay Posner’s return to the Waterloo venue.

Director of hit comedy Noises Off, which opened at the Old Vic last year before transferring to the West End, Posner’s production of Terrence Rattigan’s The Winslow Boy will kick off the season from 8 March (press night 19 March).

Based on the true story of a father’s fight to clear his son’s name following his expulsion from Naval College, The Winslow Boy is a timely tale about the battle between personal principles and an impenetrable establishment under the media spotlight.

From 1 June (press night 12 June), co-director of War Horse Marianne Elliott, whose hit National Theatre production of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time will transfer to the Apollo theatre next March, will direct Sex And The City’s Cattrall in Williams’ powerful and poetical play about a Hollywood legend who is ravaged by the bitterness of failure and despair.

Best known for her role in the American comedy-drama, Cattrall has previously appeared on stage in productions including Private Lives at the Vaudeville theatre and on Broadway, The Cryptogram at the Donmar Warehouse and Whose Life Is It Anyway? at the Harold Pinter theatre.

Cattrall will play Alexandra Del Lago in Sweet Bird Of Youth, which tells the story of the fading Hollywood legend who flees the disastrous premiere of her comeback film. Travelling incognito as the Princess Kosmonopolis, she seeks refuge in drink, drugs and the arms of idealistic young dreamer turned gigolo Chance Wayne before a trip to Chance’s hometown sees their relationship of convenience completely unravel.

Completing the season from 7 September (press night 19 September) is Rylance’s production of William Shakespeare’s timeless comedy, starring Driving Miss Daisy colleagues Redgrave and Jones, an unconventionally aged pairing, as the Bard’s most famous sparring couple Beatrice and Benedick.

Tony Award-winning actor Jones, who is well known for lending his voice to Star Wars’ Darth Vader and Mufasa in Disney film The Lion King, has enjoyed an extensive stage career on the other side of the Atlantic having appeared in productions including The Great White Hope and Fences on Broadway, both of which won him his prestigious Tony Awards. He appeared on the London stage in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof in 2009, a role for which he received an Olivier Award nomination the following year.

A member of one of the best-known acting dynasties in British theatre, his co-star Redgrave has had an equally successful stage career having won the Olivier Award in 1984 for her role in The Aspern Papers. The acclaimed actress has also starred in productions including The Year Of Magical Thinking and The Cherry Orchard at the National Theatre, and Lady Windermere’s Fan at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Talking about the star-studded 2013 season, Kevin Spacey, Artistic Director of the Old Vic, said: “The Old Vic has always been first and foremost an actors’ theatre, a home for great talent and memorable performances. We’re so proud of where we have gotten to in nine seasons, and for me this new season of work shows just how far the Old Vic has come. I couldn’t be more proud that these greats of the theatre have chosen the Old Vic as their home in 2013 and delighted to bring more great productions to our audiences.”

Posner’s production of The Winslow Boy will kick off the Old Vic’s new season following Trevor Nunn’s hit production of Cole Porter’s award-winning musical Kiss Me, Kate, which plays until 2 March.

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