Rufus Wainwright and Ivo van Hove have collaborated on a new musical called Opening Night with actress Sheridan Smith.
- READ MORE: Soundtrack Of My Life: Rufus Wainwright
Directed and conceived by van Hove and starring Sheridan Smith as lead character Myrtle, the music and lyrics for the musical have been written by Wainwright.
The musical will run for a “strictly limited season” at the Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End from March 6 to July 27 2024. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here.
A synopsis of the new production says: “Based on John Cassavetes’ legendary film, Opening Night follows a theatre company’s preparations to stage a major new play on Broadway.
“But drama ignites behind the scenes when their leading lady is rocked by tragedy, and her personal turmoil forces everybody to deliver the performance of their lives.”
Speaking about the project, Wainwright said: “For me John Cassavetes’s movie Opening Night has long been a shining beacon representing both excellence in cinema and the might of live theatre. An intense marriage of film and stage it is about a very personal mental and creative survival that I think we can all relate to on a very deep human level.
“I’ve been waiting for ages to write my first musical and with this fantastic story plus the incomparable Sheridan Smith, not to mention the incredible Ivo van Hove, I don’t think I could have aimed any higher”.
Smith added: “The chance to work with the musical genius that is Rufus Wainwright and one of the world’s greatest stage directors Ivo van Hove was a once in a life time opportunity, and quite frankly if they’d asked me to read out the back of a cereal packet I’d have been there! But, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be cast in this fantastic original musical.”
While van Hove said: “It is a dream come true to collaborate with the wonderful Rufus Wainwright, whose work I have been a fan of for so many years…Opening Night not only gives us an insight into the trials and tribulations behind the scenes of the theatre, but it is also the heartbreaking story of a woman fighting for hope and self-determination in a world that doesn’t want to listen.”
Back in September, Wainwright performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms where he honoured Jeff Buckley and duetted with Jake Shears as he played his classic albums ‘Want One’ and ‘Want Two’ in full.
Joined by the BBC Concert Orchestra on Tuesday (September 5) to deliver two separate sets to mark the 20th anniversary of his breakthrough third album ‘Want One’ from 2003 and the 2004 sister record ‘Want Two’, the night saw a fittingly opulent, full-bodied and sumptuous delivery of Wainwright’s most essential work.
Towards the end of the second set for ‘Want Two’, Wainwright invited the billed special guest of Scissor Sisters‘ Jake Shears to the stage for closer ‘Old Whore’s Diet’.
Wainwright’s latest album ‘Folkocracy‘ is out now, as is Shears’ second solo album ‘Last Man Dancing‘. The Scissor Sisters frontman is also currently starring alongside Self Esteem in a new London production of Cabaret.
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