The screen-to-stage adaptation of the award-winning film SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE will open at London’s Noel Coward Theatre in the summer of 2014.
This new play will be adapted by Lee Hall from the Oscar-winning screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions and Sonia Friedman Productions, Declan Donnellan will direct, with designs by Nick Ormerod.
In SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, promising new playwright Will Shakespeare is plagued by debt, tormented by writer’s block and in desperate need of a new hit. He finds his muse in the form of passionate young noblewoman, Viola De Lesseps, but their forbidden love soon draws everyone, including Queen Elizabeth herself, into the drama and inspires Will to write the greatest love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet.
The 1998 film won a total of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Gwyneth Paltrow, and Best Supporting Actress for Dame Judi Dench.
Lee Hall won the 2009 Tony Award® for Best Book for Billy Elliot The Musical, which also won the 2005 Olivier Award for Best Musical. These stage adaptations were based on his screenplay for the original film, which saw him nominated for an Academy Award®. Hall also wrote the screenplay for the 2011 big screen adaptation of War Horse, directed by Steven Spielberg. Having been writer in residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Live Theatre, his theatre credits include The Pitman Painters, Cooking With Elvis, Spoonface Steinberg and Two’s Company.
Since forming Cheek by Jowl in 1981, Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod have since directed and designed over 30 productions which have been performed in more than 300 cities in 40 countries all over the world. The pair have reimagined many of Shakespeare’s texts including the all-male As You Like It, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Troilus and Cressida and Othello. In 1989 Donnellan was made Associate Director of the National Theatre where productions have included Fuente Ovejuna, Sweeney Todd, The Mandate and both parts of Tony Kushner’s Angels In America. Additional theatre credits include ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, The Changeling, Great Expectations and British premiers of Outcry, Homebody/Kabul, Sara and Lady Betty.
"Everyone who loves the theatre loves what Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman created with the miracle that is SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE," said Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer Disney Theatrical Productions. "What better way to celebrate that than to turn to consummate theatre artists: Declan, Nick, Lee and Sonia are all working at the top of their game and it is an honour for our Disney Theatrical team to partner with artists of their weight and calibre."
Sonia Friedman, producer, said: “Every now and then a story comes along that cries out to be staged. This is one such story. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE bursts with life and is a moving and hilarious celebration of everything that we love about the inspirational and transformative power of theatre. This project has been several years in development and Tom Schumacher and I are thrilled to be confirming its world premiere in London.”
This romantic comedy promises to transport audiences back to Shakespeares London, teeming with characters and all its vibrant colours, music and life. The new stage production will have a cast of over 26 actors and musicians, with the full creative team and cast announced at a future date.
With previews beginning in early July 2014, stay tuned for when SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE tickets go on sale 31 January 2014!