Tag Archives: National Theatre Live


THE LEHMAN TRILOGYStefano Massini’s acclaimed epic of immigrant commerce, high finance, and spectacular ruin—stars Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley, and Ben Miles as a cast of dozens across a century and a half of ascendancy while remaining the three Lehman brothers—Henry, Meyer, and Emanuel—who stepped off the boat in 1844, landing in the “magical music box” of America.

The original five-hour version premiered in Paris in 2013, and went on to Milan, where it was first seen by director Sam Mendes. Shortened to a little over three hours, adapted into English by Ben Power, and designed by by Es Devlin, THE LEHMAN TRILOGY is on the West End boards for one more month. Fortunately for local audiences, over the next several months L.A. Theatre Works will present six encores of the National Theatre Live presentation.


Saturday, July 27.

Sunday, July 28, August 4, August 25, and September 8.

Saturday, November 23.

All presentations at 3 pm.

James Bridges Theater

Melnitz Hall, UCLA

235 Charles E. Young Drive, Los Angeles.


Through August 31.

Piccadilly Theatre

16 Denman Street, Soho, London.

The Lehman Trilogy, from top: Simon Russell Beale (2); Beale (left), Ben Miles, and Adam Godley; Miles, Beale, and Godley; Godley; Miles, Godley, and Beale; Miles; Beale, Miles, and Godley; Godley, Beale, and Miles. Photographs by Mark Douet. Images courtesy and © the photographer, the performers, the designer, and the National Theatre.


The origin of Joseph Mankiewicz’s legendary screenplay ALL ABOUT EVE is a true story the actress Elisabeth Bergner told author-actress-playwright Mary Orr about a stage door waif, Martina Lawrence, who insinuated herself into Bergner’s life to a threatening degree. In Orr’s fictional telling, the faux-naïf schemer—Eve—takes over the great actress’ career, husband, and stardom, ending the tale with a thousand-dollar-a-week contract from a Hollywood studio.

Since studio Code dictated that villains must always be punished, 20th Century Fox couldn’t film that version in 1950. So Mankiewicz devised a brilliant ending: the star—Margo Channing—wouldn’t lose everything to the interloper, and Eve ends up with her own Eve to thwart.

Ivo van Hove—the European avant-gardist-turned-unlikely Broadway powerhouse—and his designer Jan Versweyveld have transformed ALL ABOUT EVE for the London stage. Gillian Anderson pulls out all the stops, playing Margo at 50—not the film’s 40—and more obsessed with surface aging as a harbinger of irrelevance than Bette Davis was in her indelible star turn. The essential difference between EVE‘s sparkling 1950s urbanity and its 2019 iteration may be explained by Ben Brantley’s take on van Hove’s sensibility:

“He is a tragedian, first and foremost, though I think we can make room for tragedians in a time when they’re a rare breed among directors… What I think fascinates him, and what often works for me, is the idea of monolithic personalities, damned to suffocate under their own passions (or egos).”

The National Theatre production of ALL ABOUT EVE co-stars Lily James in the title role. Monica Dolan is Margo’s best friend Karen, Rhashan Stone is her husband, playwright Lloyd Richards, Julian Ovenden is Margo’s lover-director Bill, Stanley Townsend is critic Addison DeWitt, and Sheila Reid is Birdie, Margo’s dresser (played in Mankiewicz’s film by Thelma Ritter). PJ Harvey composed the score.

This weekend, L.A. Theatre Works presents the NTLive screening of ALL ABOUT EVE at UCLA.


Sunday, June 23, at 3 pm.

James Bridges Theater

Melnitz Hall, UCLA

235 Charles E. Young Drive, Los Angeles.

From top: Gillian Anderson in All About Eve, Noël Coward Theatre, London, 2019; Sheila Reid (left), Anderson, and Monica Dolan; Lily James; Julian Overden and Anderson; Rhashan Stone and Anderson; Anderson and Dolan; Overden and James; Anderson. Photographs by Perou, courtesy and © the photographer, the performers, and the National Theatre.


“We think we are super ‘woke,’ yet in reality we rely on a whole cast of modern slaves.

“[JULIE] becomes really intersectional and really political. I wanted to show the dark heart of liberalism, especially in this building [the National Theatre in London]—which is populated by the liberal elite—and to go for the jugular. I’m part of it: Julie is not a million miles off me as a character.” — Polly Stenham*

Stenham’s dynamic modern take on Miss Julie follows the bare bones of August Strindberg’s plot: the title character—played by Vanessa Kirby—throws a raucous party to celebrate her new single status. She pays a visit to the kitchen—attended by her Brazilian maid (Thalissa Teixeira)—and draws the attention of her father’s driver (Eric Kofi Abrefa). Complications ensue.



Sunday, September 30 and October 7, at 3 pm.

James Bridges Theater, UCLA, 235 Charles E. Young Drive, Los Angeles.

On rewiting Strindberg.

Vanessa Kirby and Eric Kofi Abrefa in Julie.


“I am glad that in CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, we are getting off the chest some of the terrible things that we have to say about human fate. I want to keep the core of the play very hard… as hard and fierce as Big Daddy… A terrible black anger and ferosity, a rock-bottom honesty. Only against this background can his moments of tenderness, of longing, move us deeply.

“This is a play about good bastards and good bitches. I mean it exposes the startling co-existence of good and evil, the shocking duality of the single heart.” — Tennessee Williams, in a 1954 letter to Elia Kazan*

Jack O’Connell and Sienna Miller star as Brick and Maggie (Colm Meaney is Big Daddy) in the best revival in years of Williams’ 1955 classic. Recently on the boards at the Apollo in London, this raw-edged Young Vic production was directed by Benedict Andrews.

The first of two L.A. Theatre Works presentations of the National Theatre Live broadcast will screen this weekend at UCLA.


CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF—NTLive screening

Sunday, February 25, at 3 pm.

Saturday, March 10, at 3 pm.

James Bridges Theater, UCLA

235 Charles E. Young Drive, Los Angeles.

Sienna Miller and Jack O’Connell in the 2017 Young Vic production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.


FOLLIES—a psychological, philosophical memory play with showstoppers (“Broadway Baby,” “Who’s That Woman,” “Losing My Mind,” and the trouper’s biographical tour de force “I’m Still Here”)—is Sondheim at zenith, brilliantly staged in its current London revival by director Dominic Cooke, and available to Los Angeles audiences via a series of National Theatre Live screenings presented at UCLA by L.A. Theatre Works.

Set in a half-destroyed Broadway theater, the original producer and co-director Hal Prince was inspired by a photograph of Gloria Swanson—dressed to the nines—standing amid the wreckage of New York’s Roxy.

The show takes place during an onstage, thirty-year reunion party of former chorus girls, where they are joined by the ghosts of their younger selves—a musical confluence of the past and the present, and a brilliant demonstration of how illusion unchecked feeds regret.

“[FOLLIES] does not condemn the past… it condemns our tendency to hide behind a false depiction of the past rather than let ourselves be confronted by the reality of the future.” — Bert Fink*

Imelda Staunton and Janie Dee—wonderful interpreters of Sondheim’s material—stand out as once-best friends Sally and Phyllis.



Sunday, December 17, at 3 pm.

Saturday, January 13, at 3 pm.

Sunday, January 21, at 3 pm.

JAMES BRIDGES THEATER, UCLA, 235 Charles E. Young Drive, Los Angeles.




FOLLIES, through January 3.

OLIVIER THEATRE, National Theatre, Upper Ground, South Bank, London.


*Bert Fink—program notes for the 1985 New York Philharmonic FOLLIES concert at Avery Fisher (now Geffen) Hall—in Ted Chapin, Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical Follies (New York: Knopf, 2003)

From top: original 1971 Broadway poster by Donald E. Byrd, reflects the Art Deco revival of the time; scenes from the 2017 National Theatre production of Follies, by Stephen Sondheim, including Imelda Staunton as Sally, sitting on a stoop.

Image result for follies poster david byrd


04004 Imelda Staunton as Sally Durant Plummer in FOLLIES at the National Theatre (c) Johan Persson