DAILY MAIL ONLINE 13th March 2009
Thandie Newton is being wooed, along with Adrian Lester, to appear opposite
Broadway star James Earl Jones in a production of Tennessee Williams's steamy
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof in London this autumn.
Producer Stephen C. Byrd, the New York lawyer, produced a version on Broadway
last year with Jones, a giant of the American stage.
The production also starred Anika Noni Rose, who stole the best notices from
critics; and Terrence Howard, who played Brick, the play's anti-hero (Howard
tried something different every night, which didn't help matters).
Byrd told me he was hoping to begin rehearsals in October, and open at the
Theatre Royal, Haymarket, in November.
So far, no deals have been done - nor are they close to being done, for a
while, at least.
Ms Newton's representatives said it was 'early days' and that nothing had
been decided about her playing Maggie (the Cat of the title), a role made
famous on the big screen by Elizabeth Taylor.
Likewise with Mr Lester, who was far away from confirming he would be in
the play as the alcoholic and 'confused' Brick. Debbie Allen hopes to direct
in London, as she did on Broadway, although different sets would be used and,
it is hoped, the running time would be shorter.
But Mr Byrd was most confident of what he called 'the event' happening.
So much so that he was already looking round apartments he hoped to rent for
Byrd gained permission to cast the Williams play with non traditional actors
- ie, black.
'It's a dysfunctional family - it's universal! They don't have to be white,'
Byrd argued.Equally, he wants audiences of all shades to see it.
But a few deals have to be signed first - particularly with the Haymarket,
which may decide to extend Waiting For Godot, which has a £1 million plus
advance and is packing them in on tour before it comes into town.
Byrd said last night that he will go to another theatre if the Haymarket is unavailable.
And he has other actresses in mind if Ms Newton is too busy.