Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown - Tamsin Greig stars
Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle
OLIVIER Award winner Tamsin Greig is to make her musical theatre debut in the UK premiere of David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane’s new musical adaptation of Pedro Almodóvar’s Oscar-nominated film Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.
Directed by Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher, and following two full-scale development workshops with actors, musicians and the creative team, the production will run for a limited 20-week season at the Playhouse Theatre – from January 12 (previews from December 20, 2014) to May 9, 2015.
Capturing the sexy and colourful spirit of Pedro Almodóvar’s Madrid, Pepa (Tamsin Greig) and her friends juggle their everyday lives and extraordinary moments in a surprising, heart-breaking and rebellious musical comedy.
Originally based by Almodóvar on Jean Cocteau’s The Human Voice, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown was Almodóvar’s first international hit. It captured a liberated Spain, placing women at the centre of their own experience. Pepa, Candela and Lucia became iconic, showing women struggling for power over their own lives with enormous humour and style.
Pedro Almodóvar, who has been involved in the development workshops, said: “I love that my Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown resists the passing of time. Twenty-six years after having been created, they’re still alive. This time, with the very talented Bart Sher in command, they’re taking London, a city that’s always been to me the paradigm of freedom, pleasure and modernity. I wish them a long and funny stay!”
Tamsin Greig has received much critical acclaim for her work on stage. She won Olivier and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Actress in Much Ado About Nothing and was nominated again for her role in The Little Dog Laughed. Her other theatre credits include Jumpy (Royal Court and Duke of York’s Theatre), The God of Carnage (Gielgud Theatre), Gethsemane (National Theatre) and King John (RSC).
Greig is also known for her many comedic roles on television including Beverley Lincoln in the transatlantic sitcom Episodes with Stephen Mangan and Matt LeBlanc, Dr Caroline Todd in Green Wing for which she won an award for Best Comedy Performance at the 2005 Royal Television Society Awards, Jackie in the Channel 4 sitcom Friday Night Dinner, Alice Chenery in Love Soup and Fran Katzenjammer in Black Books.
Her other notable television characters include Miss Bates in the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, Beth in White Heat and most recently DCI Maggie Brand in The Guilty.
On film she starred with Richard E. Grant in Cuckoo, and Roger Allam and Gemma Arterton in Tamara Drewe (pictured) for which she received a BIFA nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She also made a short cameo appearance in the 2004 comedy Shaun of the Dead. Greig has just finished filming the feature Breaking The Bank opposite Kelsey Grammar, directed by Vadim Jean, and recently The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2.
Speaking about her forthcoming role in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Greig said:
“I am excited, thrilled and terrified to have been invited to collaborate with artists of the calibre of Pedro Almodóvar, Bart Sher, David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane to perform in a musical. If it’s true that you are only as good as the company you keep, then I am in very safe hands. And I feel very fortunate to have been encouraged – well, bullied – by my agent to have singing lessons, to learn new skills and to experience other creative mediums. I have also run out of excuses why I can’t do it!”
Bartlett Sher is Resident Director of the Lincoln Center Theater in New York, where he will direct a new production of The King and I in the spring of 2015. He has received national and international recognition for his work as a director, including the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for Best Direction of a Musical for South Pacific, which was subsequently presented at the Barbican in London. He has also received Tony nominations for The Light in the Piazza, Awake and Sing!, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Clifford Odets’ Golden Boy, which received a total of eight nominations.
About Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Sher said: “I keep returning to Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown because Pedro’s vision of the world and women, his humour and his style, seem more important now than at any time since the film premiered. It’s a joy to return to Pedro’s world.”
David Yazbek (music and lyrics) has most notably written the music and lyrics to the musical adaptations of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels which has recently opened at The Savoy Theatre and The Full Monty. Both scores have earned him a Tony Award nomination for Best Original Score and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lyrics. Yazbek was also a contributing lyricist for the musical Bombay Dreams and is part of the creative team developing a stage musical version of the film Tootsie.
Jeffrey Lane (book), who has collaborated previously with David Yazbek on Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, is perhaps best known for writing such television programs as Mad About You and Bette (which he also produced), Ryan’s Hope, Lou Grant, Cagney & Lacey, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd and the mini-series The Murder of Mary Phagan. He has been the recipient of many accolades including five Emmy Awards, three Writers Guild Awards, two Peabody Awards, a Golden Globe and the Christopher Award.
Yazbek and Lane said: “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to re-imagine and present this show that has meant so much to us and particularly excited to be working with an actress as intelligent, brilliantly funny and right for the part as Tamsin.”
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is produced in the West End by Howard Panter for The Ambassador Theatre Group.
Tickets: £24.50 – £59.50 (Premium Tickets available). To be the first to receive exclusive information including the on sale date of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, please go to www.womenonthevergemusical.com/ to register your details.
Times: Monday to Saturday at 7:30pm; Wednesday (from December 24) and Saturday (from December 27) at 2:30pm.
Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s critically acclaimed adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, 1984, continues at the Playhouse Theatre until August 23, 2014.