McQUEEN, which received its world premiere in May at St. James Theatre, where it broke box office records, will transfer to London’s West End, opening at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on Thursday 27 August 2015, following previews from 13 August, for a strictly limited season until 7 November.
Written by James Phillips and directed by John Caird, the production stars award-winning actor Stephen Wight in the title role. Janet McQueen, one of Lee Alexander McQueen’s sisters, said of the play and the production at St James Theatre, “It was as though the play and Stephen’s performance brought Lee back to me again. I felt as though he was real again for me.” Gary McQueen, Lee’s nephew, added, “It does really hit something in your heart.”
Joining Stephen in the West End run will be Carly Bawden in the role of Dahlia. The role was originated by Dianna Agron, who is not participating in the transfer due to filming commitments. Reprising their roles as Isabella Blow and Arabella will be Tracy-Ann Oberman and Laura Rees respectively. Michael Bertenshaw will be joining the cast as Mr Hitchcock. Further casting for the West End transfer to be announced.
For the transfer to the West End, scenes have been rewritten and an interval has been added. James Phillips said:
“I’m so delighted to have McQUEEN in the West End, and to take this opportunity to refine some things from the original production. For me, it’s also thrilling that we’re going into the Theatre Royal Haymarket, as it was in this theatre that I had my first-ever professional job, a few months after leaving college. I was a peasant – a silent role! – in Miss Julie starring Christopher Eccleston, Aisling O’Sullivan and Maxine Peake that Thelma Holt produced. It really is one of the most beautiful theatres I’ve ever been in.”
McQUEEN is a journey into the visionary imagination and dream world of Alexander McQueen, fashion’s greatest contemporary artist. Set on a single London night, it is more than a bio-play. It is stepping into the fairy story landscape of McQueen’s mind, the landscape seen in his immortal shows, where with a dress an urchin can become an Amazon, where beauty might just help us survive the night. A girl has watched McQueen’s Mayfair house for eleven consecutive days. Tonight she climbs down from her watching tree and breaks into his house, to steal a dress, to become someone special. He catches her, but, instead of calling the police, they embark together on a journey through London and into his heart.
Lee Alexander McQueen died on 11 February 2010 aged 40. Born in Lewisham and raised in Stratford, East London, at 16 he served an apprenticeship with Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard. Later, he studied at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design and his graduation collection was bought in its entirety by influential fashion stylist Isabella Blow. He was appointed head designer at Givenchy in 1996, where he remained until 2001. He founded his own Alexander McQueen label, and the Gucci Group acquired 51% of his company in 2000, with McQueen serving as Creative Director. McQueen achieved the title British Designer of the Year four times between 1996 and 2003, and was also awarded the CBE and named International Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers in 2003. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted a posthumous exhibition of McQueen’s work in 2011 titled Savage Beauty. The exhibition is currently being shown at the V&A until 2 August.
Stephen Wight was named Outstanding Newcomer at the Evening Standard Awards for his performances in Michael Grandage’s production of Don Juan in Soho and Samuel West’s production of Dealer’s Choice. Other theatre includes Nicholas Hytner’s production of The Habit of Art at the National and Sean Foley’s production of The Ladykillers in the West End. On television, he has played Simon in Bluestone 42 (BBC 3), Sam in The Paradise (BBC 1), Mitch in Threesome (Comedy Central), Fletcher in Sherlock and Charles in the BBC mini-series Fingersmith. His films include Wilderness, Highlander: The Source, Weekender with Jack O’Connell, Henry Lloyd-Hughes and Zawe Ashton and Ashes with Jim Sturgess and Ray Winstone.
Carly Bawden’s theatre credits include Assassins (Menier Chocolate Factory), Dead Dog in a Suitcase, Tristan & Yseult and The Beggar’s Opera for Kneehigh, My Fair Lady with Dominic West (Sheffield Crucible), Pippin (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Leicester Curve and Gielgud Theatre), and the tours of Whistle Down the Wind and Evita, for which she was nominated for TMA Award for Best Supporting Actress 2009.
Tracy-Ann Oberman played Chrissie in EastEnders, Yvonne Hartman in Doctor Who, Lizzie Clapham in Monroe, Aunty Val in Friday Night Dinner, Mrs Purchase in Toast of London and Diana in the film Filth starring James McAvoy and Jamie Bell. In theatre, she has acted with the Royal Shakespeare Company and at the National, including playing opposite Kenneth Branagh in Edmond.
Laura Rees’s theatre credits include Ophelia in Ninagawa’s Hamlet at the Barbican, Christopher Luscombe’s Comedy of Errors, Lucy Bailey’s Titus Andronicus and Kathryn Hunter’s Pericles at Shakespeare’s Globe, and Rupert Goold’s Macbeth and Philip Franks’s Twelfth Night at Chichester.
Michael Bertenshaw’s recent theatre credits include The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, All’s Well That Ends Well and Anne Boleyn, all for Shakespeare’s Globe. His many television credits include playing Ralph Miliband in the documentary drama Miliband of Brothers, two three-part thrillers Murderland and Oktober, and regular appearances in the drama series Seaforth and in the children’s drama series C.A.B..
James Phillips’s first staged play, The Little Fir Tree, was commissioned by and performed, under his direction, at the Sheffield Crucible in 2004. He wrote and directed The Rubinstein Kiss at Hampstead Theatre in 2005. His most recent plays were Hidden in the Sand, which opened at the Trafalgar Studios in 2013, and City Stories, which was staged at the St. James Theatre Studio during the run of McQueen.
John Caird is an Honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, where his work includes over 20 productions of classic and new plays including co-productions with Trevor Nunn of Nicholas Nickleby, Peter Pan and Les Misérables. His National Theatre productions include Hamlet and Humble Boy, both with Simon Russell Beale, Stanley with Antony Sher, and his own new version of Bernstein’s Candide for which he won a Laurence Olivier Award.
McQUEEN has production design by David Farley, choreography by Christopher Marney, video design by Tim Bird, lighting design by David Howe, sound design by John Leonard, wigs designed by Linda McKnight and casting by Kate Plantin CDG & Jayne Collins CDG.
McQUEEN is produced at the Theatre Royal Haymarket by Robert Mackintosh, AMIR Ltd, Hilary A. Williams, Deborah Negri, with Julian Stoneman as executive producer, for and on behalf of McQ Productions Ltd.