The National Theatre has announced that a production of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, directed by Dominic Cooke, will be presented as part of the Olivier in-the-round season in February 2021 in a co-production with Fictionhouse.
Kramer’s largely autobiographical play about the AIDS crisis in 1980 New York has not been performed professionally in London since its European premiere in 1986. Ben Daniels will perform the role of Ned Weeks, the co-founder of an AIDS advocacy group fighting to change the world around him, with Danny Lee Wynter as Tommy Boatwright, Daniel Monks as Mickey Marcus and Stanley Townsend as Ben Weeks. Vicki Mortimer is set designer and Paule Constable is lighting designer. Tickets for The Normal Heart will go on sale from the end of November.
Director Dominic Cooke said:
“As a student I was lucky enough to see the landmark Royal Court production of The Normal Heart starring Martin Sheen. It had a profound effect on me at the time and I’ve wanted to direct the play ever since. It is the rarest of things; a history play written by one of its key participants. It deals with the nature of political activism, the internal battle many LGBT people fight to feel worthy of love and, topically, the refusal of those in power to face the reality of an unfolding health crisis.
“Larry Kramer was a firebrand and The Normal Heart is written with all of his characteristic ferocity, political insight and wit. I’ve been talking with Ben Daniels for over five years about playing Ned Weeks. He is one of our greatest actors and I cannot wait to begin working with him, alongside the rest of the company and the brilliant team at the NT who Kate Horton and I, as Fictionhouse, will be co-producing with.”
Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd’s version of Dick Whittington, first staged at Lyric Hammersmith in 2018 and freshly updated for 2020, will open in the socially distanced Olivier Theatre on the 11 December 2020.
Directed by Ned Bennett, this inventive production explores what it is like to come from a small town and arrive in a big city today, exploring the ideas of community and togetherness. Initial casting includes Dickie Beau, Amy Booth-Steel, Lawrence Hodgson-Mullings, Georgina Onuorah and Cleve September.
Set and costume designs by Georgia Lowe, choreography by Dannielle Rhimes Lecointe, compositions, arrangements and music production by DJ Walde, music supervision by Marc Tritschler and music direction and additional composition and arrangements by Benjamin Kwasi Burrell. Lighting designed by Jessica Hung Han Yun and sound design by Paul Arditti. Denzel Westley-Sanderson is associate director, Debbie Duru is associate set designer and Fiona Parker is associate costume designer.
Tickets go on sale to members from 26 October, with public booking on 4 November. Over 200 seats will be available for each performance at £20, with half price tickets for under 18s on all tickets over £20. Tickets will be available to purchase as single tickets, as pairs or in threes and fours for audience to attend with their household or support bubble. There will also be a number of Access performances including an Audio-Described performance, a BSL performance and a Relaxed performance.