The Michael Grandage Company has dominated the West End ever since its inaugural season five years ago this month. Led by the ex-Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse, Michael Grandage, the company exploded onto the scene with five back to back plays at the Noel Coward Theatre, sporting such global stars as Daniel Radcliffe, Simon Russell Beale and Jude Law. More recently, the company has brought Nicole Kidman to London in Photograph 51 and has just closed a run of Labour of Love, with Martin Freeman and Tamsin Grieg.
Now, the acclaimed director is back in the driving seat with a double bill of productions running almost simultaneously – Red, at Wyndham’s Theatre for 11 weeks from 4 May 2018, and The Lieutenant of Inishmore, at the Noel Coward Theatre for ten weeks from 23 June 2018.
Red is a revival of a work Grandage previously premiered during his time at the Donmar Warehouse. Written by acclaimed screenwriter and playwright, John Logan, it focusses on the story of Mark Rothko, an American painter of the 20th century. Observed by his youthful assistant and pressured by the ever-looming presence of the next generation of artist, Rothko attempts to create his more daring work yet, something career-defining for an extraordinary setting. The resulting Seagram Murals were a series of much controversy between Rothko and his commissioners in the 1950s and 60s, finally arriving on display at the Tate Gallery on the very day that Rothko committed suicide at 66.
The theatre production is Logan’s first theatre play, playing on both sides of the Atlantic and winning six Tony Awards in 2010 – the most of any play in the history of the ceremony – includingBest New Play, Best Direction of a Play (for Grandage) and Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play, won by Eddie Redmayne.
This 2018 revival will star Alfred Molina, reprising the role of Mark Rothko that he originated in 2009, and Alfred Enoch, most famous for his screen roles in the Harry Potter franchise and How To Get Away With Murder. Grandage returns to direct and reprises his partnership with writer Logan – they last worked together on the Michael Grandage Company’s inaugural season production of Peter and Alice, a two-hander starring Ben Whishawand Dame Judi Dench.
Red comes to Wyndham’s Theatre in May 2018, following on from Long Day’s Journey Into Night, starring Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville – another dramatic work that deals in such topics as mental illness, addiction and death. It promises to be a highlight of the 2018 season, just as it was back in 2009 when it first exploded onto the West End scene.