Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Evita has been stunningly reimagined by director Michael Grandage in the show's first Broadway revival since it originally closed on Broadway in 1983.
Evita tells the glorified tale of the First Lady of Argentina, Eva Perón, and her rise from poverty to fame and power as the symbolic leader of the descamisados or “shirtless ones,” Argentina’s working class. Despite never doing anything to help the people who worshipped her, she was considered a saint until she passed away at the age of 33 from cancer.
MICHAEL GRANDAGE TO STEP DOWN AS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE DONMAR WAREHOUSE IN 2011
Today, 1 October 2010, Michael Grandage announced he will step down as Artistic Director, leaving late 2011 after nine years of leading the company.
Michael Grandage said today, "With the Donmar's reputation in a particularly exciting place both at home and abroad, I feel now is the right moment to start a hand-over period to a new Artistic Director. It will enable someone to build on the success we have achieved over the last nine years and to look to the future with real confidence. I have spent nearly fifteen years running organisations in the subsidised sector in Sheffield and London and the experience has been completely thrilling from start to finish. I am now keen to have a career that moves away from being in charge of a building in order to develop my work as a director in other ways. There are an enormous amount of people to thank for making the last few years the most exciting of my professional life and I look forward to engaging with each and every one of them in the months ahead."
The Chair of the Board of Directors, Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury said, "Under Michael's leadership during the past decade, the Donmar has gone from strength to strength - superb artistic excellence, exciting programming, triumphs on Broadway, global reach, the Wyndham's and Trafalgar Studios seasons, and a transformed educational offering. For all of us, it has been a privilege to work with Michael through such a momentous period. These are big shoes to fill, but we're excited by the challenge of finding the right person to take us forward to further success."
Grandage took over as Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse in November 2002 - during his nine years leading the organisation he has created an international theatre with a commitment to reaching as many people as possible through touring, education and affordable ticket prices, as well as continuing to produce work of the highest quality at their home base in Covent Garden.
His inaugural production in 2002 was THE VORTEX with Chiwetel Ejiofor, a relationship he was to renew five years later with his multi-award-winning production of OTHELLO.
He has put the European repertoire at the heart of his programming, engaging with leading writers to offer new adaptations of foreign classics including David Greig (CALIGULA and CREDITORS), Tom Stoppard (Pirandello's HENRY IV and IVANOV) and David Eldridge (THE WILD DUCK and JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN). The Donmar's award-winning production of Schiller's MARY STUART, in a new version by Peter Oswald, transferred to the West End and Broadway.
He has also continued to present musicals re-imagined in the intimate Donmar surroundings, including GRAND HOTEL, PARADE, and currently PASSION; as well as work from the contemporary American repertoire such as A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, and twentieth century British plays including THE CHALK GARDEN, OLD TIMES, BETRAYAL and a festival of work devoted to TS ELIOT. New writing has provided the company with two of its biggest successes in recent years - Peter Morgan's FROST/NIXON which enjoyed a West End transfer and a run on Broadway, and John Logan's RED which saw the company return to Broadway and win six Tonys at this year's awards.
During his tenure, Grandage put accessibility at the forefront of the company's ethos - he introduced a national touring programme, which this year extends to eight weeks with his production of KING LEAR; and an extensive education programme which has grown annually over the last nine years. In 2009 he led the company into the West End for a year long season of work at the Wyndham's Theatre - Donmar West End - at Donmar prices, a top price of £32.50 and with over 130 tickets for each performance at just £10. The season - IVANOV with Kenneth Branagh, TWELFTH NIGHT with Derek Jacobi, MADAME DE SADE with Judi Dench and HAMLET with Jude Law - played to 98% capacity.
Not content with introducing a national touring programme, Grandage has overseen the expansion of the company internationally - in 2009 the Donmar's work played across 4 continents. Recent US work includes RED, CREDITORS, HAMLET, FROST/NIXON and MARY STUART; in Australia, the Donmar's award-winning GUYS AND DOLLS; in Argentina, PIAF and in Europe, PIAF (Spain) and HAMLET (Denmark).
Grandage is a keen supporter of new talent, both on stage and behind the scenes. The company's most recent venture, DONMAR TRAFALGAR, opens next week with LOWER NINTH - the first production in a three year initiative to promote the work of recent graduates of the Donmar's Resident Assistant Director scheme.
Under Grandage, the company has won over 80 major awards including Olivier's, Tonys, Critics' Circle and Evening Standard Awards. For Michael personally this includes, Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Director of a Play for RED, Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Awards for Best Director for IVANOV, Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Awards for Best Director for THE CHALK GARDEN, Evening Standard Award for Best Director for OTHELLO, Critics' Circle Award for Best Director for THE WILD DUCK, Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production for GUYS AND DOLLS, Evening Standard Award for Best Director and Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production for GRAND HOTEL, and Olivier Award for Best Director for CALIGULA.
From 2000 to 2005 he served as Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres where he produced over 40 plays with predominantly young directors and designers. His own work there included RICHARD III with Kenneth Branagh, EDWARD II with Joseph Fiennes, THE TEMPEST with Derek Jacobi and a critically acclaimed production of DON CARLOS which transferred to the West End.
Grandage's next production for the Donmar is KING LEAR followed by a new production of Schiller's LUISA MILLER in 2011. Also next year, he makes his debut at the Met with a new production of DON GIOVANNI. In 2012 he is set to direct a production of EVITA on Broadway as well as a return to Glyndeborne following his critically acclaimed production of BILLY BUDD there earlier this year.