Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Big Names in Theater for New Troupe ; Former Donmar Head Will Direct Dench, Law and Others in 1st Season

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Big Names in Theater for New Troupe ; Former Donmar Head Will Direct Dench, Law and Others in 1st Season

Article excerpt

Michael Grandage, former director of the Donmar Warehouse, inaugurates a new company and will direct Judi Dench, Jude Law and others in the first season.

Judi Dench, Jude Law and Daniel Radcliffe will play major characters in the inaugural season of London theater from a new producing company formed by the award-wining director Michael Grandage ("Red") and his business partner, James Bierman, who together ran the Donmar Warehouse from 2006 to 2011, according to an announcement from the two men.

The season will include a new play, "Peter and Alice" by John Logan, the Tony-winning author of "Red," with Ms. Dench and the actor Ben Whishaw playing the two real-life figures who inspired "Alice in Wonderland" and "Peter Pan."

The new venture, the Michael Grandage Company, is notable for not only the talent and ambitions -- the Donmar exported five shows to Broadway under the two men -- but also its plan to keep ticket prices low. The company's announcement said more than 200 tickets for each performance would be sold for Pounds 10, or about $16, during the first season, which will include five plays between December 2012 and February 2014.

The emphasis on low ticket prices is unusual for a for-profit commercial production company and stands in sharp contrast to the trend on Broadway and in commercial theaters of the West End. Several government-subsidized London theaters, including the National Theatre, have lined up corporate sponsors and other private support to reduce ticket prices. For their part Mr. Grandage (who recently stepped down as Donmar artistic director) and Mr. Bierman are not starting a new theater, but producing work in rented space - - the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End of London -- and choosing to reduce prices for a sizable share of seats.

On Broadway, meanwhile, several musicals and plays are selling more of the best seats at premium rates of $200 or more, and West End ticket prices for high-profile shows hover around Pounds 80. …

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