A North Carolina teenager has been cast as theatre impresario Cameron Mackintosh's latest leading lady on the West End stage. Eva Noblezada, 17, will portray Kim in the upcoming London stage revival of Miss Saigon after she was discovered by a casting director in New York City.
Mackintosh tells Britain's Daily Mail, "She's performed in shows at her school, but she has never done a big professional musical before... Eva's going to be our new Lea."
The theatre boss gave Lea Salonga her big break 25 years ago when he cast her in the original production of Miss Saigon.
Noblezada isn't the first person in her family to play Kim onstage - her aunt, Annette Calud, appeared in the Broadway production.
The Miss Saigon revival begins in May (14) and will also feature Jon Briones, Alistair Brammer and Tamsin Carroll.
The theatre impresario's Phantom of the Opera sequel has received nods in the Best New Musical category, as well as musical acting nominations for the show's stars Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess and Summer Strallen, despite mixed reviews from critics.
Acting veteran Sir Derek Jacobi is up for the Best Actor prize for his acclaimed turn in King Lear, and will compete for the honour against David Suchet (All My Sons), Mark Ryland (La Bete), Roger Alam (Henry VI) and Rory Kinnear (Hamlet).
Emma Thompson's sister Sophie is up for Best Actress for Clybourne Park alongside Episodes star Tamsin Greig for The Little Dog Laughed, Tracie Bennett for End of the Rainbow and Nancy Carroll for After The Dance.
Clybourne Park, The Little Dog Laughed, Sucker Punch, Tribes and End of the Rainbow will compete for the Best New Play honour.
The awards, which celebrate the best of the year's West End shows, will take place at London's Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 13 March (11).
Roman Polanski lost a great deal of time while incarcerated by the Swiss earlier this year, but he's not wasting any now that he's a free man. Vulture reports that he has resumed work on the adaptation of Yasmina Reza's award winning stage production God Of Carnage.
The play, which was translated by the wonderful wordsmith Christopher Hampton, centers on two pairs of parents whose children are involved in a fight in a public park and later meet to discuss the matter in a civilized manner. As the evening rolls along, tensions build and the parents become increasingly childish, resulting in the evening devolving into chaos. The original West End production starred Ralph Fiennes, Tamsin Greig, Janet McTeer and Ken Stott, while the first Broadway version cast Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden as the feuding couples and took home three Tony's in 2009 (for Best Play, Best Direction and a Best Actress award for Harden).
Though the play is set in New York, Polanski will obviously film in Europe (where he can avoid more legal matters) and hopefully be able to attract the kind of household names that the stage version has. In a perfect world, the controversial filmmaker will be able to have Daniels/Davis/Gandolfini/Harden reprise their roles, giving the project a kick of star power and prestige that will rope in theater fans as well as movie buffs. There have been many other wonderful performers involved in the production, from Lucy Liu and Jimmy Smits to Dylan Baker and Annie Potts - any combination of likable actors could potentially make the film a hit. The real question is whether or not Polanski's public image will hurt the project...
Following in the footsteps of BBC's Merlin (as well as the 1998 television miniseries), producer Graham King and Starz will begin production this month on 10 episodes of their own dramatic retelling of the Arthurian legend, Camelot. The network has cast Joseph Fiennes (William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love) and Eva Green (Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale) in the period piece as the wizard Merlin and the sorceress Morgana, along with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Twilight star Jamie Campbell Bower as King Arthur and Tamsin Egerton as Lady Guinevere.
It is not yet known whether the tone of the show will be more faux-historical, a la Showtime's The Tudors, or graphic and sensationalized, like Starz's popular original series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. I would hazard that, with Fiennes and Green, Camelot will tend towards being more serious, but we probably won't get a better idea of how the new series is going to come together until later this year.
Casting talent like Fiennes and Green is a sure step in the right direction for Starz, which currently lags behind Showtime and HBO in terms of the quality of their original programming and the respectability of their brand. Starz Media managing director Carmi Zlotnik sees a strong cast as central to Camelot's chances: "All of the best TV shows were marked by great actors in the ideal parts, and that is certainly the case with the talented cast on 'Camelot."
Camelot will debut on Starz early next year.