Trained for the stage at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Australian-born Michael Blakemore acted without distinction through the 1950s, appearing with various British repertory companies, befo...
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Privates on Parade||Director||n/a||2|
|The Last Bastion||Actor||n/a||1|
|A Personal History of the Australian Surf||Actor||Himself||1|
|Broadway '97: Launching the Tonys (1995-1996)||Actor||Interviewee||1995||1|
|Country Life||Actor||Alexander Voysey||1|
|Having A Wild Weekend||Actor||Officer||1|
|The Old Reliable (1987-1988)||Director||n/a||1987||2|
|Privates on Parade||Director||n/a||2|
|A Personal History of the Australian Surf||Director||n/a||2|
|Long Day's Journey Into Night (1971-1972)||Writer (adaptation)||adaptation||1971||4000005|
|A Personal History of the Australian Surf||Screenplay||n/a||4000005|
|Served as Artistic Director of Citizens' Theatre in Glasgow, Scotland|
|Helmed "The Old Reliable", based on the story by P G Wodehouse, for "Great Performances" (PBS)|
|Helmed the London production "Life After George", starring Stephen Dillane|
|Acted with repertory groups, including Birmingham Repertory Theatre amd Shakespeare Memorial Theatre|
|Co-adapted (with Peter Wood) "Long Day's Journey Into Night" for ABC TV version starring Olivier|
|Directed successful West End production of Michael Frayn's "Make and Break"|
|Picked up another Tony nod as director of Broadway version of "Lettuce and Loveage"|
|Appeared as an officer in John Boorman's feature directing debut, "Having a Wild Weekend", scripted by Peter Nichols|
|Earned first Tony nomination as Director of a Play for Nichols' "A Day in the Life of Joe Egg", starring Albert Finney|
|Feature debut as director, "Privates on Parade", starring John Cleese and Denis Quilley|
|Directed David Hare's first play in London's West End, "Knuckle"|
|Helmed Broadway revival of "Kiss Me, Kate"; received Tony nomination as Director of a Musical|
|Reteamed with Coleman for "The Life", picking up his fifth Tony nomination for directing|
|Directed, scripted and appeared as himself in 16mm documentary "A Personal History of the Australian Surf"|
|Was Associate Director under Laurence Olivier at The National Theatre; directed Olivier in revival of "Long Day's Journey Into Night" (1971); also directed productions of "Macbeth" (1972) and "The Cherry Orchard" (1973), among others|
|Directed the Larry Gelbart-Cy Coleman-David Zippel musical "City of Angels", earning a Tony nomination for Director of a Musical|
|Scripted, helmed and acted in the feature "Country Life", an Australian spin on Anton Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya"; starring Sam Neill|
|Directed London (first at the National and later in the West End) and Broadway productions of Frayn's "Copenhagen"; garnered Tony nomination for Director of a Play; sixth Frayn play directed|
|Helmed West End revival of Noel Coward's "Design for Living", starring Vanessa Redgrave|
|Helmed Royal Shakespeare Company production of Nichols' "Privates on Parade"; also directed West End production of "Candida", starring Deborah Kerr|
|Reunited with Frayn on the West End production of Frayn's "Benefactors"; play moved to Broadway in 1985|
|Directed Off-Broadway production of "Death Defying Acts", three one-act plays by Woody Allen, David Mamet and Elaine May|
|Received Tony nomination as Director of a Play for Michael Frayn's backstage farce "Noises Off"|
|First staged Peter Shaffer's "Lettuce and Lovage", starring Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in the West End|
|Stage debut as the doctor in "The Barrets of Wimpole Street" at Theatre Royale, Huddersfield, England|
Blakemore helmed a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Nichols' "Privates on Parade" (1977) and later made his feature directing debut with the 1982 adaptation starring John Cleese. His long association with playwright Michael Frayn began on the National's "The Cherry Orchard" (1973), for which Frayn served as translator, and continued with the first of many Frayn plays, "Make and Break" in 1980. Taking Broadway by storm with Frayn's farcical "Noises Off" (1984), he earned a Drama Desk Award and Tony nomination for directing, and when he assumed the helm of "Copenhagen" in 1999, it was the eighth Frayn play he had directed. He returned to the ranks of Tony-nominated directors with the Larry Gelbart-Cy Coleman-David Zippel film noir musical "City of Angels" (1989), though the show itself fell short of becoming a standard of the American musical theater repertoire. He garnered another Tony nod for "Lettuce and Loveage" (1990), which he had originally directed in London's West End in 1987.
Blakemore wrote and helmed the feature "Country Life" (1994), a classy Australian spin on Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya", and also had great fun playing the long-absent, pompous bore Alexander, who has left the London literary scene in disgrace to return Down Under. "Country Life" represented a major advance as a film director over his previous entry, thanks in large part to the down-to-earth humor of his script. Reteaming with Cy Coleman on "The Life" (1997) brought him another Tony nomination, but its chronicle of gold-hearted hookers and their mean old pimps strained audience credulity. He became the first director to earn two Tony awards in the same year for his work on a pair of vastly different projects. First came a nimble revival of "Kiss Me, Kate" (1999), faithful to the original. Making no apologies for loose ends, thin characters and pat ending, he allowed John Guare to tinker only slightly with the book. Then Frayn's dramatically taut "Copenhagen" (2000) arrived from London full of intelligence, demanding audiences to listen carefully. The richly metaphorical play imagined an actual meeting between physicist Niels Bohr and his beloved, Nazi-sympathizing protege Werner Heisenberg in the titular city and featured vibrant performances from Blair Brown, Philip Bosco and Michael Cumpsty.
|Una Mary Blakemore||Mother|
|Beatrice Blakemore||Daughter||mother, Tanya McCallin|
|Clementine Blakemore||Daughter||mother, Tanya McCallin|
|Conrad Blakemore||Son||mother, Shirley Bush|
|Shirley Bush||Wife||married in 1960; divorced; mother of Conrad|
|Tanya McCallin||Wife||married in 1986; mother of Beatrice and Clementine|
|Royal Academy of Dramatic Art|
|Kings School, Sydney University|
|Blakemore has directed productions of the opera "Tosca" for the Welsh National Opera and for the Houston Grand Opera.|
|"The director's first job is to get inside the writer's head, not to impose an interpretation on the play. He will impose an interpretation anyway, because of the person he is, but his first job is to try to realize what's on the page. A very great director with whom I worked when I was an actor was Tyrone Guthrie, who was rather autocratic. He had two definitions of a director: One was that a director is an ideal audience of one. The other was that a director is the audiences's representative." --Michael Blakemore to InTheater, December 6, 1999|
|About changing the book for the revival of "Kiss Me, Kate": "At the beginning, we were talking about fairly radical revisions on the book, and I was wary about that. I felt that books do get a little old-fashioned, but there's something in the book, if it's written at the same time as the music, that holds together; it's of a piece. I think you fiddle with it at your peril. There was one area where I thought maybe we could fiddle with it a bit in the second act, which I won't divulge. It's a surprise. It's still essentially the book that [Sam and Bella Spewack] wrote, with one character changed slightly--Harrison Howell, the elderly senator who is Lilli's proposed fiance." --Blakemore quoted in InTheater, December 6, 1999|
|"I should say at once that my sole scientific qualification for doing this play is that I am a failed medical student. I knew nothing about quantum mechanics or any of the subject matter of 'Copenhagen', but I found it absolutely thrilling to read. Michael Frayn's tendency is to do exactly what Neils Bohr was famous for, which is to take the physics and look for moral and philosophical implications that the science suggests.
"But there is a fascinating aspect of the show that I don't think we realized when we set out to do it: one of the reasons it works with an audience is that the actual act of going to the theater and seeing a play supports a lot of the propositions in 'Copenhagen'.
|"Putting on a play is a sort of scientific experiment. You go into a rehearsal room, which is sort of an atom, and then a lot of these very busy particles, the actors, do their work and circle around the nucleus of a good text. And then, when you think you're ready to be seen, you sell tickets to a lot of photons, that is, an audience, who will shine the light of attention on what you've been up to.
"Then something very strange happens: the thing that you rehearsed in the rehearsal room and that you have seen a hundred times is put on stage and a thousand pair of eyes hit it and alter it. The energy an audience brings to it, the energy of their laughter and their rapt attention, changes what is there. This is something that 'Copenhagen', in fact, deals with." --from Blakemore's comments at the symposium, "Creating Copenhagen", at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, excerpted in The New York Times, April 10, 2000
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