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Janie Dee to star in Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Janie Dee

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

TWO time Olivier Award-winner Janie Dee is to star in the London premiere of Christopher Durang’s Tony Award-winning Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Directed by Walter Bobbie, it will run at Charing Cross Theatre for an 8-week season – from Saturday, March 21 to Saturday, May 16, 2020.

Vanya and his sister Sonia live a quiet life in the Pennsylvania farmhouse where they grew up. But their sister Masha escaped many years ago and became a famous movie star. Masha returns unannounced with her twenty-something toy boy, Spike. And so begins a rollicking weekend of rivalry, regret and all-too true premonitions.

Christopher Durang’s irresistible comedy is one of the most lauded Broadway plays of recent years. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike blends Chekhov’s famous ennui with the modern-day concerns of celebrity, social networking, planetary upheaval and the troubling onset of middle age, into a beloved comedy.

Janie Dee (pictured) has won the three most prestigious awards in British Theatre; the Olivier Award, the Evening Standard Award and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Actress in a Play, as well as the Obie and Theatre World Best Newcomer Award in New York, for her hilarious and heartbreaking performance as Jacie Triplethree in Alan Ayckbourn’s Comic Potential.

She also received the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her performance as Carrie Pipperidge in Nicholas Hytner’s acclaimed production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel at the National Theatre and the TMA UK Theatre Award 2013 for Best Performance in a Musical for her performance as Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly! at Curve, Leicester.

Dee has just completed a critically acclaimed run playing the title role in Linda by Penelope Skinner at Manhattan Theatre Club, NYC, for which she was nominated for an Outer Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play, and has just starred as Phyllis Rogers Stone in Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s Follies at the National Theatre opposite Imelda Staunton as Sally Durant Plummer and Philip Quast as Benjamin Stone.

Dee has been nominated for the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical Performance and the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Follies. She is currently playing Mme Dubonnet in The Boyfriend at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

Christopher Durang’s plays include A History of the American Film (Tony nomination, Best Book of a Musical, 1978), The Actor’s Nightmare, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You (Obie Award; off-Broadway run 1981-83), Beyond Therapy (on Broadway in 1982, with Dianne Wiest and John Lithgow), Baby with the Bathwater (Playwrights Horizons, 1983), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Public Theatre, 1985; Obie Award, Dramatists Guild Hull Warriner Award), Laughing Wild (Playwrights Horizons, 1987), Durang/Durang (an evening of six plays at Manhattan Theatre Club, 1994, including the Tennessee Williams’ parody For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls), Sex and Longing (Lincoln Center Theatre production at the Cort Theatre, 1996, starring Sigourney Weaver), and Betty’s Summer Vacation (Playwrights Horizons, 1999; Obie Award).

His most recent works are Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, which premiered at City Theatre in Pittsburgh in 2002.

Walter Bobbie directed the 1996 Broadway revival of Chicago with Ann Reinking and Bebe Neuwirth. His 1996 revival of Chicago was inspired by his own staged concert production at City Center Encores!. The concert was a hit, and the musical moved directly to Broadway with its original Encores! cast. He won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for Chicago.

Produced by Steven M. Levy and Vaughan Williams for Charing Cross Theatre Productions Limited and Joey Parnes, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will have set design by David Korins, costume design by Emily Rebholz and sound design and original music by Mark Bennett. Casting is by Ginny Schiller.

Further casting will be announced in due course.

To book tickets, call the box office on 08444 930650 or visit charingcrosstheatre.co.uk/.