Alfred Molina is seeing Red, again. The British actor will be returning to London on what he and director Michael Grandage call ‘unfinished business’ — to see John Logan’s award-winning play Red open in the West End.
Grandage said many folks never had a chance to catch it in London eight years ago when, starring Molina and Eddie Redmayne, it had a limited run at the Donmar.
The play tells the story of painter Mark Rothko and Ken, a young man who turns up one morning to help mix paints, stretch the canvases and help around the studio.
‘We’ve never done a West End run. It’s like a little part of the journey that’s always felt incomplete,’ said Molina who, as Rothko, took Red to Broadway and Los Angeles. ‘There’s something special about going back to a role you originated.’
Alfred Molina is seeing Red, again. The British actor will be returning to London on what he and director Michael Grandage call ‘unfinished business’ — to see John Logan’s award-winning play Red open in the West End
Grandage, who directed the Donmar show, will once again be at the helm (and the Michael Grandage Company producing) when it runs at Wyndham’s Theatre from May 4 until July 28.
Molina recalled how Grandage and his team infused the Donmar with the smell of turpentine and pigment. ‘As audiences walked in, they were in a different environment,’ he said.
He remembered his co-star Redmayne meeting a woman on the Tube who showed him her handbag . . . with a red paint mark on it. ‘It must have come off when we were sloshing all the paint about on stage. He apologised and offered to clean it and she said: “No — it’s my memory of a great night in the theatre!”’
The part of Ken helped establish Redmayne as a star, earning him a Tony on Broadway.
Grandage said many folks never had a chance to catch it in London eight years ago when, starring Molina and Eddie Redmayne, it had a limited run at the Donmar
Grandage approached him to tell him the play would, finally, be getting a West End season. ‘Eddie said: “Wouldn’t it be lovely to do?! But I’m getting closer to Rothko (in age) now.”’
Molina, 64, has carved out a thriving TV and film career in the U.S., but said he often dreams of the West End. He’s happy to be coming back to London, but admitted to feeling ‘a little scared’ at the prospect of treading the boards again.
‘I’ve always loved the theatre, but I’ve made my living working in television and film, and my forays into theatre are infrequent. I sometimes worry that the theatrical establishment is looking rather askance. Like: “What’s this old soldier trying to prove?”’
Molina was speaking from Los Angeles, where he was packing up the home he shared for 25 years with his wife, Jill Gascoine — the author and actress who made her name in such popular television dramas as The Onedin Line and The Gentle Touch.
Molina’s moving to another property, but his beloved wife is in a home. ‘She’s in an extremely advanced stage of Alzheimer’s. We’ve all kind of basically said our goodbyes,’ he added, softly.
‘The prognosis is always the same. She’s in a home here in LA and being very well looked after. She doesn’t recognise anyone or speak any more. She’s pretty much trapped in this very sad illness.’
For information about Red, visit delfontmackintosh.co.uk or michaelgrandagecompany.com.
Alfred Enoch will star with Alfred Molina in Red next year and even though they haven’t met yet, they’re keen to avoid any confusion with their Christian names
… and here’s another Alfred who can deliver an acting masterclass
Alfred Enoch will star with Alfred Molina in Red next year and even though they haven’t met yet, they’re keen to avoid any confusion with their Christian names.
Most of Enoch’s family and friends call him Alfie, while Molina’s known to his legion of mates and collaborators on both sides of the Atlantic as Fred.
Londoner Enoch, 28, who spent three years on the U.S. network TV mystery drama How To Get Away With Murder, opposite Viola Davis, said he was fascinated by the themes of generational concern and change when he read John Logan’s play.
‘There are a lot of interesting fault lines and points of conflict in the play,’ he noted, talking about Rothko and Enoch’s character Ken, who starts off as a complete novice in Rothko’s studio, but develops a style of his own and soon wants to usurp the master.
Enoch has extensive theatre experience. Last year, he played Edgar in the Talawa company’s King Lear at the Royal Exchange in Manchester. He was in Josie Rourke’s powerful production of Coriolanus at the Donmar; and Nicholas Hytner directed him in Timon Of Athens at the National five years ago. ‘But it’s my first time working in the West End,’ Enoch added.
Director Michael Grandage said he and playwright Logan want to re-investigate Red, not create a carbon copy of what ran at the Donmar. And Enoch’s casting makes it clear the piece will speak to a diverse audience.
‘I just want it to feel vital and alive, as a debate about art in the 21st century,’ Grandage told me, adding that a play about why art matters is particularly topical, when the subject is being removed from some schools’ curricula.
Even before his 45 episodes of How To Get Away With Murder, Enoch had made a name for himself, thanks to playing Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter films. Next up is the BBC’s epic sword and sandals TV drama Troy: Fall Of A City, in which he plays Aeneas.
But being in a hit play with Molina, directed by Grandage, at the jewel that is Wyndham’s Theatre could catapult him into a new sphere altogether.
Andrew Lloyd Webber and wife Madeleine were at the Apollo, Shaftesbury Avenue, for their second visit to Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
The good lord declared it a ‘great new British musical’. I’m a fan, too.
There are terrific performances across the board, including John McCrea as a schoolboy determined to go to the prom in a frock of his choice.
The original London cast of Dreamgirls — led by Amber Riley and Adam J. Bernard — gave their final performances last Saturday at the Savoy Theatre.
Ms Riley was on spectacular form as Effie White, the singer forced out of a Supremes-like Detroit trio. Dreamgirls continues.
Can’t wait to catch up with the new actors.