Cinemapolis continues our tradition of live theater events on screen with the launch of the winter season of productions from National Theatre Live. NTL is the National Theatre’s groundbreaking project to broadcast the best of British theatre live from the London stage to cinemas across the UK and around the world, giving cinema-goers from Ithaca and beyond a chance to see world-class theatre without the pesky intercontinental airfare!
The NTL season gets under way as Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical Follies is staged for the first time at the National Theatre and broadcast live to cinemas. New York, 1971. There’s a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre. Tomorrow the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves. Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Imelda Staunton play the magnificent Follies in this dazzling new production. Featuring a cast of 37 and an orchestra of 21, it’s directed by Dominic Cooke (The Comedy of Errors). Follies screens at Cinemapolis on Thursday, December 14th at 6:30 and again on Saturday, December 16th at 1:30 pm.
In January, Rory Kinnear is Marx and Oliver Chris is Engels, in Young Marx, a new comedy written by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman. Broadcast live from The Bridge Theatre, London, the production is directed by Nicholas Hytner and reunites the creative team behind Broadway and West End hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors. 1850, and Europe’s most feared terrorist is hiding in Dean Street, Soho. Broke, restless and horny, the thirty-two-year-old revolutionary is a frothing combination of intellectual brilliance, invective, satiric wit, and child-like emotional illiteracy. Creditors, spies, rival revolutionary factions and prospective seducers of his beautiful wife all circle like vultures. His writing blocked, his marriage dying, his friend Engels in despair at his wasted genius, his only hope is a job on the railway. But there’s still no one in the capital who can show you a better night on the piss than Karl Heinrich Marx. Young Marx screens at Cinemapolis on Thursday, January 25 at 6:30 pm and again on Saturday, January 27th at 1:30 pm.
A modern classic comes in February. Tennessee Williams’ twentieth century masterpiece Cat on a Hot Tin Roof played a strictly limited season in London’s West End in 2017. Following his smash hit production of A Streetcar Named Desire, Benedict Andrews’ ‘thrilling revival’ (New York Times) stars Sienna Miller alongside, Jack O’Connell and Colm Meaney. On a steamy night in Mississippi, a Southern family gather at their cotton plantation to celebrate Big Daddy’s birthday. The scorching heat is almost as oppressive as the lies they tell. Brick and Maggie dance round the secrets and sexual tensions that threaten to destroy their marriage. With the future of the family at stake, which version of the truth is real – and which will win out? Cat on a Hot Tin Roof screens at Cinemapolis on Thursday, February 22nd at 6:30 pm and again on Saturday, February 24th at 1:30 pm.
In March, Academy Award nominee Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the title role of Shakespeare’s great tragedy. Now seen by over 750,000 people worldwide, the original 2015 NT Live broadcast of Hamlet returns to cinemas. As a country arms itself for war, a family tears itself apart. Forced to avenge his father’s death but paralysed by the task ahead, Hamlet rages against the impossibility of his predicament, threatening both his sanity and the security of the state. Directed by Lyndsey Turner (Posh, Chimerica) and produced by Sonia Friedman Productions. Hamlet screens at Cinemapolis on Thursday, March 8 at 6:30 pm and again on Saturday, March 10 at 1:30 pm.
We ring in Spring with another Shakespearean classic in April – Julius Caesar. Ben Whishaw and Michelle Fairley play Brutus and Cassius, David Calder plays Caesar and David Morrissey is Mark Antony. Broadcast live from The Bridge Theatre, London. Caesar returns in triumph to Rome and the people pour out of their homes to celebrate. Alarmed by the autocrat’s popularity, the educated élite conspire to bring him down. After his assassination, civil war erupts on the streets of the capital. Nicholas Hytner’s production will thrust the audience into the street party that greets Caesar’s return, the congress that witnesses his murder, the rally that assembles for his funeral and the chaos that explodes in its wake. Julius Caesar screens at Cinemapolis on Thursday, April 19th at 6:30 pm and again on Saturday, April 21st at 1:30 pm.
As London’s stage season continues, more titles will be added throughout 2018. Tickets for each of these special, high-definition National Theatre Live broadcasts are available at the Cinemapolis box office and online at cinemapolis.org. General admission tickets are $22 each, with discounted $18 tickets available for students, seniors and Cinemapolis members.