Claire Bloom and Billy Zane will star in the British premiere of the international hit play, SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS, which opens at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on Wednesday 29 November, following previews from 23 November. After acclaimed and sell-out seasons around the world, from Los Angeles to Sydney to Berlin, Richard Alfieri’s play debuts in London, directed by American Arthur Allan Seidelman with dances staged by Craig Revel Horwood.
This witty and touching comedy is the uplifting story of an unlikely acquaintance between a sprightly retiree and her young dance teacher. After a heart-breaking move from his beloved New York City to the Gulf Coast of Florida, the acerbic ‘Michael’ (Billy Zane) is hired for six weeks by ‘Lily’ (Claire Bloom), a lonely but formidable minister’s wife with a flair for dancing. What begins as an antagonistic relationship becomes a remarkable friendship as two people with very different backgrounds reveal their secrets, hopes and fears while they do the Foxtrot, the Cha-Cha, the Tango and the Waltz.
Six Dances Lessons In Six Weeks was first performed in Los Angeles, where it starred the legendary Uta Hagen and played to full houses for its entire run, which was extended six times. Since then, the play has been produced on Broadway, and in Australia, Canada, Japan, Israel, Finland, Vienna, Budapest and Prague. Productions for 2007 include premieres in Holland, Switzerland and New Zealand, and new American and German national tours. The play has opened in over 50 cities in Germany alone, has broken box-office records around the world and is currently being adapted into a film in the US.
Award-winning classical actress Claire Bloom is greatly admired on both sides of the Atlantic for her work on stage and screen. She last appeared in the West End in Howard Davies’ production of Conversations after a Burial at The Almeida. Claire has performed in countless productions for the RSC, at The Old Vic, in the West End and on Broadway, including “A Doll’s House” and “A Streetcar Named Desire” (for which she won three awards). Other theatre credits include Electra at the Barrymore Theatre in New York, directed by David Leveaux and All’s Well That Ends Well and Hedda Gabler on Broadway. Amongst her extensive film credits are Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and Look Back in Anger, both opposite Richard Burton, The Brothers Karamazov with Yul Brynner, Richard III with Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud, Sammie and Rosie Get Laid directed by Stephen Frears, and Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanours and Mighty Aphrodite.
On the small screen, she garnered a Best Actress BAFTA Award for her performance in the TV adaptation of Shadowlands and a BAFTA nomination for her memorable role in the television series of Brideshead Revisted. Other television credits include The Camomile Lawn directed by Sir Peter Hall.
Billy Zane makes his West End theatre debut in the role of ‘Michael’. He is perhaps best known for his role as ‘Caledon Hockley’, the villainous fiancé of Kate Winslet’s Rose, in the blockbuster film Titanic, for which he was nominated a Screen Actors’ Guild Award. He made his screen debut in Back to the Future and came to prominence starring in the thriller Dead Calm, opposite Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill. Other notable film credits include the eponymous classic comic book hero in the action film The Phantom with Catherine Zeta-Jones and, most recently, a cameo in the Ben Stiller comedy Zoolander, as himself. Zane has appeared in several Broadway shows, including Chicago, in which he played lawyer ‘Billy Flynn’. He has extensive US television credits including David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Zane also directed and starred in the film Big Kiss and produced Ed Wood’s I Woke Up Early The Day I Died.
Playwright Richard Alfieri has received numerous Writers’ Guild Awards for his film and television screenplays. His film adaptations include Robert James Waller’s novel Puerto Vallarta Squeeze starring Harvey Keitel and Scott Glenn. He also adapted his own play The Sisters, inspired by Chekhov’s ‘Three Sisters’, for the screen with Mary Stuart Masterson and Eric McCormack and has received several American independent film awards.
Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks is directed by two-time Emmy Award-winner, Arthur Allan Seidelman who has extensive theatre credits in New York and Los Angeles, including Billy, Kismet and Mack And Mabel. His film credits include Richard Alfieri’s The Sisters, Puerto Vallarta Squeeze, A Christmas Carol: The Musical starring Kelsey Grammar and Jane Krakowski, Like Mother, Like Son starring Mary Tyler Moore, and Poker Alice with Elizabeth Taylor. The dances are staged by Craig Revel Horwood, best known as a judge on all four series of BBC TV’s Strictly Come Dancing. He also choreographed the recent TV show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? and his West End choreography credits include Olivier-nominated Spend, Spend, Spend and My One and Only. Set and costumes are designed by Christopher Woods (Songs My Mother Taught Me, Cooper! Jus’ Like That and The Mystery of Charles Dickens and lighting is by David Hersey (My Fair Lady, Cats, Les Miserables and The Coast of Utopia).