Ellen Burstyn and Carol Kane as well as Bryony Hannah and Tobias Menzies are to join the previously announced Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss in Ian Rickson’s production of Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour. The Children’s Hour, produced by Sonia Friedman Productions & Scott Landis, will have its first preview at the Comedy Theatre on 22 January 2011 with press night on 9 February and is booking until 2 April 2011.
The cast includes Ellen Burstyn (Amelia Tilford), Nancy Crane (Agatha), Amy Dawson (Rosalie Wells), Isabel Ellison (Catherine), Bryony Hannah (Mary Tilford), Carol Kane (Lily Mortar), Keira Knightley (Karen Wright), Tobias Menzies (Doctor Joseph Cardin) and Elizabeth Moss (Martha Dobie). Final casting will be announced shortly.
When a schoolgirl's whisper spreads, it triggers a chain of events with extraordinary consequences. Karen Wright (Keira Knightley) and Martha Dobie (Elisabeth Moss) run a girls’ boarding school in 1930s New England, where they become entangled in a devastating story of deceit, shame and courage. Banned in London and several cities across America, The Children's Hour received its world premiere on Broadway in 1934. Generations on, its potent exploration of a culture of fear remains startlingly relevant.
Academy, Tony and BAFTA award-winning Ellen Burstyn will make her London stage debut in The Children’s Hour. Nominated six times for an Oscar for her roles in The Last Picture Show, The Exorcist, Same Time Next Year, Resurrection and Requiem for a Dream, her many film credits include Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore for which she won the Best Actress BAFTA as well as the Academy Award. Her more recent film credits include Olivier Stone’s W. in which she played Barbara Bush, Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain and Neil LaBute’s remake of The Wicker Man. She can be seen on screen in the forthcoming The Mighty Macs and Main Street. Her many US theatre credits include Same Time Next Year for which she won the Tony Award, 84 Charing Cross Road, Shirley Valentine and Long Day's Journey Into Night, as well as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s production of The Little Flower of East Orange for the Public Theater and LAByrinth Theater Company. Burstyn’s television credits include the title role in The People vs. Jean Harris and Pack of Lies, for both which she was Emmy nominated, That’s Life, The Five People You Meet in Heaven and The Book of Daniel.
Carol Kane is best known on television for playing Simka Dahblitz-Gravas, wife of Latka Gravas, in the hugely popular US sitcom Taxi for which she won two Emmy awards. Her other television credits include regular roles in the American sitcoms All is Forgiven and American Dreamer as well as guest appearances in Chicago Hope, Seinfeld, Pearl, Two and a Half Men and Ugly Betty. Her film roles include Gitl in Hester Street for which she was Academy award-nominated, Allison Portchnik in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, Dog Day Afternoon, The Princess Bride, Scrooged, Addams Family Values, The Pacifier and My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. She began her professional theatre career in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and has more recently played Madam Morrible in Wicked on Broadway, on tour in the US and in Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Her other theatre credits include The Tempest and Macbeth at the Lincoln Centre Theater and earlier this year she was seen off Broadway in Nora and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss and What I Wore.
Nancy Crane can currently be seen in Design for Living at the Old Vic. Her other theatre credits include Love the Sinner and Angels in America for the National Theatre, Now or Later, The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, Our Late Night and The Strip for the Royal Court, Chains of Dew and Trifles at the Orange Tree, Girl in the Goldfish Bowl and Six Degrees of Separation for Sheffield Theatres and Habitat for Manchester Royal Exchange. On television her credits include Law & Order, Cambridge Spies, Strike Force, The Last Days of Patton and 92 Grosvenor Street. Her film credits include The Special Relationship, The Dark Knight, The Road to Guantanamo, The Machinist and The Fourth Protocol.
Amy Dawson’s theatre credits include That Face for Sheffield Theatres, Edmond for the Theatre Royal Haymarket, I’ll Leave It To You for Pentameters Theatre and Accidental Heroes and School Journey to the Centre of the Early both for the Lyric Hammersmith.
After graduating from Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Isabel Ellison has recently been seen in Red Bud at the Royal Court Theatre.
Bryony Hannah’s theatre credits for the National Theatre include Earthquakes in London, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, The Pillowman and War Horse. Her other theatre credits include Breathing Irregular for the Gate Theatre, The Winter's Tale for Headlong, The Crucible for Sheffield Theatres, The 24 Hour Plays for the Old Vic and The Black Sheep at the Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh. On screen her credits include Cemetery Junction and Reversals.
Keira Knightley was last on stage in The Misanthrope directed by Thea Sharrock at the Comedy Theatre in 2009. Her many film credits include Never Let Me Go which opened the 2010 London Film Festival, Bend It Like Beckham, Love Actually, The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, King Arthur, The Jacket, Pride and Prejudice, Domino, Silk, Atonement, The Edge of Love, The Duchess, Last Night and the forthcoming London Boulevard and A Dangerous Method. Her television credits include the critically-acclaimed remake of Doctor Zhivago, Oliver and Coming Home.
Tobias Menzies is best known on screen for playing Brutus in BBC television series Rome. On stage his many credits include Edgar in King Lear at the Young Vic, Cloud Nine and Platonov for the Almeida Theatre, The Cherry Orchard for Sheffield Theatres, The History Boys for the National Theatre, the title role in Rupert Goold’s production of Hamlet at the Theatre Royal Northampton and Michael Blakemore’s production of Three Sisters at the Playhouse Theatre. His film credits include Atonement, Pierrepoint, Casino Royale and Anton Chekhov’s The Duel. His further television credits include Spooks, The Deep, Pulling and Persuasion.
Elisabeth Moss, who will make her West End debut in The Children’s Hour, is best known for playing the role of Peggy Olson in the ongoing award-winning television series Mad Men, for which she has received both Emmy Award and SAG Award nominations, as well as for the role of Zoe Bartlett in The West Wing. Moss made her Broadway stage debut in David Mamet’s Speed- the-Plow in 2008. Her film credits include Get Him to the Greek, Did you Hear About the Morgans? and Girl, Interrupted, as well as the forthcoming On the Road and Darling Companion.