In theatre producer Sonia Friedman’s office, the walls are packed with framed posters from the plays she has produced, many of them standout recent successes of the West End. On a bookshelf there’s a picture of her with the Irish playwright Brian Friel. That must have been like meeting God, I say. She laughs. “Meeting Harold Pinter was like meeting God,” she says.
These mementoes, she says, keep her on her toes; so too the location of her office, which nestles above London’s Duke of York’s Theatre. “I have to work in a theatre,” she says, as she settles into a chair to discuss where the West End is headed. “I pass the stage every day; I see audiences every day. It reminds me what I’m doing.”
In the decade since she launched Sonia Friedman Productions, Friedman has become one of the most successful and daring producers in commercial theatre, championing new writing and high-quality straight plays with eye-catching casts. Among the posters on the walls are Much Ado About Nothing (with David Tennant and Catherine Tate), All My Sons (with David Suchet) and Jerusalem (with Mark Rylance).
But Friedman resists pigeonholing. She also produced the feel-good musical Legally Blonde. And she currently has two strikingly contrasting new shows jostling for a space on the wall: Pinter’s enigmatic three-hander Old Times and the British premiere of the joyously irreverent Broadway musical The Book of Mormon.
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