According to the Daily Mail, Helen Mirren has begun rehearsals for Peter Morgan's The Audience, about Elizabeth II. The play has already drawn a box office advance of £2 million, but regardless of popularity, The Audience must end its engagement on June 15 due to the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Private Lives, set to begin at the Gielgud Theatre on June 22.
Read the original report here.
In addition, now that The Audience is in rehearsals, the creative team is still mulling over whether to include the Queen's corgis or leave them out of the show.
Joining Helen Mirren as The Queen in this world premiere are Michael Elwyn as Anthony Eden, Haydn Gwynne as Margaret Thatcher, Robert Hardy as Winston Churchill, Richard McCabe as Harold Wilson, Nathaniel Parker as Gordon Brown, Paul Ritter as John Major and Rufus Wright as David Cameron. The Equerry is Geoffrey Beevers and the role of Young Elizabeth will be played by Bebe Cave, Maya Gerber and Nell Williams.
The Audience will preview at the Gielgud Theatre from 15 February 2013, with press night on 5 March 2013 and is currently booking to 15 June 2013. Designs are by Bob Crowley with lighting by Rick Fisher, sound by Paul Arditti, music by Paul Englishby and video by Ian William Galloway.
For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace - a meeting like no other in British public life - it is private. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said. Not even to their spouses.
The Audience breaks this contract of silence and imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister has used these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional - sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive. In turn, the Queen can't help but reveal her own self as she advises, consoles and, on occasion, teases.
From young mother to grandmother these private audiences chart the arc of the second Elizabethan Age. Politicians come and go through the revolving door of electoral politics, while she remains constant, waiting to welcome her next Prime Minister.
The Audience is produced in the West End by Matthew Byam Shaw for Playful Productions, Robert Fox and Andy Harries.