NEW YORK (AP) - Director Stephen Daldry has two shows opening on Broadway this season and that means juggling two sets of casts - both human and doggie.
NEW YORK (AP) — Director Stephen Daldry has two shows opening on Broadway this season and that means juggling two sets of casts — both human and doggie.
One recent afternoon, he spent time with Mimi and Marco, a pair of Pembroke Welsh Corgis, who are delighting theatergoers onstage in "The Audience," playing the pets of Queen Elizabeth II.
He happily cavorted with the short-legged dogs, rescued from a Massachusetts home. The breed has a herding instinct that makes them vocal and nip at the heels but they seemed to enjoy the attention.
Daldry knows well the peril of corgis: When "The Audience" was in London in 2013, one of the corgis there was fired for what he calls "insubordination against Her Majesty the Queen." (Translation: disobeying the stage queen herself, Helen Mirren).
"They seem very nice but you never know," said Daldry. "Once they get into the theater, anything could happen. They might get a bit starry. They might get a little bit demanding. Or they might just love it."
Add that bit of uncertainty to Daldry's already busy schedule, which in addition to back-to-back Broadway openings includes a new, ambitious TV series about the queen and directing a movie of the stage blockbuster "Wicked."
"It is undoubtedly a demanding time," said the two-time Tony Award-winning director who was creative director of the opening and closing ceremonies at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In an ironic twist, both "The Audience," which imagines the private weekly meetings between the monarch and Britain's prime ministers, and "Skylight," in which two former lovers meet and hash out ideological debates, have taken the same path to New York.
First, they were hits in the West End. Then those stage shows were captured on high definition cameras and broadcast to movie screens across the world, and now they open on Broadway. Each step has been directed by Daldry, who switches easily from directing films — "The Hours" and "The Reader" — to stage.
In fact, one of his most-loved works may complete a strange loop. The Daldry-directed "Billy Elliot," the story of a young boy's struggle to be a ballet dancer, was first made into a film and then a stage musical, which was later broadcast worldwide.
Now Daldry and writer Lee Hall are toying with the idea of giving it another life: "We're thinking about turning it back into a movie now. So it might go from movie to stage show to broadcast to movie again," he said, laughing.
Another adaptation is also on Daldry's agenda: Turning the stage musical "Wicked" into a film musical with Stephen Schwartz' original songs. Novelist Winnie Holzman is writing the script, but Daldry stressed it was still in "early stages" and there were unresolved questions.
"Do you go back to the book? How much of the book do you bring into it? How long can the film be because the stage show is nearly three hours?" Daldry asked.
"There are so many questions and the material is so rich — the original book, what's in Winnie's mind, Stephen Schwartz's imagination — and on top of that you have the wonderful juxtaposition with 'The Wizard of Oz' to play with and hopefully the freedom to play with. So that'll be astonishing if that plays out."
Something closer to fruition is "The Crown," a Netflix series which reunites Daldry with Peter Morgan, the playwright of "The Audience." It's a 60-episode, six-season series that will explore the relationship between the queen and Downing Street. It starts shooting in July with three actresses portraying the queen.
And what could be possibly after all of that?
"Well, obviously rehab," Daldry said with a chuckle.