The Entertainer


The original production at the Royal Court was directed by Tony Richardson, with décor by Alan Tagg.[19]

Original cast
  • Billy – George Relph
  • Jean – Dorothy Tutin (replaced by Joan Plowright when the play moved to the West End)
  • Phoebe – Brenda De Banzie
  • Archie – Laurence Olivier
  • Frank – Richard Pasco
  • Gorgeous Gladys – Vivienne Drummond
  • Brother Bill – Aubrey Dexter
  • Graham – Stanley Meadows

In September, the show transferred to the Palace Theatre in the West End, toured and returned to the Palace.[20] During the run Joan Plowright left the cast and was replaced by Geraldine McEwan.[20] Plowright rejoined the cast when the production opened in New York in February 1958.[21] In the same year a touring production was presented in the British provinces, starring John Slater as Archie and Bobby Howes as Billy.[22]

Revivals have starred Max Wall (Greenwich Theatre, 1974);[23] Peter Bowles (Shaftesbury Theatre, 1986);[24] Corin Redgrave (Liverpool Playhouse, 2004);[25] and Robert Lindsay (Old Vic, 2007).[26]

In 1974, Jack Lemmon appeared as Archie in a two-hour film version of the play made for American television,[27] and Michael Gambon starred in a production for the BBC in 1993.[28]

Garrick Theatre will host The Entertainer from 20 August 2016 to 12 November 2016 with Kenneth Branagh as Archie Rice. Director will be Rob Ashford and designer Christopher Oram.[29]

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